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BY DARYA ROSE
NOVEMBER 3, 2017
Most of us have experienced intense sugar cravings at one point in time — and we can all agree that once a sugar craving hits, it can be tough to ignore. Unfortunately, the key to reducing sugar cravings is actually eating less of the sweet stuff. While some may prefer to go cold turkey and completely stop consuming added sugar, many of us find this approach unrealistic and unsustainable in the long run.
For those wanting a less restrictive approach, here are three easy tips to reduce sugar cravings for good.
1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Dehydration often masks itself as hunger — particularly in the form of sugar cravings. This is because even mild dehydration can make it difficult for our body to tap into energy stores, particularly glycogen, the body’s main storage form for carbohydrates. When your body can’t access simple carbs quickly — especially after exercise — your cravings for them increase, often in the form of a sugar desire.
2. CUT BACK ON ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
A 2013 study at Yale University suggested the brain is not easily fooled by artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The study looked at a specific brain signal involved in choosing between real sugar and no- or low-calorie sweeteners — a signal that regulates dopamine levels which, in turn, mediates pleasure in the brain. Not surprisingly, the brain finds greater reward from real sugar than it does from artificial sweeteners. These findings suggest frequent consumption of artificially sweetened food and drinks, particularly when we’re hungry or overtired, may lead to greater future consumption of higher sugar- and calorie-laden alternatives as the brain seeks that reward.
Tips to Cut Out the Imposters:
3. GRADUALLY EASE UP ON SWEETS
Gradually reducing the amount of sugar you consume can be an effective approach in reducing cravings. It may take a bit longer to feel the difference, but when you gradually reduce sugar intake, you don’t endure the physical side effects and feelings of deprivation associated with cold-turkey withdrawal. Making just two or three of the following small changes can make a big difference in reducing sugar consumption and curbing cravings.
Ideas for Cutting Back:
Did this headline strike a nerve?
If so, you are not alone. I’ve been there. Confession: I’m actually close to there now as I managed to put on a few pounds this fall — and it hasn’t all been muscle. This time of year is especially tough for hitting weight-loss goals (read: holiday parties, hot chocolate, sweet potato pie and love handle-hiding puffy coats). Studies have shown Americans gain the most weight between Halloween and New Year’s adding about 0.7% to their frame on average.
For an average man weighing 195.7 pounds, that equates to 1.4 pounds (which is actually lower than I expected). So if you’re already above your goal weight, be realistic with yourself: Instead of focusing on trying to lose weight during the holidays, focus on not gaining additional weight. If you wind up dropping a few pounds with this mindset, great! Consider it icing on the cake.
When it comes to weight loss, maintenance is a victory in itself as it can sometimes be harder than losing in the first place. Here are some tried-and-true weight-maintenance tips I use during the holiday season:
1. ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT CAUSED YOU TO GAIN THE WEIGHT
Knowledge is power and the best way to prevent repeating past mistakes is to reflect on where you may have gone offtrack. Did you fail to prioritize your workouts? Did you start eating dinner later? Have you been snacking more than usual? Did you stop logging your food?
The key here is not to beat yourself up but use this reflection as an opportunity to make better decisions going forward.
READ MORE > WHAT THE FAFH? 5 KEYS TO EATING ON THE ROAD
2. MAKE YOUR HOME AND WORK A SAFE SPACE
In most cases, you’re in control of the food in your home, so get rid of potential landmines in the kitchen! My former trainer, Errick, always says, “If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”
So, if you know you have a propensity to snack on candy at night, keep it out of your kitchen. If you find yourself constantly raiding a coworker’s junk food jar (which was totally me at my last job!), then start bringing in healthy snacks to keep at your desk or in the communal snack area. I️ started bringing in clementines, Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix and dried seaweed. Bonus: Healthy habits are contagious, so your coworkers will probably appreciate it, too! Plus, if you have healthy food at home you can start meal prepping and bringing lunch to work or school, making it much easier to log your meals and stay on track.
3. GET MOVING (EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS)
It’s sounds super basic, but whenever you have the opportunity to add activity to your day, take it. Take the stairs, set up a walking meeting, go to the coffee shop that’s a couple blocks further and walk around the building (in the hallways or hit the streets) instead of spending 10 minutes on Instagram or Facebook at your desk. Schedule workouts on your calendar so they don’t fall by the wayside. The holidays are NOT the time to stop exercising altogether.
