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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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