Curbing Cravings to Prevent Excessive Curves

by Greg Biren

Is it late at night, the middle of the afternoon; while driving in the car or watching TV? We all have times when we eat just to eat which leads to an expansion of our waist, hips, and thighs.

Hunger is a physiological need for food elicited by chemical messengers released in the body. Appetite is a “learned” behavior and NOT a physiological need for food. Both contribute to cravings. By creating strategies to control hunger and appetite we can avoid overeating. Here are a few tips to help.

  1. DON'T Skip Breakfast
  • Skipping breakfast contributes to excessive snacking and consumption of more calories than a healthy breakfast. Strategies:
    • set breakfast foods and utensils out the night before to save on time
    • start slow by finding foods you enjoy, are quick to prepare, and don’t leave you feeling uncomfortable
  1. Sit Down and Relax during Your Meals
  • When eating while working, driving, watching T.V., etc. we don’t get a chance to thoroughly enjoy food, leaving us unsatisfied and desiring to eat again. Eating on the run deprioritizes our nutrition. Make your nutrition a priority by…
    • taking a technology break; put the cell phone down and enjoy a moment of silence while eating
    • make meals a family event; establish proper eating habits for children and time for family communication
    • avoid eating in the car or while watching TV
    • slow down when eating; this gives time for the brain to register that you are full
  1. Increase Foods with Fiber, Protein, and Small Amounts of Fat
  • Foods that are digested slowly create satiety decreasing our desire to eat. The order of digestion from fastest to slowest is: simple carbohydrates, low glycemic higher fiber carbohydrates, followed by foods with protein and fat, which take longer to digest. Try adding these foods into the diet:
    • hard boiled eggs
    • oatmeal
    • Greek yogurt
    • most vegetables
    • legumes (beans and peas)
    • most fruit (certain fruits like raisins are very high in calories)
    • lean cuts of meat
  1. Set Yourself Up for Success
  • minimize unhealthy food in the house; recognize if it is in the house it will be eaten
  • do not shop on an empty stomach
  • place smaller portions on the plate, then if you desire more, go back for seconds
  • get your roommates and or family on board; we all need a strong support system

Eating for health and performance is not hard when we establish proper guidelines for eating. So the next time you find yourself eating more than you should “curb the cravings” by following these guidelines.




Greg Biren
Greg Biren

Author

Dr. Biren is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Rowan University. He earned both his Master and Doctoral degrees from Temple University. Prior to teaching he was employed as an Exercise Physiologist with a medical and wellness center for patients at risk for Cardiovascular, Diabetic, Obesity, and Orthopedic conditions. He has worked with a variety of populations attempting to improve their health and performance for the last 25 years. He is a firm believer that anyone can achieve any goal, if they are willing to sacrifice and put forth the required effort. This includes achieving one’s health and fitness goals. His mission is to serve as an educator, motivator, and resource for helping individuals learn how to attain higher levels of health and performance through exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle modification. He is a Corrective Exercise Specialist recognized by the National Academy for Sports Medicine (NASM); a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist recognized through the National Strength and Conditioning Association; a Clinical Exercise Physiologist recognized through the American College of Sports Medicine.