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Jul - Aug 2012

The Newsletter for Bariatric Patient Education and Motivation

Steps to Stop Cravings

By Monica Ganz, PhD


Cravings can overpower you and leave you feeling helpless. Before you know it, you give in to cravings and then you have eaten more calories in one sitting then you should have for an entire day. Now the guilt comes in and that one second decision has started you down a path of regret. Was it worth it? We must learn to take control and not let food control us.


Here are some tips that will help you feel fuller longer and curb those nasty cravings. Give them a try to help you refrain from overeating. Awareness is the key so start today.


Don't skimp during the day to "save" calories for later on in the evening. No matter how "in control" you feel during the day, you're likely to become overly hungry early in the evening, which is a sure-fire way to give in to overeating. Eat breakfast every morning. Doing so keeps your blood sugar stable - which helps keep cravings at bay and energy levels high. In fact, studies have shown that people who eat breakfast tend to be at a healthier weight than those who skip it. Many people recommend that this be your largest meal of the day. A study was done with women where half ate a normal breakfast and half were given a breakfast of 450 calories. Which group do you think lost the most weight? The ones who ate the largest breakfast lost more weight. So eat up in the AM. Make sure you are including a source of high quality protein like eggs, low-fat dairy or a protein supplement.


Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also eat water-rich fruits such as melon, grapes or oranges to help you feel satisfied throughout the day. Thirst is easily confused with hunger; so staying well-hydrated may prevent you from eating when you're not actually feeling true hunger. Remember to ask yourself “am I hot, am I hungry or am I thirsty”? Many times you are thirsty and not hungry, but most times we grab food instead of water thinking we are feeling a hunger.


Get enough sleep. Without even realizing it, we tend to eat more when we are tired; it's a way to "perk" ourselves up. While eating something high in carbohydrates will give you a burst of energy, it will soon fade away. Many of us reach for a coffee that may have many hidden calories, but it only “wakes” us up for a short time. Feeling well-rested may help keep that "afternoon slump" at bay and keep you away from the vending machine or your co-workers candy dish.


Eat on a regular schedule. Eating regularly will keep you from getting too hungry to stay in control of what - and how much - you eat. I call them planned eating events. If you plan meals, then there is nothing left to chance. You know what you will be eating and when. Based on your needs and recommendations of your bariatric program, this may mean incorporating healthful snacks or by eating several planned mini-meals instead of three large ones.


Eliminate your cravings by incorporating these types of ideas into your daily routine. Remember poor habits are tough to break but a great way to do it is by using new ideas. We believe you can do it, now it’s up to you to make it happen.