Do you find yourself craving foods not aligned with your wedding fitness goals?
I understand, I was in your shoes when I was planning my wedding in 2019!
This is often not from proper hunger cues from your body, but due to cravings. Many women crave salty or sweet foods, but you could find yourself craving just about any food!
I deal with this often (especially sugar cravings) so I’m going to share some of the top ways I manage my cravings. Limiting unnecessary snacking, especially if it’s unhealthy food, will help you get to your wedding fitness goals a lot faster, so read on!
First, let’s understand WHY you experience cravings. Knowing the “why” can help us better cope with cravings when they do arise!
You Are Not Getting Enough Protein
While protein alone won’t suppress your appetite, it does have an impact on how hungry you are. If you find that after a meal, you are hungry a few hours later, or that you get hungry pretty much all day long, you probably don’t eat enough protein. Look at your meals and figure out how much protein you are consuming. Tracking your daily food intake with apps like MyFitnessPal can be really helpful to see how much protein you are actually consuming, and it can help you determine how much protein you need. The amount needed is different for everyone, but if you rarely have enough protein, and instead eat a lot of refined carbs and sugars, it is time to have more balanced meals.
You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, your sleep doesn’t just affect your energy levels throughout the day, but can actually cause you to have a bigger appetite and gain weight. Sleep also affects your stress levels, which can have an impact on your appetite. When you start struggling to sleep, it is vital that you do everything you can to sleep better. It really does affect everything in your life, including your health and wellness. Try to switch up your diet, go to sleep earlier, take a nap during the day for added rest, or get a new mattress
if yours doesn’t feel so comfy anymore. And definitely remove distractions, like your cell phone, when you are trying to sleep!
You Are Eating Too Many Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates include foods without many nutrients that are loaded with carbs and sugar, such as cookies and pastries, candy, white pasta or white rice, chips, and sugary breakfast cereals. I know, it’s hard to hear. I LOVE pastries, but they won’t give my body the nutrition it needs and won’t get me to my goals. Plus, you aren’t getting many vitamins and minerals with these types of foods. They might fill you up in the short term, but long term you are getting hungrier and continue to crave them the more you eat them. Just say no to sugar! (And let’s work on this one together, okay?!)
You Are Eating While Distracted
Do you find that whenever you eat, you are in front of a TV or using your cell phone? I am very guilty of this! This makes you distracted and causes mindless eating. It turns food into something you do no matter what activity you are doing, which is confusing for your hunger cues. Start eating without watching or listening to anything, preferably at the kitchen table.
Here are foods that can help you feel full longer:
The first food you can start consuming more often to help curb your cravings and stay full longer is chia seeds. These little seeds will absorb water and detoxify your body, plus they are virtually tasteless and easy to add to any food or drink. You can add chia seeds to a green juice or smoothie, which also helps you get in all those healthy leafy greens and delicious fruit. And don’t forget you can also make chia seed pudding or overnight oats, or just sprinkle them on your favorite salad.
Eggs are a delicious healthy fat. As a vegetarian, they’re a staple in my personal weekly meal plan! For years, people were told not to eat too many eggs due to cholesterol, but doctors now recommend
them regularly as a healthy protein source. They can also help to keep you full in between meals. The fat and high protein content of eggs help to fill you up and satiate you for a longer period of time. Try making breakfast with an egg scramble made with your favorite veggies, or have bacon and eggs on the weekend. You can also make egg muffins that you bake and save for later. The easiest thing to do is make hard-boiled eggs and grab one as a snack.
If you enjoy eating fruit, don’t forget about pears! These delicious, juicy fruits not only provide lots of important vitamins and minerals, but they also help to fill you up. This is thanks to a carbohydrate in pears called pectin, which is great for your digestive system. Sometimes, your immune or digestive system is to blame when you are constantly hungry, and you need some pectin to help balance out your digestion and lower cholesterol. It’s the perfect snack to have in between meals when you need a little something to tie you over!
