It's the beginning of a new year and yes, you did it again. You made another "resolution" to eat right, exercise and make better decisions regarding your overall health. Well congratulations, you've successfully made it through the first week; but you feel yourself slipping back into your old habits. You're feeling like this "New Year, New You" was a huge mistake.... yet again. Don't be dismayed. All is not lost. Help is here. You can make better food choices and it's not as hard as you think to stay on the right track. It is my goal to help you reach your goals toward healthier living.
The following quick strategies can help you stay on track to meet your health goals:
1. Breath Deeply. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. This gives you a minute to pause and regroup. Once you're calm, eating a slice of cheesecake might lose some of its appeal.
2. Get Your Phone. A recent study revealed playing a game on your smartphone for as little as three minutes can reduce your food craving by 25%. If gaming isn't your thing, try texting a friend or watching a video. Do anything that keeps you distracted and the craving will pass.
3. Drink Water. Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water may have many health benefits. In middle-aged and older people, drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and help with weight loss.
4. Massage It Out. To curb your urge, use both hands to massage both hands to massage both sides of your spine where your hairline meets your neck. Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Walk It Out. Walking for 15 minutes may help overweight people at least temporarily reduce cravings for high-calorie, sugary snacks, a small study suggests. Exercise may provide some cognitive stimulation that interferes with thoughts about the craved food, and the discipline to regularly take walks to circumvent cravings might also improve the ability to follow through with healthy food choices .
6. Soothe with Scent. Inhaling a pleasant scent can literally bring you to your senses when your cravings are uncontrollable. Try this: Add 2 drops of eucalyptus oil to 1 cup of water in a bowl and stir. Soak a washcloth in the scented water. Squeeze out the excess water, then roll it up neatly and place it in a plastic bag in the fridge. The next time a craving hits, retrieve your scented washcloth and drape it gently over your face. Then, inhale the calm and exhale the cravings.
7. Relax with a cup of tea and a book. Researchers found reading can decrease stress that results in cravings by 68%. Alternative methods to divert your urge to munch include listening to music (61%) or sipping a cup of tea (54%). Pick a quiet place free from interruption and sip a calming tea while you turn the pages to your favorite read.
8. Choose a clean snack. When you go a long time between meals, your blood sugar starts to dip which increases cravings. Instead of reaching for the high calorie,nutrient lacking snack, increase your blood sugar with a healthy alternative that is a combination of complex carbohydrates and protein. Try an apple with 1/4 cup of nuts or a pear and piece of string cheese. Once you've refueled with good stuff, you might find that your sugar crave has disappeared.
9. Save It For Later. When all else fails and that ice cream won't get out of your head, give yourself permission to indulge later... later. Waiting allows you to enjoy it that much more, while encouraging you to keep making good choices throughout the day.
10. Give Someone a Hug. Hugs and other types of physical affection release feel-good chemicals that counter stress hormones. These in turn make you happy and calm -- and less likely to seek comfort from food.