Do You Know How to Fight Those Late Night Cravings
Whether you’ve been at work, at the gym or just back from a party you’re hungry. Which are you going to grab to eat? A slice of last night’s left over pizza or a nice fresh Greek salad? We are betting that the pizza wins hands down every time.
A recent study done by New York’s St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center researchers along with Berkeley’s University of California researchers discovered that when a person was really tired their brain was much more likely to seek out junk food as a reward and far less capable of making a complex decisions that include picking something healthy to eat. So what’s a guy going to do? How can you eat healthy even when you are tired and not making great decisions. Glad you asked! Here are some great tips to help you do just that.
#1 Have a Little Foresight
Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., author of The Willpower Instinct and health psychologist at Stanford University found that your self control decreases as the day goes on. McGonigal recommends that you make your choices early in the day when you have more foresight.
Put together your snacks as well as your meals before you head off to work. Leave the change and dollar bills that can be used with the vending machines at home. That will remove the temptation. Have a healthy snack ready to grab when you walk in the door. That will stifle your hunger pains until you get dinner made and it won’t be junk food you are gobbling down.
#2 Have a Plan in Place and Start to Train Your Brain
Star by telling yourself regularly that whenever you have the urge for junk food you’ll eat fruit instead. It has Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. psychologist and author of Succeed believes that those individuals that are able to create specific strategies for dealing with the temptations that they face are twice as likely to reach their diet goals than those that do not.
#3 Breathe Deep Before You Bite
Taking a few deep breaths before taking a bite. Why? Because brain image studies have shown that doing so shuts down the reward center, so when faced with temptation if you breathe deep first you are likely to be able to control the temptation.
#4 Make Some Rules
You don’t eat chocolate – ever! You only eat out once a week. From supper time on you eat a vegetarian diet. You are allowed one ‘junk food’ snack a week. Foods are tempting and it can be very difficult to fight those temptations. You may not realize that foods are the most tempting when we are feeling conflict over them – you want to but you don’t want to. By having a clear rule your brain can better fight the temptation and you are more likely to win the battle.
#5 Choose Protein Snacks
According to Roy Baumeister, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Willpower, you will crave sugar and carbohydrates when you are tired because your brain needs an energy boost. Instead of giving in, make yourself a protein shake and your energy will last longer. Not to mention that the snack will be way more nutritious too.
Food for Thought
The trouble with the junk food is not only is it not good for us, those extra calories seem to find themselves to the abdominal area and you land up with belly fat. So the next time you find yourself looking at that bag of chips or longing for that chocolate bar, picture yourself with a six-pack. The best way you can repress your carvings is to concentrate on the benefits you will enjoy by avoiding those foods, rather than the negative results that you will endure if you give in.
The Oregon Research Institute found that MRI scans showed that when individuals implemented this technique, there was far less brain activation in the regions involving cravings and much more activation in the self control areas.
It seems that this strategy works because your willpower is boosted and it is much more likely to motivate you than negative thinking. Cravings can be hard to fight, but figuring them out is even more difficult. You might like to believe your cravings are your body telling you what it needs. However researchers have shown that’s not always the case. Cravings have many different triggers including hormones, depression, stress, etc. Some cravings may be okay to indulge in but many are not so you’ll have to let go of the theory that your body it telling you something.
Gaining control of your cravings gives you the power to choose the foods you want to eat.
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