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Practical Solutions To Conquer Your Cravings

by Repfuel Sports 29 Apr 2023 0 Comments

While snacking is considered as a good thing, however for some people it is more or less like a combination of reward and punishment to encourage a desired behaviour pattern.

It’s a very common problem and while snacking can be an efficient way to fix a shattered diet plan, there are some conditions where you are set to descend without even realizing. These conditions are usually referred as triggers and they can make your best laid plans go into vain.

Food triggers are both physical (when you are feeling tired) and psychological (when you are feeling stressed). So the practical solution to escape from overeating is to recognize your triggers and figure out why are they setting you off.

Different Triggers And How They Set You Off?

Trigger – Feeling down, sad, or depressed

Why does it set you off – Usually when people are feeling sad, down, or depressed they crave for food which fulfils their purpose of pleasure and most of the times these food items involves something sweet and research supports this statement as there have been many studies which concluded that people consume hedonic food items while they were in a sad state.

Triggers – Feeling anxious or stressed

Why does it set you off – When our body goes under stress your appetite gets shut down, this may sound like a good thing but it doesn’t last long.

As we start getting into stressed situations repetitively our body’s changes the way it response towards stress. Our body releases a hormone known as cortisol, which elevate our appetite and insulin which stimulates food intake and fat storage. Studies show that when we are under stress, not only we tend to consume more food but we also desire food that are high in calories. Eventually when we start getting involved in stressed situation again and again, our body start supporting these food habits and make the food choices even more gratifying to our brain.

Trigger – Not getting enough sleep

Why does it set you off – Ever wondered why do you have those late night cravings when you are pulling up that all-nighter? It’s because when our body lacks sleep it produces ghrelin which is the hunger hormone and studies have also shown that we desire more of high calorie and also comforting food when we lack sleep. Having a poor sleep for just one night can promote these effects. 

Trigger – Boredom

Why does it set you off – You may have come face to face with a situation where you have nothing to do, so you take a trip to kitchen and look for some entertainment and then you eat that entertainment. This happens because humans are ready to do anything just so that they can get away from the feeling of boredom. A study was conducted which proved this theory, in this study the access of candies was provided to the people who were getting bored and it was seen that they consumed much more candies as compared to the people who were placed in the controlled group. Another study was conducted which concluded that boredom sits on a much higher level than other emotion when it comes to overeating.

Trigger – Dehydration

Why does it set you off – Research has shown that thirst and appetite somewhere shares very similar neural mechanism for sodium. So if you consider yourself among the people who finds salty food very tempting, it would be better for you to have a glass of water first to see whether you are really hungry or are you just dehydrated, because if you consume some salty snack while you are feeling dehydrated you start craving more of that salty snack. Now how can you find that are you actually dehydrated or not? This can be easily done with the “pee test”, in which all you need to do is head to the washroom and check your urine colour, if the colour is more clear then you are hydrated but if the colour is a bit dull then you need to drink some water.

Trigger – Making palatable food choices

Why does it set you off – Some kind of food items are designed in such a way that makes you want to consume them and keep consuming them due to the reward cues that they deliver to our brain. Research has shown that when people are provided with the freedom of consuming highly rewarded foods like burger, pizza and cookies, they will almost consume thousand more calories per day.

Trigger – Making non-satiating food choices (which never makes you feel full)

Why does it set you off – It has been concluded through various studies that protein, fiber, and water are some of the proven sources that provides satiation (feeling of fullness). They make you feel full which helps us in eating less. Foods that are low in protein and fiber and are high on fat usually have high calories and are also not really satiating due to which there are high chances that you’ll be consuming those kind of food items more and more just so that you can feel full.

Practical Solutions To Conquer These Triggers

After reading all the triggers above you must be feeling worried as there are so many of them, but don’t worry because the solutions are pretty simple, if fact so simple that you might be aware of them. So let’s GO

Sleep: If you think that not having adequate amount of sleep is one of your trigger, then you need to prioritize your uninterrupted shuteye and that too for at least 6 hours. Schedule your sleep timing and stick to it, we know that it’s easier said than done but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be achieved just because it is difficult and requires some small sacrifice.

Dehydration: You may have guessed that drinking more water is the solution for this trigger, but how can you achieve it? The most obvious way is to keep reminding yourself to drink more water, but for that also you need to provide your eyes with a visual which reminds you to drink more water. Just place water bottles at every location where you spend the most of your time (it can be on your desk at your workplace, your living room or bedroom, inside your car, etc.). Remember, not consuming enough water is usually because you are not thinking about consuming water.

Too much palatability – If your kitchen looks somewhere near to a candy shop to you then it’s really necessary to have a kitchen makeover. Keep all the palatable items out of sight or in places that are really hard to reach. The same theory that was applicable in the case of dehydration is also applicable over here – the more you see it, the more likely you are to consume it and vice versa.

But, the thing is that life is not that simple many times you’ll just not be able to prioritize your 6 hours sleep due to those all-nighters at your work and discussing about stress, anxiety, and depression is a whole another level of discussion because if a person is going through these emotions and you saying don’t be sad doesn’t do much of a help.

The truth is that solutions are rarely according to the set procedures, so what we are inclined to do is provide you with the process that will assist you in recognizing when and why binge eating is coming your way and identify other options that you can opt for and keep moving forward in your life.

Be Aware Of The Patterns

There are always some kind of patterns involved with binge eating, these patterns are usually get unrecognised and then slowly and gradually they are set in motion. Recognizing these patterns and then finding ways to break through them is the key. Once that is done, you can find alternatives and formulate a plan which will help tackling these triggers.

  • 3-day test

The first step is to identify the real cause for binge eating. There are two kind of strategies that can be useful over here, the first is to monitor everything from your food and liquid choices to your sleep and even your feelings and emotions. This helps you to understand whether the binge that is coming your way is completely physical or is there any emotional angle involved in it and no need to worry, you don’t have to do it forever, just 3 days are more than enough.

It is also possible that your binge eating episode is due to bad timing, there are many people who falls in the trap of binge eating just because they have a huge gap between their meals. If that’s the case with you then you should try reducing the time between your meals and also start having small and more number of meals (5-6 meals a day). But if snacking itself is your trigger then it’s better for you to stay with 2-3 solid meals a day.

Another strategy is known as “noticing and naming”. In this you simply drive your own attention towards the task that you are about to do and name exactly what is happening. For example, if you are one of those people who gets driven towards the cookies whenever you are feeling annoyed, then all you need to do is say out loud that “I’m about to have this cookie just because I’m feeling frustrated “. By doing so you achieve two things, first you draw awareness to yourself regarding the task that you are about to perform which puts you back in the driver seat. Second, you place yourself in a situation where you really have to think hard before making the choice due to which you can take back the control of the situation and stop emotions from ruling your decisions.

As for anxiety, binge eating is troublesome in two ways. First, it doesn’t help in changing the condition due to which you are actually feeling anxiety. Second, you fall in the trap of feeling unhelpful and start having the thoughts like – “I shouldn’t have eaten that” or “I’m feeling guilty”. Instead of enlarging anxiety and providing it with more power, you should focus more on something else that helps you in feeling good. Binge eating provides short term pleasure, however after five minutes it brings various negative emotions.

  • Remove and Replace

As it’s impossible to completely remove any kind of desire or urge in a long run, an effective diet must consist your favourite food items and that also involves sweets (but in a certain amount), however in certain cases it becomes necessary to eliminate certain food items so that you can set up your surroundings accordingly.

Most of the time these eliminations are made from the kitchen and after eliminating them it’s really important to replace them with healthier choices.

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