2011-11-23

Curb your food cravings

'Tis the season for stuffing and sweets. Unfortunately, this season is also part of a horrendous cycle that many people submit themselves to every year.

For Americans, it begins with Halloween; the binge of sweets overflowing from store shelves tempts the will of shoppers. Following Halloween, Thanksgiving then sets the stage for months of indulgence. People devour a variety of foods, excusing themselves from previously set guidelines.

What guidelines? Well, observe the continuation of the cycle.... The indulgence lasts into January, then the shock of approaching Spring causes panic. As a result, New Year's Resolutions are born; people swear to lose the holiday weight. Some people will succeed, others will fail.

In both cases, the approach of Summer causes another surge of panic, "gotta fit into those Summer clothes". Summer activities have a tendency to shrink waistlines or at the least the perception thereof. With satisfaction in success (or surrender), many people will re-enter the cycle when it comes around again.

Through understanding what your body is really telling you, you will be able to combat the extra weight, thus relieving you of the cyclical weight struggle.

Food contains nutrition essential for the normal function of the human body. Some foods contain more of those nutrients than others, but we tend to associate those nutrients only with the most familiar foods. For example, the body says, "I need protein", the mind says, "Get me a cheap cheeseburger!" instead of "Some beans or lean meat, please".

I found a small webpage [NaturopathyWorks] which shows some common cravings and the substitutions which can be made with those cravings. For example, it suggests that if you're craving chocolate, you may need Magnesium; which means you should try eating raw nuts and seeds, legumes, and fruit. Another of their examples is that if you're craving bread/toast you may need Nitrogen, so you should try consuming high protein foods such as fish, meat, nuts, and beans. There are many other substitutions listed on that page. (Please note: I do not think that naturpathy actually works as an "alternative" to established medical science. So, take that website only as pseudo-scientific suggestion.)

Additionally, you can try to understand how your body initiates its food cravings. Recently a study was done [MedicalXpress] to learn how protein intake affects how much people desire to eat. Basically, the study found that until you consume a certain percentage of protein in your diet, you will most likely still desire more food.
Dr Gosby commented: "This result confirms the 'protein-leverage' effect in humans and importantly, shows counting calories is not enough to manage appetite and body weight. In the western world, where food is abundant, if you reduce your calorie intake but fail to reach your protein target you will find it hard to resist hunger pangs."
In essence, I'm trying to point out that you should always choose the right things to eat and never eat too much of anything. So, as you enter this season of assorted holidays of abundant temptation, remember that the choices you make now will affect you all year.
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