One of the hardest things that could happen to someone who’s on a diet is start getting sugar cravings. You could be very disciplined and consistent in your food choices but sugar cravings can seriously derail your diet and turn you into a raging sugar-craving monster, ready to get any sugary thing into his mouth to stop the incessant cravings. So, why do these things happen and turn you into Mr. Hyde?
The number one reason is that sugar is an extremely powerful drug capable of triggering the release of the feel-good compounds known as endorphins as well as serotonin. Once the sugar in your blood starts clearing off, energy levels start decreasing rapidly, which makes you want to eat sugar again. It’s a vicious downward spiral.
In this article we present you 4 different strategies meant to aid you in controlling these sugar cravings in the long-term, help you remain consistent in your diet and reach your fitness goals.
Strategy no.1: Increase carb intake ( yes, you read that right !! )
If you keep experiencing low energy levels, aren’t satisfied with your choice of diet and having the feeling that you are deprived of something, it’s very likely that you aren’t getting enough carbohydrates. It may sound strange at first, since up until now you’ve been told that decreasing your carb intake is the main method to shed the excess fat around the stubborn areas around the stomach or the buttocks. But, actually there is no need at all to eliminate carbs from your diet completely.
The standardly prescribed percentage of 20-30 of your total daily caloric intake is quite enough to keep the levels of glucose in your blood stable throughout the entire day. You should always make sure that you eat carbs that have lots of fiber in them and are low on sugar, which will enable they are digested in a slow manner. Always strive for eating veggies that are low on starch like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, sweet potato and grains like quinoa and oats.
Strategy no.2: Increase satiating protein intake
Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients. It has a bigger effect on suppressing hunger than carbs and fat in comparison to when they are consumed in regular diets filled with junk food. Diets based on high protein intake also increase thermogenesis in a much bigger extent than those diets that are based on different ratios of macronutrients even though they make you eat the same amount of calories.
Plus, the higher your protein intake, the more muscle mass you will build, and the more muscle tissue you have, the higher the metabolic rate, which in the end results in you burning even more calories, even when you are resting. For achieving optimal results, strive to eat 40-50 % of your daily calories from protein sources. Opt for lean ones like red meat, chicken, egg whites, non-fat dairy products or some whey protein. Include protein in your every meal, and eat around 5 -6 meals a day.
Strategy no.3: Calculate the exact amount of calories you should eat
Diets based on low caloric intake can cause severe food cravings and slow down your metabolism especially if they’re follow for longer time periods. What your brain actually starts to think is that you’ve found yourself in a situation where it’s impossible to get more calories to sustain normal body functioning, so it begins to preserve energy because it thinks you’re starving.
If you give into the cravings, you could develop something call hyperphagia, a condition where the hormones in charge of regulating hunger don’t shut-off and you enter a state of constant feeling of hunger which again makes you experience food cravings and not being able to resist the temptation of overeating.
So, instead of depriving yourself of vital macronutrients, follow a diet that is customized to your levels of physical activity, which in the long-term will make you lose weight in a gradual and healthy manner, not some magic solution that will just cause a rebound and gaining all the weight back and even add some more. Calculate the exact number of daily calories by multiplying the current weight in lbs by a factor of 12-15, which depends on the physical activity level.
Strategy no.4: Start exercising
If losing the excess body fat is your main goal than you should get yourself a gym membership. Exercising is an essential part of the process of building muscle mass, but that’s not the only thing. Exercising also forces the body to release compounds known as endorphins and hormones that will aid you in suppressing your hunger after you’ve finished exercising. Several studies have shown that the people who go to the gym regularly have a much better self-control when it comes to their cravings than those who don’t.
Research has also shown that exercising can both control your appetite but it can also stimulate it. The reason for this might be that exercising raises the levels of hormones like adrenaline and noradrenaline which have the opposite role of that of hunger hormones, namely they make you feel less hungry after you’ve finished exercising. That’s why you should always strive to make good food choices since hunger can creep in again fast once the hormones’ effect starts to wear off.