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Managing Your Cravings Going for the 3 Increases: Increase in Health, Increase in Happiness & Increase in Energy Strategies for Success in Weight Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Your Cravings Going for the 3 Increases: Increase in Health, Increase in Happiness & Increase in Energy Strategies for Success in Weight Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Your Cravings Going for the 3 Increases: Increase in Health, Increase in Happiness & Increase in Energy Strategies for Success in Weight Management By: James J. Messina, Ph.D.

2 It starts with the Neurotransmitters Serotonin – triggers cravings for sweets NPY - triggers a desire for pancakes and waffles in the morning Galanin - triggers cravings to sweet-and- creamy or meat-and-potatoes by mid- afternoon Endorphins – triggers eating desserts pleasurable

3 Eating to boost ones mood Feel sad, down, disappointed, low…? Carbohydrates: starches, pasta, or sweets, raise levels of serotonin in the brain Carbohydrates boost mood but we need to eat them in moderation!

4 Craving differences between men & women Typically women crave - sugar-fat mixtures: ice cream, chocolate, cookies, pies, doughnuts & cake Typically men prefer protein-fat mixtures - steak, meatloaf, potatoes and gravy, or hamburgers

5 These cravings have existed since the cavepeople… Researchers at Rockefeller University theorize that these are age-old craving differences between men & women These cravings were useful in days when: cavemen needed to maintain high levels of muscle mass to hunt cavewomen needed to maintain body fat stores in the event of pregnancy

6 Cravings are mood related Women have reported feeling bored, lonely or depressed when they indulged in their desired food Men associated giving in to cravings with feelings of happiness and relaxation. Less than 40 percent of cravers said they were hungry when they experienced cravings

7 You are born with a craving set Each person is born with a unique nerve chemical profile & set of cravings This fact is not a license to binge You cant change your genetic makeup You can coax these neurotransmitters Even small changes in balance of nerve chemicals can have far-reaching effects on your mood, energy levels & appetite

8 PMS and Over Indulging Cravings Cravings amplify during the two weeks prior to a womans period, probably because fluctuating estrogen levels have a domino effect on brain chemistry, sending many appetite control chemicals into a tailspin But overeating sugar, salty or high-fat snack foods, or caffeine will only make PMS symptoms worse

9 Give in to it or let the craving pass Sometimes a craving may pass after about 15 minutes Repeatedly resisting cravings may set you up for bingeing Many dietitians recommend giving in when youve got it bad, it takes 100 calories of a craved food to quell the yearning e.g.Eight Nacho chips, 14 Gummi Bears or one fun-size package of M&Ms.

10 Timing of Cravings Skipping breakfast or lunch can cause blood sugar to drop - leading to afternoon cravings 3-6 pm is prime time for cravings Never let more than four hours go by between meals or snacks

11 Chocolate the Most Craved Food Taste of chocolate on the tongue is likely to release endorphins in brain producing euphoric or pleasurable feeling Sugar in chocolate may raise Serotonin levels & soothe gloomy mood & relax you Creamy taste of chocolate may soothe need for fat fueled by Galanin Aroma of chocolate may affect brain chemistry

12 Nothing curbs chocolate craving but chocolate : for crave-prone times Plan: Late afternoon snack: 3 to 4 Hersheys Kisses, not entire bag or Five dried apricots dipped in chocolate or Slice chocolate angel food cake topped with raspberries Plan: In the evening snack: Two cups of oranges, bananas & strawberries dipped in 1/4 cup dark chocolate syrup or cup of fat-free chocolate cocoa

13 Steps to control cravings: 1. Listen to your cravings Theyre telling you something Cravings for sweets are an unconscious effort to raise Serotonin or NPY levels Desire for creamy or fatty foods ice cream to steak may be a basic need to satisfy Galanin or Endorphin levels

14 Steps to control cravings: 1. Listen to your cravings Willpower wont work with these powerful brain chemicals, so work with them instead, by using nutritious foods to calm cravings and boost mood If mid-afternoon you crave something sweet, turn to fig bars, graham crackers with peanut butter, air-popped popcorn, or a raisin bagel with all-fruit jam

15 Steps to control cravings: 2. Cut back on sugar and caffeine These quick-fix solutions only amplify or aggravate cravings in the long run

16 Steps to control cravings: 3. Give in to it If the craving doesnt go away Eat the desired food instead of stuffing yourself with everything but kitchen sink Stop short of a binge Buy single-serve food packages Serve a reasonable portion and eat it outside of the kitchen

17 Steps to control cravings: 4. Create a ritual Make eating treats special Instead of eating a half-gallon of ice cream in front of the freezer, spoon some into a nice bowl, sit in your favorite chair, eat slowly and savor each bite

18 Steps to control cravings: 5. Exercise People who exercise report fewer cravings than non-exercisers due in part to the mood altering Endorphins released during physical activity Exercisers tend to feel more in control of their bodies & may be less likely to binge


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