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- Exercise. It increases feel-good endorphins that cut down on your cravings. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Use moderation. Instead of stuffing yourself with every kind of food hoping that your craving will go away, eat 100 to 200 calories of your "craved" food.
- Substitute with low-fat foods and complex carbs. If you’re hungry for chocolate, eat non-fat chocolate yogurt. Try fig bars or raisins for a sweet craving.
- Never skip a meal. Eat every three to five hours. Try six smaller meals or regular meals with nutritious snacks.
- Understand that hunger craving are oftentimes stress related. Practice other ways to treat chronic stress – a walk in park, spiritual connections, a cozy fireplace, baths...all these stimulate neurochemicals that activate regions of brain that stimulate pleasure. Relaxation techniques may work by reducing psychological drives on stress output, which can be root causes of stress. Bottom line, substitute pleasurable experiences for comfort foods.
- Beware of certain medications. They can stimulate appetite. Drugs used for treatment of depression and bipolar disorder can be appetite stimulants. Other drugs, both prescription and over counter, may influence appetite as well. If you are on a medication, and troubled by food cravings, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist. You may be able to find an alternative that doesn't send your cravings out of control.
- Distract Yourself. What's that old expression...idle hands are devils workshop? Get busy. Do anything other than cave-in to your desire for food, and keep doing it until cravings subside.
- One final thought, take a look inside your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets and do some general "house cleaning." Throw-out all that unhealthy stuff that is waiting to sabotage your diet, and start shopping more wisely. A little forethought and careful planning will go a long way for improving your chances of success.
Eat wisely, be happy, and live long!
Joe Serpico is webmaster at aa-fitness-guide.com. For much more information regarding exercise, health, nutrition, and fitness, visit http://www.aa-fitness-guide.com