Controlling the Cravings

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Perhaps the most challenging aspect of dieting is avoiding relapse, and whilst it’s only natural that we give in to temptation every so often, constantly doing this will not only stunt your progress, but also undo your hard work and effort. Luckily for us, there are a number of healthy substitutes to the foods we dearly crave during our dieting period. Throughout this article, we will highlight some of these alternatives, to help you live happier, healthier and strive towards the achievement of your short and long-term goals.
Chocolate and Sweets – The aged-old craving that we all yearn for throughout our dieting; I guess you never really know how much you miss something, until you can’t have it – at least that’s the case with chocolate and sweets. Controlling the cravings isn’t a difficult task, however, particularly when you have our trusty recommendations at your disposal. Often, these cravings become the most difficult to combat at times when you’re after a quick, easy snack, and so, just before dinner, or late at night you find yourself making a trip to the cupboard reaching out for those nasty treats.

Alternatives: Nuts and seeds are an important snack to keep at arm’s length. Whilst, nuts such as almonds and macadamia contain high levels of fat (healthy fats, mind you), they contain far less preservatives and sugar in comparison to that chocolate bar you were thinking about getting out of the vending machine – ensure you stick to the ‘in moderation’ principle of course! Fresh fruit is another quality craving quencher – an apple for instance, not only helps fill that gaping spot in your stomach, but also provides a number of vitamins and antioxidants beneficial to your health. Our low fat, low sugar protein ball recipe, or easy pita bread pizza are perfect, quick alternatives to late night cravings which can be stored and eaten as you please!

Tips: Get rid of excess snacks (no, don’t eat them!), and ensure they stay well clear of your shopping trolley during your weekly grocery purchasing. You can’t eat what isn’t staring you in the eye!

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General Overeating and Junk Food –
In regards to general overeating, meal timing plays a major influence. Whilst eating food at a certain time is largely irrelevant when it comes to increasing the likelihood of gaining increased muscle mass, as we explained here, meal timing plays an important role in ensuring that you are consistently content and don’t overeat during certain meals or search for high fat/sugar snacks. Creating an adequate meal-timing schedule and spacing out your meals across the day is an effective tool in combatting this problem; four to six meals a day is recommended of adequate portion size (have smaller meals as opposed to binging during two to three meals).

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A balanced diet taking into account roughly 18% of healthy fats, 27% of lean protein and 55% of complex carbohydrates should also be considered. Healthy fats include avocado, almonds, flaxseeds and corn, accounting for your omega-3 and omega-6 needs. Lean proteins include meat, poultry, fish and eggs but can also be found in dairy products, the combination of these two satisfy the protein requirements of your diet – important for muscle repair and growth. Complex carbohydrates improve digestion, as they are high in fiber, stabilize blood sugar levels, provide you with energy throughout the day and keep you content between meals. Vegetables (bananas, sweet potatoes and carrots), fruits and whole grains (brown rice and oatmeal) are complex carbs.

Weighing your food is another important aspect of effectively abiding by your diet and weight loss objectives. Measuring what you are taking into your body (calorie counting), ensures you are not only receiving a well balanced diet but also that you are eating a diet low enough in calories to lose weight. Weighing food is far more effective than guesstimating as you gather a complete idea of what you are taking in to your body, and can easily correct issues, which may be hindering progress such as not enough protein or too high a fat intake.

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