If you are not on a low-carb diet, consider adding legumes to your meals. Legumes include peanuts, beans, chickpeas, and lentils. You can have these on your salads, in a homemade soup, or even in chili. Lentils are complex carbs and provide some healthy fats, while also adding plant-based protein. If you are a vegetarian or just don’t eat a lot of meat, this is your next best thing for getting enough protein and nutrients in your diet.
Now, we are going to talk about HOW to curb those annoying cravings!
Drink More Water
There is a reason you see this recommendation every time you read about controlling your appetite or reducing hunger and cravings. In many cases, you feel hungry, but you are actually thirsty and possibly dehydrated. It is easy to get these signals confused, so when you think you need food, you just need to sip on some water. It is a good rule of thumb that when you are having cravings in between meals, you drink a full glass of water. Wait at least 20 minutes after drinking your water, then if you still have that craving, go ahead and have a snack. If not, you were just thirsty.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Mental and physical health is very closely connected. Your physical health can affect your mental well-being, and your mental health can affect your physical well-being. It is not uncommon to have stress or anxiety, and that leads to emotional eating, constant hunger, or increased cravings. Part of the reason for this is because the hormone cortisol is released when you have a lot of stress like re-scheduling vendor meetings or dealing with unneeded family drama. Cortisol causes you to find a way to relieve the negative feelings, which many people do with sugar, carbs, and junk food. This is where the term “stress eating” comes from. By reducing your stress, you can also reduce your cravings. Exercise is the perfect way to reduce your stress levels. So get those wedding workouts in and you’ll be closer to your physical and mental goals!
Get Enough Nutrients in Your Meals
The most important thing about having healthy meals isn’t trying to eat as little as possible or restricting food groups, but aiming for balance. Have a good balance between lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and produce in the form of vegetables or fruits. This might mean making salmon, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner, or having a sandwich on whole-grain bread and an apple on the side for lunch. You can get as simple or as complex as you want, as long as you are getting all the nutrients you need without feeling hungry
Make Sure You Are Eating Enough
You also need to be sure you are not restricting yourself in other ways. Don’t wait too long to eat between meals and please don’t try any crazy crash diets! That won’t get you closer to your wedding weight loss goals. Malnutrition and undereating can quickly lead to food cravings and binges, which might cause you to gain more weight than what you lose.
Here are some foods that can help curb your appetite:
When you are looking for a healthy beverage, skip the soft drink or sugary juice, and go for green tea instead. Not only is this a healthier option with a lower amount of sugar and caffeine, but it includes green tea extract, which is great for suppressing your appetite. This is one of many reasons it is recommended when you are trying to lose weight. Green tea has been known to help with providing antioxidants your body needs, balance out your metabolism, and regulate the hormones that regulate your hunger and appetite.
In terms of herbs that can help suppress your appetite, fenugreek is one of the best ones. This is actually part of the legume family, though it is classified as an herb. You can get ground fenugreek, which is ground from the seeds of this plant. Fenugreek contains lots of fiber, which helps to reduce your appetite and provides other health benefits like balancing your cholesterol and even helping to regulate your blood sugar levels.
As far as foods to eat, add a little more nuts to your diet. Yes, these are higher in fat, but they also contain fiber, protein, and plenty of other nutrients your body needs. They are considered healthy fats that do your body good and can also help to suppress your appetite between meals. Have a handful of nuts and cheese as a snack, or a healthy breakfast with a slice of whole-grain bread, some nut butter, and sliced bananas on top. Just be careful with your portion sizes since they are a bit higher in fat.
If you are interested in more holistic remedies for reducing your appetite, try essential oils. Quite a few of them have been known to help with appetite suppression, including peppermint and lemon, but grapefruit is among the best. Grapefruit itself is great for reducing hunger and appetite, so it makes sense that the pure essential oil would also be beneficial. You will also get some extra antioxidants and important enzymes your body needs.
I know we all deal with cravings from time to time, so I hope these tips helped you understand your cravings and how you can better deal with them!
If you need to make healthy eating easier for yourself, then grab the free Bite-Sized Bridal Nutrition Guide. You’ll get 5 full days of healthy, balanced meals planned out for you, so you will be less likely to deal with those annoying cravings!