Kick Cravings to the Curb
Written by Jen Jones, 16 Mar 2018
Cravings aren’t just a side-effect that pregnant women experience. We can all fall prey to a pesky sweet-tooth, or hankering for a deep-fried fat bomb...to each his own. So WHY do we experience such intense cravings at times and what can we do to prevent them? Like most things in life, there isn’t an easy fix or one right answer, but a combination of things to consider on the road to curbing those cravings.
Have you ever noticed that after a night of restlessness, or staying up later than usual, you spend a majority of the next day looking for things to satisfy your junk food cravings? That’s because getting enough sleep is a big part of regulating your hunger. Serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects mood and appetite, is greatly affected by the amount of sleep you get. When your body is deprived of sleep, serotonin levels can drop and when they do, the body instinctively knows that the one type of food, simple sugars, can quickly increase serotonin levels. And, BOOM, you’re standing in front of the office vending machine, pressing “E8” for a Snickers bar. When we get the proper amount of sleep each night (7-8 hours is recommended) it will help stabilize serotonin levels and diminish food cravings.
The next key component of preventing those crazy cravings is nutrition. When you’re not properly fueling your body, serotonin levels drop. Over eating, under eating, skipping meals and snacks, all lead to ravenous hunger levels, intense food cravings, and binge eating sessions. Which, in turn, leads to weight gain and body fat increase. This is why fueling the body properly first thing in the morning, and throughout the day, is critical for success. 9Round members can find information on proper fueling frequency in the nutrition journal in the 9Round member portal.
However, before you pour a bowl of sugary cereal or drive through Burger King for a Croissanwich, it's not enough to just eat at the right frequency, it’s important to also make the right food choices to fuel your body at each meal and snack. For example, while a salad with grilled chicken for lunch seems to be a healthy choice, it's not a balanced meal that will provide the body with the nutrients needed to stabilize serotonin levels. To properly fuel the body, you have to focus on the right balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat at every meal and snack. The 9Round Nutrition Journal provides detailed information on building balanced meals and snacks to properly fuel your body throughout the day.
Lastly, if you want to beat those pesky cravings…treat yo'self! That's right, treat yourself to a great tasting snack or a single cheat meal from time to time. Snacks can be both delicious and healthy and indulging in the occasional cheat meal will not completely derail your fitness journey. Cheat days or weekends, however, are detrimental to your success and will only increase your cravings. So, have your cake and eat it, too, but keep it in check to avoid setbacks. If you're looking for some great ideas for nutritious (and delicious!) snacks and meals, guess what? Those can also be found in the 9Round Member Portal! Lucky you.
Studies show that regular exercise promotes better sleeping habits. In just 30 minutes, three times a week at 9Round you could be on your way to curbing cravings by improving your sleep. Additionally, 9Round members have exclusive access to nutritional guidance and tips in the online member portal, helping ensure that they’re eating healthy, balanced meals and avoiding those drops in serotonin levels. Take control of your cravings today, find your local 9Round location here and schedule your first workout for free!