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5 Ways to fight food cravings

Life change expert, healthy living coach, nutritionist and media personality Laura Lewis is the author of the newly released book 52 Ways to a Healthy You and is the host of the national television series, "Empty Nesters" on Veria TV, a ...

Control the urge to eat

Cravings happen. And whoever dares to stand in the way of a woman on a mission to devour a basket of chips with salsa, a handful of Hershey's Hugs or peanut M&Ms needs to heed fair warning. Cravings can cause the most rational, health-conscious eater to transform into a wild-eyed, crazed character. Giving in to cravings on a regular basis can sabotage attempts to maintain or lose weight. The good news is that there are ways to fight food cravings. Here are five ways to help you win the food craving battle.

Control the urge to eat

Eat protein

Protein packs a low glycemic punch that equates to a slow rise in blood sugar, which in turn prevents unusual food cravings. Foods and beverages that have a high glycemic impact, such as white flour, sugar, corn syrup and others made from refined carbs, typically cause a quick elevation and then a sharp drop in blood glucose. When blood sugar drops quickly, the body may crave foods that will again elevate blood sugar rapidly. Many people who feel their appetite is out of control are riding a biochemical roller coaster.

Foods containing whey protein also help you feel more full and satisfied by stimulating cholecystokinin (CCK) production. In one study, people who drank a whey protein drink 30 minutes before dining on an all-you-can-eat buffet ate significantly less food than others who drank a casein drink.

To stave off cravings, try sliced turkey rolls, dried jerky from a health food market, tuna, salmon, eggs, low-fat cheeses and whey protein shakes.

Reach for some nuts

Nuts are rich in protein and good fats that help increase satiety and keep blood sugar in check. Eat no more than 10 to 20 almonds as a snack once or twice a day. Indulge in small handfuls of omega-3 rich walnuts, crunchy pistachios or unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds. Go for raw or blanched nuts, and avoid the overly salted, roasted varieties.

Try a nut butter "lollipop" by dipping a teaspoon into almond butter and enjoy alone or slather on celery sticks. Nuts are super nutritious and are superb allies in the fight against food cravings.

Fiber your life

You may believe that carbs are the enemy; however, they aren't all bad. As a matter of fact, foods high in complex carbohydrates or fiber help slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream, keep your digestive track in optimal working order and keep your cholesterol down.

Dark green leafy veggies, fruit skins , whole grains, seeds and nuts are great sources of insoluble fiber and provide bulk to the intestines. Soluble fiber is the real key for slowing down the release of sugar into the bloodstream because it stays in the stomach longer. Oatmeal and oat bran, nuts, flax seeds, dried beans, peas, barley, oranges, apples, carrots and psyllium husks are super sources of soluble fiber.

Fill 'er up!

Water may be just the remedy for those who constantly seek out salty, crunchy fixes for their cravings. Dehydration can cause cravings for salty foods. How? When the body becomes dehydrated, it naturally needs to increase its water reserves. Salt is needed to expand the extracellular content of the body. So those cravings for a big bag of Doritos or Lays Potato Chips may simply mean you need more water in your tank! Drink eight glasses of pure water daily to keep the body properly hydrated.

Change your mind

Eating behaviors are often programmed from childhood. Rewarding a child with food may lead to overeating later in life. If you have been programmed to believe that food is a reward, you may find that hypnosis is a valuable tool to help you change your mind about food and therefore, your eating habits.

Do your research to ensure your hypnotherapist has excellent credentials and references. Look for a licensed psychologist who specializes in both hypnosis and behavioral psychology. And if hypnosis is not for you, try the do-it-yourself way via affirmations a la Louise Hay.

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