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This bonus episode is about shutting down mindless eating and stopping cravings in their tracks. Most cravings only lasts between 5 and 20 minutes, so implement any of these tips and override that overeating autopilot!

Cravings Are Signals

Cravings can be a sign of nutrient deficiency or hormonal imbalance. Read this article and check out the chart below to see what specific cravings can mean. This episode, however, is focused on “mindless eating” and cravings that stem from habit, mindset and stress or other similar drivers.

cravings chart (click to expand)

Preventative Tips:

  • Pay attention so you can recognize the pattern: How are you feeling? Why? What did you eat or drink earlier (even the day before) that might be causing the craving (alcohol, sugar, excess caffeine are common culprits)? Are you overtired?… Knowing what is behind the craving can help you manage the behaviors over time.
  • Load up on all of the right foods throughout your day. Get your balance right: PROTEIN + FAT + FIBER + WATER (check out episode 019 with Dr Jade Teta for more on this).

What to Consume Instead: 

Click on any photo to link to that product…

1. BCAAs – Branch Chain Amino Acids – read about how they work to reduce cravings by decreasing your appetite, keeping your blood sugar steady, and reducing cortisol levels here, or you can really geek out here. I like the flavored kind (left), but you can mix the unflavored (right) into a smoothie (it tastes pretty bad on its own).

2. L-Glutamine (amino acid supplement) – Many people swear by this supplement as a cravings killer. I like it because it’s good for my gut, too.  This blog does a good job of explaining the science and includes references to the data.


3. Soluble fiber – I like mixing acacia fiber in a glass of water (you can also add to a smoothie) – here’s why. Note: don’t overdo it or it will clog you up!

4. Cocoa – go for unsweetened cacao powder and make a hot chocolate (just mix with warmed almond milk) or a delicious, super simple dessert like avocado pudding or any of these suggestions inspired by the Paleo community.

BONUS: The team over at Metabolic Effect recently launched a new product called Craving Cocoa that combines a lot of these ingredients (BCAA, fiber and cacao) all in one great mix! Get it here.

5. Dark chocolate – I like 85% and higher, but make sure the cacao content is at least over 70%. 

       

6. Fizzy water – I like seltzer/mineral water with lemon or lime added. Drink this first, then decide if you need the thing you were craving. 

7. Replacement treats – sometimes these will work to shut down those cravings. Pay attention to what works for you:

  • Decaf coffee (or tea) after a meal (note: the nutritional police are still debating this one, but it works for me)
  • 1 glass (or 1/2 glass) of red wine after a meal 
  • Have whatever you’re craving PLUS a healthy treat. For example, chocolate with an apple; half that cupcake and a pear, etc.
  • Paleo desserts – as mentioned above, make something yummy without a load of sugar in it. Just google “Paleo desserts” or scroll through my Facebook page for ideas. There are so many super easy things you can make in 5 minutes that are utterly satisfying and don’t sabotage your wellness goals. 

What to DO instead:

INTERRUPT THE PATTERN! 

  • Brush your teeth and drink a tall glass of water
  • Chew 100% Xylitol Gum or a super strong mint
  • Get visual – keep a picture of you looking great or of something that makes you happy and reminds you of you at your best!  
  • Get outside: breathe deeply (all the way down in your belly) and/or walk for 10-20 mins.  
  • Do a 1-minute cardio blitz. For example, jump on a rebounder (mini-trampoline) or do 25 jumping jacks and 10 burpees right there in the kitchen – better yet, turn on some music and DANCE!

kitchen dancing

  • Get naked. Or, just change clothes into something you love. Anything to be reminded of being in your body. 
  • Or, just EAT IT, but don’t eat AROUND IT. For Pete’s sake, it’s just FOOD. Be the boss of it. Eat it, enjoy it and pat yourself on the back for not freaking out. Don’t eat everything else in sight in order to avoid that thing you’re craving.

Bonus Resources:

• Primal Potential blog on Combatting Cravings 
• Metabolic Effect article on Controlling Hunger & Cravings and How to Use Cocoa to Beat Cravings
• Dr. Jillian Teta’s post about Tips for Busting Cravings

Stock Your Pantry: $10 PROMO CODE to Vitacost.com

The links above will take you to Amazon, which has great prices, but for the supplements mentioned (e.g. BCAA and L-Glutamine), I prefer Vitacost.com for even better prices and selection. Here’s a referral link for $10 toward your first purchase of $30 or more at Vitacost.com: http://goo.gl/NtLXey

What Works for You? 

I want to know what works for you. Leave a comment here, and don’t forget to subscribe to the show in iTunes so you get all the latest episodes!

 

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