Bust Those Junk Food Cravings!
By Tom Bonanti
Did you ever wonder about that late afternoon chocolate craving that drives you to your hidden stash of Hershey’s Kisses? Do you get a hankering for pizza after a monster session at the gym?
Cravings for certain foods can indicate either a deficiency in the body or an emotional response that can be mistaken for hunger. Cravings of all kinds come from the central nervous system; they’re a response to signals from the brain that something’s missing.
Craving sweets? This is usually a sign that you’re not eating enough carbohydrates. Guys who work out hard go heavy on the protein to repair and build lean muscle. When you’re pumping iron and doing cardio, your body also needs carbs to keep the fire burning. If you deny yourself these important energy foods, then your body will crave them, probably in the form of sugary, starchy snacks like pizza or doughnuts.
In the mood for a half a turkey and a mammoth wedge of cheese? Some experts link such cravings to low serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that enhances mood and produces a calming effect, can be replenished by chemicals found in foods containing the amino acid tryptophan, found in turkey and cheeses.
Cravings can also originate from environmental and psychological stimuli. Every time the holiday season arrives, you tell yourself that you’ll face it with unmitigated control. Then it happens – pecan pie, sugar cookies – and by January you’ve packed on the pounds! The point is many cravings have deep seated psychological components. In short, food becomes associated with good and bad memories that stick with us.
Remember, you’re not a victim. Here are suggestions to help bust those cravings and keep that hot body intact:
Limit coffee intake and other caffeinated beverages. Caffeine causes blood-sugar peaks and valleys that leave you yearning for sugary foods.
Drink less booze. Drinking creates cravings for everything, especially junk!
Sleep more. A well rested mind and body are less likely to crave carbs.
Satisfy yourself now. Waiting too long can make your need seem more important than it really is, turning a 250-calorie slip into a 2500 calorie binge.
Eat more protein; it’s filling and it can help control your appetite.
When you reach for candy, ask yourself why. Upset? Missing someone? Make a better choice and grab an apple instead.
Eat more fiber (fruits and veggies) that will fill you up, clean you out and help keep blood sugar steady.
Tom Bonanti is a licensed massage therapist (MA40288) and fitness trainer www.pumpnincgym.com . Send Tom questions firstname.lastname@example.org or call (954) 557-1119 to set up a free fitness consultation or to book a massage.