People who chronically crave food aren’t so different from people who suffer drug or alcohol addiction, say some experts, including Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Dealing with issues like stress and too little sleep can cause help “cure” food cravings, Volkow told Gorman recently. She gave us a few tips to help prevent overeating:
1. Enjoy one flavor at a time. “If I give you just one item, say, apples, you will get saturated with the flavor of apples,” says Volkow. “But if I mixed different alternative flavors, you actually can go from one to the other,” eating a lot more than if you only had one kind of food on your plate. So make your meal simple.
2. Be aware of the weak moments. “You preset yourself [to say], no matter what, you’re not going to allow yourself to be tempted by the food,” says Volkow. “It’s much easier to control your urges if you do it beforehand than if they take you by surprise.” For example, if you want to eat candy while working at your computer, prepare some fruits such as melon, berries... and set it on your desk so it’s less possible for you to visit the vending machine.
3. Don’t allow yourself to eat in the car and in front of the TV. “Set up a space for eating so these other activities and spaces don’t get conditioned with the food,” suggests Volkow. Using a plate eat only at the table.
4. Have enough sleep. “It has now been recognized that sleep deprivation increases the risk of overeating and obesity,” says Volkow. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for adults.
5. Relax yourself. “When a person is stressed, that decreases their ability to exert control over desires,” says Volkow. Reduce your stress by exercising: you can schedule daily workouts for a natural high. Volkow also recommends that keep your workout bag packed and ready to use during high-pressure peroid. “If I am in a very stressful condition,” she says, “I go and I run.”