BY LAUREN SEPHTON
Whether you have been dreaming of starting your own business or cultivating a healthier lifestyle, this new year offers new opportunities to achieve your goals. When it comes to making health-based resolutions, there are a few hints that will keep you strong and help sustain you to meet your goal through the end of the year.
How to Kick Sugar Cravings
After a holiday season full of decadent desserts and warm cozy drinks, you’re often left with sugar cravings that can be hard to kick. However, follow these simple steps that will let you enjoy a little indulgent without the binging.
First, don’t restrict your cravings. Yep, that’s right! It’s okay to treat yourself to a little sweet after a meal, but the key to not overindulging is to understand that a craving is not the same as hunger. Often, a “craving” is linked to your brain’s reward system to eat something that’ll release a lot of dopamine. On the other hand, “hunger” is your body craving energy and seeking a nutrient-dense healthy meal. Nonetheless, listen to your body, and if you are craving a sweet treat, try a healthier alternative like fruit or just limit yourself to one serving size each day.
Second, eat three balanced meals. Stock your pantry with healthy snacks and try to eat three balanced meals daily. A balanced meal is easy to achieve, no matter how advanced you are in the kitchen. The ticket is to focus on the three core food groups: carbohydrates for energy, protein for enzyme production, and fresh vegetables for antioxidants. When planning your meal, consider the ratio of one quarter complex carbohydrates, one-quarter protein-rich foods, and one-half vegetables to keep a healthy metabolism. In addition, try satisfying those sugar cravings with healthier alternatives like fresh fruits, protein smoothies, granola bars, roasted nuts, and yogurt parfaits to give you that extra boost of energy and antioxidants throughout the day.
Three, simply enjoy life outside the kitchen. While it’s completely okay (and healthy) to enjoy a little sweet, sometimes the easiest method to kick those sugar cravings is to keep the trouble at a far distance. The first step would be to avoid processed foods or place your favorites in a cabinet that is hard to reach until the times you need that special treat for that special moment. Other suggestions include taking a brisk walk outside or catching up with a friend over the phone instead of searching for that hidden, loaded richness.
Finally, take care of your body by getting proper sleep, avoiding excessive stress, and taking multivitamins to prevent any deficiencies. Sleep deprivation can alter your appetite-regulating hormones, making you crave more calorie-dense processed foods. Under a great amount of stress, your brain may require up to 12% more energy, which often leads to those uninvited sugar cravings since processed carbohydrates provide the body with one of the quickest energy sources.
Healthy Lifestyle & Eating Habits
- Eat more whole foods. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and natural proteins provide a plethora of nutrients that your body is desperately craving to function properly.
- Find what physical activity you enjoy most. With the abundance of sedentary jobs in today’s work environment, most individuals may find themselves sitting more often than not. Therefore, it’s important to use this time to find activities that fit your schedule and meet your level of enjoyment.
- Give yourself time to relax. It’s okay to schedule out time in your week to give yourself a few hours of downtime, which can help you better focus and be more productive throughout the week.
- Limit screen time. In today’s technological world, it’s important to find time to detox from the electronic devices that are now being linked to inducing depression and anxiety among time-intensive users.
- Learn to enjoy the small moments in life. Every day is a gift to be enjoyed and an opportunity to serve loved ones in your life. Whether simply bringing coffee to a coworker or cooking a homemade dinner for the family, try to have a positive mindset by finding your blessings in life.
The key is to take your first step, however small it may be. There’s no better time than the present to begin your new journey this year.