The Infamous Food Cravings
Those infamous food cravings: we all have them. These are part of life, and at times, they are unavoidable. The key to overcoming these cravings is learning why we have them and what we can do about it.
There is no single cause of specific food cravings, but we do know that there are both biological and psychological components that involve emotional triggers, hormones, and chemical imbalances. Ghrelin and leptin are important hormones in the regulation of food cravings. Ghrelin lets you know that you are hungry while leptin stimulates your appetite and lets you know when you’re full. Your body needs a healthy balance of both.
When our serotonin levels are low, it can cause our cravings to be high. Serotonin is our “feel good” neurotransmitter that is produced primarily in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. When we eat things like ice cream or a candy bar, our body releases serotonin, leaving us feeling temporarily amazing. Probiotics help maintain the proper balance of good bacteria in your gut and keep it in tip-top shape, which will allow for healthy levels of serotonin. This is one of the many reasons we are huge advocates for long-term use of probiotics after weight loss surgery. When you are eating unhealthy foods, the bad bacteria can overpower the good guys, creating more food cravings.
So, what can we do to tackle these cravings?
1. Eat a diet high in protein and fiber.
Here at Roller Weight Loss, we talk about the importance of a high protein and fiber intake A LOT and for good reason. You need a healthy balance of both to help keep you full throughout the day and to help keep your blood sugar stabilized which will in turn control cravings.
Protein is important for energy, strength, and a steady metabolic rate. It helps ease hunger and give you a satisfied but full feeling.
Fiber is essential to our body’s regulation of sugar. Without it, we experience those cravings we’ve been talking about.
2. Drink more water to avoid food cravings.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest things you can do to help stop a food craving in the heat of the moment. Your craving might not fully dissipate but filling your stomach up with water will make it more manageable. Make sure you are drinking water all throughout the day with a minimum goal of 64 ounces per day.
3. Sleep, sleep, sleep!
It’s so important, we said it three times! Insufficient sleep will affect hormones like ghrelin and leptin, which help regulate your hunger levels. Adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
4. Avoid sugary foods and processed carbs.
This can cause those leptin surges and blood sugar crashes, which ultimately increase your appetite. The more sugar you eat, the more you will think you have to have it. Remove the foods that you crave from your house and replace them with healthy alternatives.
5. Let go of unnecessary stress.
Sadness, boredom, anxiety, and stress as a whole can cause you to cruise to the pantry. When stress is high, you are more likely to reach for high sugar and fatty foods because they will make you feel temporarily fabulous. However, this feeling is quickly followed by reduced energy levels and mood swings.
Taking care of your body and what you put into it will ultimately help you feel better and can help when experiencing good amounts of stress.
Goodbye, Food Cravings!
Hopefully what you’ve been able to take away today is that food cravings are normal and it’s okay to have them! Team Roller is here to give you guidance. We want to share our tips and tricks with you as well as our solutions to any questions or concerns you may have. An important thing to keep in mind is that you do have control over what you consume, and you also have Team Roller right here supporting you as you go!
Contact us for further information or to get started on your weight loss journey today!
By Jennibette Baker, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC