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Craving Control Advice

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Question: Just recently I’ve noticed a change in my appetite. I seem to be craving more and more food! Could this have anything to do with the festive period?

17 September, 2008 – 18:59

Answer: So you’ve eaten your fill at Christmas and you feel as though you have truly had enough. But your tummy keeps rumbling for more food.

This is probably because you have stretched your stomach and once we get used to eating a lot, we need more food to fill us up. We may also have developed a few food cravings over the festive period as we get used to eating foods we would normally avoid.

Women are more prone to food cravings than men. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but many specialists suggest that it is the increased amount of hormone fluctuations that women experience from menstruation, the contraceptive pill, pregnancy and menopause, which are responsible for their higher tendency to get food cravings.

Fortunately, there are ways to control cravings without making yourself feel deprived of food. Here are some useful tips on how to curb your eating habits after the big Christmas binge:

Try cutting back on calories on the days when your appetite is low. One of the biggest dangers is not in the indulgence of your cravings, but in not recognising that it is over. You may find yourself with the habit of continuing to eat more than you need.

Secondly, keep up your exercise program. Exercise is vital for enhancing feelings of well-being and stabilising blood sugar levels. It also acts as a natural appetite control and you have the added benefit of having burned those extra calories.

Similarly, you should eat a proper breakfast every day. Many people, women especially, think that if they skip breakfast when they are not feeling too hungry that this will help them diet. The fact is, by not eating breakfast you simply increase your chances of getting powerful food cravings later in the day.

If you are still craving food, you can always try turning a food craving into a liquid one. For example if you crave a savoury snack like crisps, try to think of things you could drink to satisfy them in liquid form, like tomato juice or V8 juice with Worcestershire sauce instead of peanuts and crisps.

Finally, it takes 20 minutes after eating for our bodies to tell how us how satisfied we really are. It is very easy to feel full but to feel hungry again quickly. Try eating until you are not really full, wait 20 minutes, then see how you feel. If you do want more food then have it, but the chances are you won’t.

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