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The goodies of the Holidays are hard to resist.  Now that the holidays are almost over how do you stop your body from wanting more of those goodies you ate?   How do you stop the mid-afternoon, evening or all-day cravings?

First, it may help to understand your body.  Our body thrives on routine and wants us to eat at the same times.  The fat and sugar in many goodies satisfies our tests preferences.  Thus, our body actually opposes us when we make changes in the way we eat.

There is hope!  Although our body likes the goodies and constant eating, we just have to replace with good habits and follow them.  Every time you resist temptations you set up a pattern to resist the next one.   Each time you eat a healthy meal, one you planned to eat at a set time, you start up a positive eating cycle.  So, if you have not been a breakfast eater and start eating breakfast every morning, before long your body will desire breakfast everyday.   You can make your body work for you.

When you are hungry try to eat a healthy food instead of candy or left over cookies.  Eat an apple or orange.   By eating a healthy food you actually weaken your urge to eat the high-calorie treats when you are “starving.”  It will probably be hard at first, but it does work

Don’t watch the food commercials or the food channel on television when you have low resistance.  Turn pages quickly in magazines when you see food or recipes.  It’s hard to resist tempting foods when we smell them too.  So, breathe through you mouth when you are around tempting foods.

By eating regular meals and snacks you can avoid being very hungry which will help  decrease your cravings for certain foods.  Setting up this planned meal and snacks routine will help as your body likes structure.  Your body will be less likely to encourage you to break the rules.

You can use the tapping technique which has been proven to work to help people resist cravings.  Place your five fingers of one hand on your forehead.   Tap each finger in turn at intervals of one second while watching each one carefully as it taps.  Keep repeating until the craving disappears.  Other suggestions when trying to stop a craving include tell yourself “not today”  and wait 15-20 minutes while you call a friend, chew a piece of sugar-free gum, brush your teeth, drink a glass of water, go for a walk or meditate.  Keep a record of your thoughts and feelings leading to the craving and what methods worked best.

Starting some healthier habits can be hard.  One way is to make it a gradual transition from the old way to the new healthier way.  Give yourself some time but remember that each time you resist or change to eating healthier you are making progress.

References:

Roberts, S. and Sargent, B.K. (2009).  The Instinct Diet, Tufts Media., Medford, MA.

USDA website, Choose My Plate available at http://www.choosemyplate.com

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During the holidays there are many temptations put in front of you.  Many companies send you food to show appreciation for your business throughout the year – boxes of chocolates, tins of cookies, and bins of flavored popcorn.  And, there are business meetings, church and social events you attend which have more high fat, high sugar snacks to tempt you during the holiday season.  Don’t lose sight of how many “treats” you try in one day or throughout the week.  You don’t have to avoid them altogether but be conscience of what you are eating.  Allow yourself one treat a day, especially if you don’t want to gain weight over the holiday season.

If you are going to a party, bring your own healthy treat to share.  Here’s one to try:

Cheesy Popcorn

Ingredients:

¼ Cup margarine

½ Teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

¼ Teaspoon garlic powder

8 Cups warm popcorn

1/3 Cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Stir margarine in a large pan over medium heat until melted. Add the seasonings and popped popcorn and stir until it is completely coated. Add the cheese and stir until it melts.

Yield: makes 8 – 1 cup servings.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 80, Total Fat: 3 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Protein: 3 g, Total Carbohydrates: 6 g, Sodium: 105 mg, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Vitamin A: 255 IU, Vitamin C: 0 mg, Calcium: 62 mg, Iron: 0 mg.

Source:  West Virginia University Extension Service.

To help you curb the temptation of too many food “treats,” sip water by keeping a container of water on your desk.  Add a little flavor to your water by adding slices or lemon, lime, or orange.  Research has shown that people who drank 2 cups of water before meals, over a 12 week period, lost 5 pounds more than those who did not.   If you drink sugar sweetened beverages such as sweet tea, soda or lattés try to replace them with water.  Think “WATER FIRST FOR THIRST!”  A high calorie beverage can really add on the calories.

Just keep your eye on the goal to maintain your weight over the holiday season.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

American Chemical Society (2010) Clinical trial confirms effectiveness of simple appetite control method.  Available at: http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=223&content_id=CNBP_025477&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=1d38a07c-5dc8-4718-b0eb-d8455408a0ac

Iowa State Extension, Holiday eating tips.  Available at: http://www.fshn.hs.iastate.edu/nutritionclinic/handouts/newsletters/HolidayEatingTips.pdf

eXtension, Families, Food and Fitness (2009) Make water your number 1 beverage.  Available at:  http://www.extension.org/pages/19893/make-water-your-number-1-beverage

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