We all know that one of the biggest aspects of living a healthy lifestyle depends heavily on what you’re eating. While we may be able to sustain ourselves off of grilled chicken, brown rice, and vegetables, it may not be what our body is craving. We all get cravings, and sometimes we can shake them off but sometimes we get the cravings that are so strong, you feel like you can’t concentrate on anything else. In this blog post, we will be discussing some helpful ways that you can kick those cravings so that you’re able to stay on track, no matter what your fitness goal is. Keep reading to learn more!
Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Protein
Most of us are familiar with the fact that you need to consume high amounts of protein in order to build and repair your muscles. However, consuming protein can also help you beat food cravings. Protein is a macronutrient that is the most satiating. This means that it keeps you feeling fuller for longer which then helps reduce your hunger cravings.
Some researchers say that when protein accounts for 25% of your daily caloric intake, cravings and a person’s desire to snack are reduced significantly. But, take this with a grain of salt since everyone can vary when it comes to their dietary needs and caloric intake. In order to get a better idea of how much you should be eating when it comes to calories and macronutrients, you may want to seek professional advice. This can be anything from dieticians, nutritionists, and personal trainers (which we offer at Shredd KC).
Protein is also the most metabolically-demanding macronutrient for your body to break down. This means that your body has to expend more energy (aka calories) to break down this nutrient versus other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats. One way to think of it is that you get a “2 for 1” with protein. It keeps you feeling full and satisfied, and it also causes your body to burn more calories in order to break it down. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Plan Out Your Meals
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, you’ve probably read and heard mass amounts of people talking about meal prepping. Meal prepping isn’t just something for people who are dieting for bodybuilding shows, it’s something that can be utilized no matter what your fitness goals are.
When you meal prep, you’re planning out your meals for a set amount of days. This planning and preparing helps you significantly reduce the likelihood of “cheating” on your diet and giving into your cravings. You’re no longer spending energy or time thinking about food. All your food is laid out and ready to eat.
It also helps you eat on a routine. When you eat on somewhat of a scheduled routine, your body starts to learn when it will receive food. Eating on a routine helps you avoid going long periods without eating, which is an easy way to lead to unhealthy food cravings.
Getting Enough Sleep
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, sleep is important! While we all know that we need sleep, many of us tend to push it to the back burner. Getting the proper amount of sleep directly reflects a person’s energy levels. We’ve all been there before, we didn’t get enough sleep and it feels like pushing through our workout is the hardest thing we’ve ever done. Not only is this an annoying feeling to have, but it also can be dangerous. Training without proper energy or sleep can lead to poor form which can lead to injuries. Not only is it important that you train, but more so that you’re doing it safely.
Sleep also has a direct effect on your ability to stick to your diet and avoid cravings. Hunger cravings are largely dictated by the hormones leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol. Leptin is the hormone that signals our brains that we’ve had enough to eat. Ghrelin is the hormone that signals hunger. When we’re short on sleep, the balance of these hormones starts to get out of whack, and can lead us to unequal balances of each hormone. When these hormones are unbalanced it can lead to poor appetite regulation, which can then lead to higher cravings for foods that are high in sugar or salt. These cravings tend to lead us to consume high amounts of caloric food that has little to no nutritional value. This is why sleep deprivation has been associated with the risk of obesity.
Most of us need around seven to nine hours of sleep per night in order for us to perform at our best at work, in relationships, and at the gym. Getting more sleep benefits you in so many aspects of life, not just your ability to beat hunger cravings. So make sleep a priority, your body will thank you for it.
Limiting Excess Stress
Unfortunately, we cannot limit all forms of stress, but limiting or coping with large stress factors in healthier ways can help you overcome those unhealthy cravings. When you’re abnormally stressed, you body releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the body’s primary stress hormone that is released whenever our bodies perceive a threat. This threat can be emotional, physical, or psychological.
In terms of dieting, dieting (caloric deprivation) can be considered a stressor to the body, which is why your hunger cravings tend to be stronger whenever you start to eat healthier. Stress also tends to cause us to lose sleep. This can also be considered a threat to the body. Whatever that stressor is, whether it be work, relationships, or just the normal demands of day to day activity, it can increase a person’s cortisol levels. This can lower your body’s ability to burn fat and repair itself. Stress tends to also lead us to gain more body fat in our abdominal region.
Once again, we understand that getting rid of all stress is impossible. However, the way that you cope with stress can help too. Turn to healthy coping mechanisms such as meditation, breathing exercises, reading, and other forms of exercise.
In the end, it’s important to understand that cravings are completely natural and common when dieting. It’s also completely natural and common to give into those cravings once and awhile. But, by utilizing the tips within this article, hopefully you’ll be able to curb those cravings. If you have any more questions about dieting and healthy eating or exercise, contact us, Shredd KC. Located in Lees Summit, we are committed to your success and want to see you reach your fitness goals. We offer a wide variety of services and programs that are all designed for you. Connect with us today to learn more!