When you’re following a medical weight loss plan, cravings might be one of your most consistent hurdles to overcome. Understanding why we have cravings can be key to combatting them. Luckily, in many cases, solving the root of the problem can be easier than you think.
Too little sleep, or poor quality sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can be more welcoming to the rewarding boost of dopamine that you receive from eating unhealthy foods. Sleep deprivation even disrupts the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, so you simply feel hungrier and less able to recognize fullness. Together, these two factors cause you to crave junk foods, especially starchy or sugary ones, and make you want to eat even more of them than usual.
Anyone can have a bad day here and there, but if chronic sleeplessness is a problem the effects will add up over time. Take the steps to set a regular sleep schedule, avoid screen time in the hours before bed, reduce caffeine intake, and establish a proper sleeping environment. If your insomnia persists, schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist. Sleep is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle that no one should overlook.
Stress and other emotions. Stress can also disrupt your hunger and fat storage hormones, making you more likely to crave fatty or sugary foods. Throughout our lives we develop coping mechanisms in response to emotions such as sadness, loneliness, and boredom, and unfortunately those coping mechanisms often involve food. While there is no quick fix for these issues, working to reduce your stress can help. Make a conscious attempt to develop new, healthier coping mechanisms to replace food. If you struggle to change habits, consult with a behavioral health expert for ideas that will work for your situation.
Yummy smells. Tempting aromas trick your brain into feeling hungry when you’re not, and this effect is even stronger in people who are sleep deprived. We’re not saying you have to plug your nose when walking near a bakery, but the effects of yummy smells are certainly something to keep in mind. Avoid these when you’re tired or stressed, so that you don’t overload yourself with temptation.
Combating cravings will help you stick to a healthier diet, but how do you construct a medical weight loss plan in the first place? Give us call to schedule a consultation, and we will teach you which foods your body needs to achieve your health goals.