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Easy Tips to Stop Cravings for Sugar and Junk Food

Easy Tips to Stop Cravings for Sugar and Junk Food

For most of us, the word “cravings” might seem innocent, right?

For many; however, such as recovering alcoholics or drug addicts, “cravings” means much more than that. For these people, cravings are a matter to be taken seriously as they can lead to relapse, which can cost them their families, jobs, homes, and even their lives. That’s right, cravings can be a matter of life or death for such people.

Compare that to a sugar or junk food addict. Giving in to a craving can mean that a person who has managed to eat completely healthy for months, relapses and is right back to eating junk food all the time. That person is back at the starting point, just as addicted as they were before quitting.

One critical thing to realize if you want to know how to stop cravings, is that giving in to a craving doesn’t mean indulging for that one time, although your mind may try to convince you of that. Giving in to that craving means you will indulge now, then perhaps the day after, or a few days later, and then again (and again and again).

The law of addiction:

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“Administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance.” – WhyQuit.com

How to stop cravings

To begin with, I’m going to outline a few methods that I personally believe will help stop cravings for sugar and junk food. However, these methods can apply to any sort of craving, including cigarette or drug cravings.

After that, I will list some other methods that I’ve found during my research. Some of them I haven’t tried myself, but they might be useful to certain people.

1. Take a hot shower

This is the best method that I know of.

There’s something about relaxing in a hot shower that helps to stop a craving. I don’t know exactly why, but it works very well for me.

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The shower has to be HOT. Not so hot that you burn your skin, but hot enough to be a little past your comfort zone. It’s also important to give it enough time, perhaps 20-30 minutes.

2. Go for a walk or a run

This can help a lot. It is important to get your mind off of whatever it is that you’re craving, be it sugar craving, a nicotine craving, or whatever. When you sit at home on your couch, it’s really hard to get your mind focused on something else.

I don’t know why this works, maybe it’s the endorphins, the fresh air, or simply the fact that you manage to think about something else?

Longer walks are preferable, at least 30 minutes.

3. Remind yourself why you quit, and what you will lose by giving in

When a craving pops up in the mind, it is very effective at blocking other thoughts. It can become hard to remember why you quit in the first place.

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That’s why it is a good idea to have a list of reasons why you quit, as well as a list of benefits you think you may achieve by giving up junk food in the long term. If you have a list, read it. If you don’t have one, then try to remember your reasons for quitting. Don’t just “think” about them, and don’t just “read” the list, try to actively remember how you feel about those things and really contemplate them.

Also, try to remember how you felt the last time you had junk food after deciding not too. Maybe it was a guilty feeling, or you felt kind of sick of yourself for your weakness?

Try to actively remember the feeling that you had, not just the “fact” that you felt bad.

4. Other methods

There are some other methods on how to stop cravings that I’ve heard people mention. Personally, these haven’t worked for me, but they might help others.

I’ve seen some people (so-called “experts”) recommend that you give in a little and have a small bite of what you are craving. Do NOT do that. That is the worst thing you can do. If you are a junk food addict then that will lead to a full-blown relapse and possibly a binge.

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  • Have something sweet, like a fruit. This might work for some people, but I get junk food cravings despite having just eaten a meal.
  • Drink water. Some people like to claim that cravings are caused either by hunger or dehydration, but I disagree. I believe hunger and cravings are completely different things.
  • Eat frequently. Some like to suggest that cravings can be prevented by eating multiple times per day. Given that eating too frequently can cause colon cancer, I can’t recommend that approach.
  • Talk to someone. Talk to someone who knows what you’re going through, explain to them that you’re craving unhealthy food and ask them for some encouragement.
  • Don’t use artificial sweeteners. This one seems kind of reasonable. If you feel that artificial sweeteners give you cravings, then it might be a good idea to not have them.
  • Eat more protein. I’ve heard some people suggest this.
  • Remove the temptations. This is a good idea. If you don’t keep junk food at your house, you may prevent those cravings from occurring in the first place.
  • Exercise. This is another good idea. Exercising regularly can improve your mental health and well-being, which might prevent those cravings from occurring.
  • Get enough sleep. This is also important for overall health and well-being.
  • Manage stress. This is also important for your overall health.
  • Avoid certain triggers. Try to avoid specific activities or places that give you cravings.
  • Eat a healthy diet. It helps to generally eat a healthy diet.
  • Take a low-dose high-quality multivitamin. This helps prevent any nutritional deficiencies.
  • Don’t get too hungry. This is yet another good tip. Preventing yourself from getting too hungry will help prevent uncontrollable cravings from appearing.

Conclusion

Some of these tips on how to stop cravings can definitely be useful for a lot of people.

It is important to realize that if you manage to overcome sugar and junk food addiction in the long-term, these cravings will eventually stop. The cravings may be common in the beginning, but after a few weeks and months of abstinence, they will probably not be an issue.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via c1.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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