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Combat Cravings

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There are three parts to pregnancy fitness. First there is pre-pregnancy, which is obviously before a woman conceives with her husband. Pregnancy, while a woman is in gestation. Then finally there is post-pregnancy, the time after baby is born. Post-pregnancy is the time when fitness concerns become a staggering obstacle for new moms. This is the crucial time when women are reeling from the (usually) joyous addition of baby, but are faced with the issue of getting back into shape.

It is has been stated time after time that one’s conditioning prior to pregnancy can have a huge impact on pregnancy and post-pregnancy outcomes. However, if one has not taken heed to those advisements, they may find themselves behind the “8 ball” when it’s all said and done.

With that said, the previous conversation, in 'Cravings triggers identified' is essential when trying to create a post-pregnancy diet and work out plan. We explored some of the major causes for cravings in that article that sabotage our healthy diet efforts.

Up next, the following information may be able to help us combat those cravings and jump start post-pregnancy weight loss:

Sugar causes cravings as we learned in ‘Cravings triggers indentified’, but replacing simple sugar with complex carbohydrates like brown rice and brown bread have less impact on the glycolic index, decreasing the intense spikes and steep drops in blood sugar that add to chaotic and tumultuous cravings.

If you remember salt was another culprit in the crime of causing out of control cravings. The reason salt and salty foods were implemented in this case is because salt generally causes thirst and thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Simply adding more water is not enough. One must add water and decrease salt intake to truly solve the problem. Also, keep in mind that at the first sign of hunger, drink water first and this will “trick” the mind into making the belly feel full. Drink 8 ounces of water before a healthy meal and if you can handle it, 8 ounces after the meal. You will stay feeling fuller longer and possible eat less and have less cravings.

There are inconclusive reports about caffeine and its benefit or lack thereof. However, with some information supporting the fact that caffeine in coffee could potentially increase cravings it is worth taking a step back to assess whether or not your personal consumption of this very appealing drink is the cause of your diet busting cravings. The interesting thing is caffeine is a chameleon, causing different reactions in different people. Given this fact, trouble shooting, like switching your “Morning Joe” for a cup of decaf, may be the best way to gauge if coffee drinking is truly the culprit. Many people drink coffee for energy or a “pick-me-up”, but some use it as a substitute for meals or to feel full without too many added calories. Again, substituting regular coffee with decaf may still help with appetite control and helping to keep you full between meals, unfortunately, it won’t do anything for energy, but there are natural remedies that could attack that problem.

Stress is that illusive culprit that is hard to pinpoint and even harder to combat. Fortunately, there is a two-fold solution that could help. Try Yoga to decrease stress and gain the added extra fitness benefits at the same time. Stress is never good and its presence causes hormonal disturbances of all kinds that thrusts many people into over eating. Yoga is a natural physical activity that helps every body part and can potential lower the damaging effects of stress.

But wait, there’s more! There are some other techniques one can use to continue to combat cravings:

- Eat slower – don’t scarf down food. It takes the brain roughly 20 minutes to tell the stomach it’s full. When you eat slower and stomach has time to register that it is indeed satisfied, you then in turn don’t feel hungry. You feel fuller longer.

- Chew! – while you’re eating slower also chew longer. Chewing and tasting the food causes satiation. It also helps in that whole “stomach registering that it’s full” process.

- Eat in regular intervals - this point cannot be stressed enough, mainly because it really is the point. People may be making healthier choices with their main meals, but often fail in the in between time. Poor snack choices, like fatty chips or fast food or chocolate bars are quick and ready to grab, but they are full of empty calories that stunt your weight loss success. Believe it or not, a more beneficial approach could be just simply eat whenever you are hungry. The catch, is pick something fairly healthy to eat. Fruit, lean protein, low calorie snacks all curb hunger without adding empty calories. Furthermore, to truly get a handle on cravings, set a timer for every two to three hours making sure to have a healthy option available each time the alarm rings. This basically breaks down to eating about 6 meals a day, possibly three large meals and three smaller meals. The “6 meals a day” plan is nothing new, but many report that they fail at the execution of the process. It is a hard method to understand and it seems counterintuitive in theory as to how eating more throughout the day could spawn successful weight loss. However, the main reason this method really works is it keeps the metabolism fueled and burning. Burning what? It’s burning Fat. When you burn excess fat, you lose unwanted weight. Plus, the added bonus is if you are eating every two to three hours, there’s much less chance you will have uncontrolled cravings. You won’t have time to get as hungry.

- Water – finally, the no brainer. Drink, drink, drink! Of course you know that already. However, it is always good to have a reminder of just how important water is. Water, flushes fat. Water aids the metabolism. Water fights dehydration. Water decreases hunger. The list for the benefits of water goes on and on. Possibly the most important note for the purpose of combating cravings is the fact the water fights hunger. It really helps the belly to feel full. And if water in take increases in conjunction with the fore mentioned techniques a person’s ability to combat cravings is nearly sure fire.

Adjunct resources: 3ABN World magazine, April 2014 edition; Dr. Agatha Thrash, MD co-founder of Uchee Pines Institute.

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