How to combat cravings effectively

How to combat cravings with a few simple steps.

No energy, hungry, cravings…
Sounds familiar? I’m sure a lot of you have had that typical afternoon sludge at 2 or 3pm, maybe even at another time of the day often accompanied by cravings for either sweets, bread, pasta, dairy, fats or similar.
Sometimes we simply want SOMETHING!
When it comes to cravings it is really important to understand that the longings for fats or sugar… are a direct reflection of what is going on in our bodies on a hormonal level.
There are a couple of hormones called ghrelin and leptin that regulate our hunger hour by hour and day by day and are responsible for us experiencing increased hunger and cravings.

To combat cravings effectively you need to look at your nutrition and make some adjustments if you experience cravings on a daily basis.

Before we get into how to adjust your food intake to stop cravings let’s have a look at what common causes for cravings are:
You haven’t eaten breakfast which means your blood sugar is not stable and you experience a crash sometime during the day
You have eaten a high carb meal without any protein in the morning and not exercised
You are eating too little food
You are eating too much of one macronutrient for your body type
You are doing hours of cardio every week

It is a fact that hours of cardio can mess up our hormones and therefore often actually increase hunger and evoke cravings. Types of cardio that can cause these are:
power walking

Is going for a run or a bike ride 1-2x week going to run havoc on your hormones? Most likely not! There is a place for everything in a well designed exercise program BUT I find that many females (especially) go for the cardio equipment when trying to achieve a fat loss goal.
If you are a novice to exercise you may initially get results from endurance cardio but you will plateau sooner or later if this is your only fat loss tool.
Not only will you plateau but your metabolism will also slow down over time which means that you actually going to burn less calories throughout the day than before. (We are talking more than 2h of endurance cardio/ week here).

If your cardio is in-check and you keep it to less than 1.5- 2h of long endurance cardio/ week but still have cravings try to play around with your nutrition and see whether this makes a difference. I find that when people increase protein intake over the day as well as fibre and water a lot of cravings tend to settle down. If this is still not going your way try the following.

Best ways to combat cravings:

slow increase in calories by first increasing protein then either fats or carbs
fiber supplements
cacao powder in water (hot water over pure cacao)
lemon water
tea (black, green, herbal) without sweetener
coffee (without milk e.g. short black) but not after 4pm
water-based veggies such as celery, peppers, lettuces
green powder

If you are wondering what better types of cardio training are that don’t tend to evoke cravings as such read on below.

The following more intense and shorter cardio workouts are better choices than long endurance cardio when it comes to balancing energy/ hunger and cravings as well as achieving a fat loss result & increasing metabolism:
interval training
intense weight training
metabolic conditioning
sprint training

These types of cardio have a potential to increase hunger and cravings later on but eating a meal high in protein post workout will keep your cravings in check. (E.g. protein shake, chicken salad etc.)

happy wheels

Nina Egenberger
Nina Egenberger