I’m always looking for informative and thought provoking articles on diet and cravings, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you an article by Dr. Daniel Amen. If you want more information from him, visit his website cited at the end of the article.
Stop Your Cravings From Becoming Binges (by Dr. Daniel Amen)
It’s 10 p.m. and the cookies are calling—the voice may start as a whisper, but it grows stronger and stronger with every minute that passes. “Eat just a couple and start fresh tomorrow,” it says. Of course, the second you take the first bite, it’s too late. Cravings. Usually for high-fat, high-sugar, refined carbohydrates—we have all experienced them. The painful truth is that if you don’t know how to get your cravings under control—your cravings will control you, and it will be very hard to succeed at sticking to a brain healthy eating plan. So how do you beat cravings? In six steps, I will show you how to avoid the thoughts, foods and behaviors that get you into trouble, and better yet, how to incorporate new, healthier habits into your lifestyle that will address cravings and allow you to succeed. The great news is that learning to live craving-free gives you the power to stick to and enjoy a nutritious, satisfying brain healthy eating plan without feeling deprived.
Before specifically addressing cravings, it’s important to quickly address basic nutrition needs.
Did you know that 91% of Americans do not eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day? And that’s the minimum required for proper nutrition! As a starting point, I recommend that all my patients take a good multivitamin, a fish oil supplement and vitamin D (if your levels are low).
The thoughtful use of supplements is an essential part of a healthy brain plan.
Fish Oil. Taking fish oil, a good source of omega-3, is not only good for our heart, skin, eyes, joints, hair and brain—in a recent study, omega-3 supplementation was shown to decrease appetite and cravings. My recommendation is 1-2 grams of high quality fish oil a day.
Vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer and obesity. When you don’t have enough vitamin D, you feel hungry all the time no matter how much you eat. Have your doctor order a test called 25-hydroxy vitamin D and take vitamin D3, if your levels are low. I am convinced that boosting my vitamin D levels was critical in helping me get control of my cravings and my weight.
The 6 Ways to Get Your Cravings Under Control!
Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced
Low blood sugar levels means lower overall blood flow to the brain. Lower blood flow affects brain activity levels, which means more bad decisions and poor impulse control. Alpha Lipoic Acid and Chromium are two supplements that have good scientific evidence showing support for healthy blood sugar levels and for cravings. Also, be sure to eat breakfast with a little protein. People who maintain weight loss eat a nutritious breakfast, have smaller meals throughout the day and stay away from simple sugars and refined carbohydrates (candies, sodas, cookies, crackers, white rice, white bread). High-sugar, high-fat foods work on the addiction centers of your brain—avoid them.
Decrease Artificial Sweetener Use
We think of these sweeteners as free because they have no calories, but because they are up to 600 times sweeter than sugar, they may activate the cravings centers in your brain, making you crave even more food. The one natural, no calorie sweetener I like is called stevia.
Anything stressful can trigger certain hormones in your brain that activate your cravings making you believe that you have to have that cinnamon roll! Meditation and hypnosis are wonderful practices that can help boost your brain and decrease your stress and your weight.
Identify Triggers and Plan Ahead
Know your vulnerable times and plan ahead. For example, going to my mother’s during the holidays is a trigger for me. She makes the best pizza and I could eat eight slices. So I eat a little something ahead of time so my brain can choose to eat one or two slices of pizza. That way I don’t have to blow the whole holiday season in one 30-minute feeding frenzy!
Avoid Hidden Food Allergies
Did you know that wheat gluten and milk allergies can decrease blood flow to your brain? When you decrease the blood flow to your brain, you decrease your judgment. Know your food allergens and avoid them.
Kill the Automated Negative Thoughts (ANTs)
Being overweight is a thinking disorder, not just an eating disorder. ANTs stands for Automated Negative Thoughts—negative thoughts that automatically come into your mind and ruin your day. It’s your uninvestigated thoughts that will kill you early. Most people don’t know that thoughts lie. They lie a lot. By questioning your ANTs and asking if they are true, they lose their power and you are free to choose healthier thoughts and healthier behaviors. This is a great video to share with anyone you know who is trying to stick to a healthy eating plan!
– See more at: http://www.mybrainfitlife.com/binging/?utm_source=Email&utm_content=blog&utm_BFL_12_13_14&inf_contact_key=73888918b4f7a12c9cf6a3d7f482394c061fbfc7570f0acacc53d778f254acb6#sthash.7LdLqjrk.dpuf