Next time you are watching “This Is Us” (Beth and Randall are #CoupleGoals) or any TV show, do some pushups or crunches. The workout will go by faster because you’ll be distracted and it will also prevent you from wanting to snack.
5. GO INTO HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES WITH A GAME PLAN
Be proactive in prepping for holiday festivities by scheduling a morning workout, hydrating throughout the day and eating filling, high-fiber foods during the day so you don’t do a face-dive into the holiday spread when you arrive.
Something I always do is grab a healthy snack before I head to a party. (Did you know a single apple has 5 grams of fiber?) I’ve even been known to Uber to a party while eating an apple in the backseat because I knew there’d be temptations like pizza and chocolate cake. Being proactive with a game plan can help keep you in control.
And remember, the holidays should be fun! They often come with travel, food and family, so don’t forget to enjoy this time … but they can be a tough time to focus on losing weight, so if you find yourself starting at a disadvantage, shift your focus to maintenance mode, which sets you up for less frustration and more success.
How do you stay on track (or get back on track) during the holiday season?
Start with these simple day-by-day changes to your daily routine to lose belly fat in just 2 weeks!
Remember what Halloween used to be like? Plastic, jack-o-lantern buckets filled with candy, candy, and still more candy. Today, with nutrition experts warning against too much added sugar, all those fun-sized treats are now frowned upon. What are kids to do? What are parents supposed to do? Bring back the fun—and still keep things healthy—with these homemade Halloween snack ideas.
1. MAKE JACK-O-LANTERN SNACKS AND MEALS
To make every day foods more festive, think like a pumpkin and start carving. Try cutting spooky faces into oranges for a fun lunch box snack. Or carve orange peppers before stuffing them with Mexican-spiced beans and rice, and bake them for dinner. A great party trick: Arrange carrots in the shape of a jack-o-lantern, with olives or cucumbers for a smile, and small cups of hummus dip for eyes.
2. SERVE CANDY CORN FRUIT PARFAITS
Candy corn is delicious, but it’s not healthy—and it certainly doesn’t help kids learn about healthy foods. Make a candy corn-themed parfait instead. Fill a glass with a layer of tangerines, then a layer of pineapple, and top it with a dollop of whipped cream or coconut cream. Finish it off with an actual piece of candy corn for effect.
3. SCARE UP SOME TRAIL MIX
Combine chopped chocolate chips, raw coconut flakes, and almonds, and portion the mixture out into small containers for your kids. It’s a decadent treat without excess sugar or preservatives—I promise, your kids won’t miss those mini candy bars.
4. ENJOY FROZEN BOO-NANAS
Cut bananas in half and add a popsicle stick at the bottom. Take a few chocolate chips and pop them into the banana halves to create eyes and mouths. Then, freeze them for a delicious, spooky dessert.
5. TRY SPOOKY MONSTER GRILLS
My favorite Halloween snack? These Monster Grills, pictured above. They’re healthy, silly, and perfect for kids. I love munching on them after a run for a boost of healthy protein and carbs. Here’s the recipe:
Slice apples into 12 equal pieces, and separate into 6 pairs. Spoon ½ tablespoon peanut butter onto each slice.
Chop peanuts in half, and line half the apples with peanut halves. Place raisins at random intervals between peanuts.
Top off with other apple half and serve.
Serves: 6 | Serving Size: one Monster Grill
Per serving: Calories: 244; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 10mg; Total Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 8g
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A: 1%; Vitamin C: 7%; Calcium: 3%; Iron: 5%
I’ve written about how to get started exercising regularly. Today I’m expanding on that post with some more details about daily changes you can do to turn it into reality. You may never have worked out or stopped or slowed down because of other commitments. Maybe you’ve had a health setback, or you just worked out because […]
Eggs are a top-logged food for a reason. High in protein and supremely versatile, eggs aren’t just for breakfast. These simple, quick egg dishes are ready in minutes and a great way to start, or end, your day.
