What to do when you feel like eating? How ravenous hunger arises, how it can be stopped and what helps to prevent it from getting that far
Losing weight is not that easy: Throughout the day you have been feeding low in calories and varied, even after the job Sport made – but then there’s suddenly this irresistible urge for chocolate. Well, a little does not hurt. Whereby, a second one might still be in there … it doesn’t take long and the whole table is eaten. Such sudden strong cravings for food have already thrown some people who want to lose weight off their feet.
How cravings arise
Hungergefühle dienen als Signal des Körpers, für den Nachschub an Nährstoffen zu sorgen. Bei ihrer Entstehung spielt unter anderem der Insulinspiegel eine Rolle. Nach dem Verzehr von Süßigkeiten, die große Mengen Zucker enthalten, steigt der Blutzuckerspiegel sprungartig an, kurz darauf sinkt er schnell wieder ab. Die Folge ist ein starker Drang, etwas zu essen. Menschen mit Diabetes und Adipositas sind besonders anfällig für diese Form von Heißhunger.
In addition, psychological factors encourage strong cravings for food. These include stress , frustration, but also boredom. “Cravings often arise when we are idling, for example when we come home in the evening and have nothing to do,” explains Dr. Martin Hofmeister, nutritionist at the Bavarian Consumer Center. In the worst case, the binge eating becomes a habit. The danger is especially with diets. Longer food breaks then alternate with cravings. If the attacks occur regularly several times a week, there may be a serious eating disorder or other illness. Then an appointment with a doctor or qualified nutritional advice is recommended.
Combat acute food cravings
The best course of action against sudden hunger depends on the cause. If this overcomes you because you have not eaten in a long time, you should meet the needs of the body and eat something. However, it is better not to eat sugary or fatty foods. Eating with a lot of protein and slowly digesting carbohydrates (for example whole grain products, potatoes, legumes, vegetables) drives hunger away in a more sustainable way.
Also: concentrate fully on the food. Chew consciously, feel the taste of the food, eat slowly. This promotes the feeling of satiety. Eating in front of the television on the side tempts you to shovel too much into yourself. If there is no getting away from the desire for chocolate, a little trick can help: “Break off a piece of the bar and stow it away before you eat the piece,” advises Hofmeister. So you don’t even run the risk of plastering the whole package.
Food cravings usually only last a good quarter of an hour. Therefore, a good strategy is not to give in to the need immediately and to distract yourself with some activity. After the critical minutes have passed, hunger has subsided or is easier to feed. Brushing your teeth and chewing gum also help bridge the gap and reduce hunger. “The best way to do this is to use sugar-free varieties with a peppermint flavor,” says Hofmeister.
Cravings: Proper nutrition prevents
Cravings can be avoided in most cases. “Don’t skip a meal in your daily routine,” recommends nutrition expert Hofmeister. In this way, the insulin level remains at a relatively constant level, the dreaded hunger does not arise in the first place. It is important to drink plenty of fluids. Drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water, unsweetened teas and diluted fruit juice spritzers throughout the day – unless there is nothing against it from a doctor’s point of view. This inhibits the appetite and promotes the metabolism.
A nutritious breakfast is particularly important to provide you with fiber, vitamins and protein for the rest of the day. Without this basis, the risk of food cravings increases with unnecessary snacking in the course of the morning. Help yourself with small snacks in the event of sagging between main meals. Not with chocolate bars, of course, but with vegetable sticks, fruit, nuts, a quark or grainy cream cheese.
Exercise is a useful precautionary measure against cravings for food caused by stress, frustration or boredom. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sport, a walk can do it too. The activity makes you think differently, inhibits the desire for sweets. “Those who are physically active on a regular basis suffer from fewer hunger pangs,” says Hofmeister.
Change everyday habits to prevent cravings
If none of this helps, an analysis of the more precise circumstances is necessary: When will I get hungry and why? Cravings are the result of bad habits. A diary helps to uncover such patterns. In it, write not only your actions, but also the feelings you have about them. This will tell you where to start.
But changing everyday habits is tedious and takes time. You should allow six to eight weeks for the new behavior to become established. Take your time and plan for setbacks. If you want too much too quickly, you put yourself under great pressure and in the end you risk frustrated failure. Nutrition expert Hofmeister therefore recommends a program of small steps: Do not start with regular meals, a low-calorie diet and exercise at the same time , but change your daily routine one after the other.