Three Ways to Conquer Cravings

November 26, 2012, 2:38 pmprevention

It's 3pm... tempted to raid the vending machine for chocolate? There's no need to give in to cravings--try these three strategies to control food cravings.

3 Ways to Conquer Cravings
Weight Loss
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Fight food cravings! Try these three strategies to keep your appetite in check.

1. Recall your last meal

A British study found that women who were asked to write down a detailed description of what they'd eaten for lunch earlier that day snacked significantly less throughout the afternoon than those participants who didn’t focus attention on their last meal. Researchers speculate that remembering a specific, vivid memory activates the hippocampus, an area of the brain they believe to be responsible for both decision-making and memory recall, giving would-be snackers better control over their appetites.

2. Try meditation

Research shows that it increases activity in parts of the brain associated with positive emotions, and it may also boost production of serotonin, the craving-controlling neurotransmitter. New to this relaxation technique? Sit in a quiet place with legs crossed, palms on knees, chest lifted, shoulders back and down. Close your eyes. Inhale and exhale five to 10 times, focusing on your breath.Shift your attention to your back. Inhale, visualising your breath rising up your spine to the crown of your head. Exhale, 'watching' it fall back down. Repeat for five to 30 minutes.

3. Get enough shut-eye

Researchers at The University of Chicago in the US found that just two sleepless nights (4 hours or less) reduced the satiety-signalling hormone leptin by 18 per cent and boosted levels of the appetite trigger ghrelin by about 30 per cent. Those shifts caused participants’ cravings for starchy foods, such as biscuits and potato chips, to jump by 45 per cent. "People often resort to food to pick up their mood and energy levels," says Kotsirilos. "Develop healthy sleep strategies and attend to your stress and anxiety before using food to compensate for sleep deprivation."


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