1. SOY SAUCE AND GREEN ONION SCRAMBLED EGGS | BOWL OF DELICIOUS
With a total preparation time of 5 minutes, this recipe is a no-brainer. Using low-sodium soy sauce adds flavor without unnecessary additional sodium. Recipe makes 2 servings at 2 eggs each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 218; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 372mg; Sodium: 374mg; Carbohydrate: 3g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 14g
2. BREAKFAST EGG CUP | HELLO GLOW
Eggs, bacon and vegetables offer everything you want in a meal without the hassle. Add the ingredients together in an oven-safe container, then bake while you get ready. Recipe makes 2 servings at 2 eggs each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 244; Total Fat: 18g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 377mg; Sodium: 374mg; Carbohydrate: 5g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 15g
3. CHEESY ZUCCHINI QUINOA EGG MUFFINS | SPOONFUL OF FLAVOR
This simple recipe can be prepped in advance and frozen for those moments when you don’t have time to cook. Recipe makes 10 servings at 1 muffin each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 70; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 76mg; Sodium: 174mg; Carbohydrate: 6g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 6g
4. 5-MINUTE SALTY-SWEET BREAKFAST | IOWA GIRL EATS
Use the last of your summer peaches in this sweet-and-savory egg dish. Ready in 5 minutes and providing 6 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein, this is an ideal post-workout meal. Recipe makes 1 serving at 1 egg each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 225; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 179mg; Sodium: 287mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 12g
5. SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH MATCHA AND LIME | A COUPLE COOKS
Matcha is making headlines as an energy-boosting superfood, so why not add it to your eggs? Its subtle flavor is brightened by a splash of lime for an easy scramble featuring 13 grams of protein. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 eggs each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 168; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 377mg; Sodium: 443mg; Carbohydrate: 3g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 13g
6. EGG WHITE SCRAMBLE | I FOOD REAL
Egg whites are a good way to increase your protein since more than half of the protein comes from the white. This scramble comes in at less than 150 calories per serving and packs a generous 17 grams of protein. Recipe makes 2 servings at 3 egg whites each.
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 127; Total Fat: 1g; Saturated Fat: g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 300mg; Carbohydrate: 11g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 17g
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Kimmey, 30, was floored.
“I was wondering where that even came from since we don’t do that in our house,” the mom from Cocoa Beach, Florida, told TODAY Style. “I also didn’t want to perpetuate the idea that using the word fat was an insult. So I asked her to meet me upstairs so I could have a few minutes to gather my thoughts before I reacted.”
Cambelle felt bad about what she said and quickly apologized, but Kimmey still used the incident as a learning opportunity for both Cambelle and her 6-year-old son, Graham.
“The truth is, I am not fat. No one IS fat. It’s not something you can BE,” Kimmey told her kids, according to an Instagram post she wrote later about the conversation. “But I do HAVE fat. We ALL have fat. It protects our muscles and our bones and keeps our bodies going by providing us energy.”
Kimmey, who is currently writing a children’s book about body positivity, also told her kids that everyone has different amounts of fat, “but that doesn’t mean that one person is better than the other.”
The kids seemed to absorb their mom’s message. Kimmey wrote on Instagram that they repeated it back to her. “I shouldn’t say someone is fat because you can’t be just fat,” they told her, “but everyone HAS fat and it’s okay to have different fat.”
The mom of two hopes that her post will remind other parents to model body-positive language and behavior for their own kids.
“I want parents to see that we are the loudest voices our children should hear, regardless of any outside noise,” she told TODAY Style. “It is vital that we choose our words carefully and that we are willing to have these hard conversations.”
Kimmey says these conversations should start early, because children are bombarded with unrealistic beauty standards from a very young age. Her daughter’s use of the word “fat” as an insult was the perfect example.
“Since we don’t call people fat as an insult in my household, I have to assume she internalized this idea from somewhere or someone else,” she wrote on Instagram. “Our children are fed ideas from every angle, you have to understand that that WILL happen: at a friend’s house whose parents have different values, watching a TV show or movie, overhearing someone at school—ideas about body image are already filtering through their minds. It is our job to continue to be the loudest, most accepting, positive and CONSISTENT voice they hear.”
Kimmey also shared how she models body positivity in her own home.
“I show them the way by being happy in my own skin,” she told TODAY Style. “We don’t talk about health in terms of numbers or pounds. And we consistently focus on finding our joy and living in kindness.”