Cravings


Cravings!

Every human has them. We struggle with our inner self, listen to the brain telling you that it isn’t good for your health, or give in to the desire to satiate the craving. Is it worth jeopardizing my health? Will one slip really make any difference? I will do better tomorrow. Whether it is food, tobacco, or alcohol many find it tough not to give in to the cravings. Here is some research and popular tips which we all probably know, but need frequent reminders why not to give in, and how to overcome the cravings which set us back.

Craving Fatty Foods?

Recent research out of Canada shows a single junk food meal — composed mainly of saturated fat — is detrimental to the health of the arteries. A single meal — composed mainly of saturated fat — is detrimental to the health of the arteries, while no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The high saturated fat meal testing in the study consisted of a sandwich made of a sausage, an egg, and a slice of cheese, and three hash browns, for a total of 58% of total calories from fat: extremely rich in saturated fatty acids and containing no omega-3s. While no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to researchers at the University of Montreal-affiliated ÉPIC Center of the Montreal Heart Institute. The Mediterranean meal may even have a positive effect on the arteries.

Dr. Nigam and his team found that after eating the junk food meal, the arteries of the study participants dilated 24% less than they did when in the fasting state. In contrast, the arteries were found to dilate normally and maintain good blood flow after the Mediterranean-type meal.

“These results will positively alter how we eat on a daily basis.  Poor endothelial function is one of the most significant precursors of atherosclerosis. It is now something to think about at every meal,” Dr. Nigam said.

Have you got a sweet tooth? 

Try out these easy tips to overcome sugar cravings & to stop this vicious cycle…

1. Combine craving foods with healthy ones: Try to compensate for extra calories through sweets by double the amount of fiber rich low calorie options. E.g. Have a small portion of sweets with a bowl of raw salads! This ensures your huger going down & stops recurrence of cravings.

2. Look out for a fruit: Choose a fruit over sweets / chocolates. Fruits, along with sugars are also loaded with fibers, vitamins & minerals. Dry fruits like dates, raisins, dried figs etc. are some more options.

3. Go for a sugar-free chewing gum: Research has shown that chewing gum can reduce sugar cravings.

4. Space your meals evenly throughout the day: Keeping long gaps between two meals may lower down blood sugar levels & forces one to crave for sweet s which naturally provide immediate energy. Eating every 2-3 hourly helps keep blood sugar levels steady & automatically prevents sugar cravings.

5. Divert your mind from food: Take a short break & go for a walk or visit the library etc. Distracting yourself from eating sweets often works well.

6. Find & treat the root cause: Many times we turn to sweets when we are stressed out, bored or depressed.  Pointing out the exact cause & treating it is of utmost importance.

Craving Tobacco?

So here are 10 ways to help you resist the urge to smoke or use tobacco when a tobacco craving strikes, no matter where you are:

  1. Delay. If you feel like you’re going to give in to your tobacco craving, tell yourself that you must first wait 10 more minutes and then do something to distract yourself for that period of time. This simple trick may be enough to derail your tobacco craving. Repeat as often as needed.
  2. Don’t have ‘just one.’ You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can stop at just one. More often than not, having just one leads to another, then another — and you may wind up using tobacco again.
  3. Avoid triggers. Urges for tobacco are likely to be strongest in the situations where you smoked or chewed tobacco most often, such as at parties or bars, in the car or while watching television. Identify your trigger situations and have a plan in place so that you can avoid them entirely or get through them without using tobacco. Don’t set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you usually smoked while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to occupy yourself with doodling rather than smoking.
  4. Get physical. Physical activity can help distract you from tobacco cravings and reduce the intensity of cravings. Just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity can make a tobacco craving go away. Get out for a walk or jog. If you’re stuck at home or the office, try squats, deep knee bends, push-ups, running in place, or walking up and down a set of stairs a few times. If physical activity doesn’t interest you, try prayer, needlework, woodwork or journaling. Or do chores for distraction, such as vacuuming or filing paperwork.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques. In the past, smoking may have been your way to deal with stress. Trying to resist a tobacco craving can itself be stressful. Take the edge off stress by practicing relaxation techniques. These include deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, hypnosis and massage.
  6. Call reinforcements. Touch base with a family member, friend or support group member for moral support as you struggle to resist a tobacco craving. Chat on the phone, go for a walk together or simply share a few laughs — or get together to commiserate about your cravings.
  7. Remember the benefits of quitting. Write down or say out loud the reasons you want to stop smoking and resist tobacco cravings. These might include feeling better, getting healthier, sparing your loved ones from secondhand smoke or saving money. And if you’re a closet smoker, you may save hours of time since you no longer have to spend time trying to conceal your habit.
  8. Go online. Join an online stop-smoking program. Or read a quitter’s blog and post encouraging thoughts for someone else who might be struggling with tobacco cravings. Learn from how others have handled their tobacco cravings.
  9. Try nicotine replacements. Try a nicotine replacement product instead of a cigarette. Some types of nicotine replacement therapy, including patches, gums and lozenges, are available over-the-counter. Nicotine nasal spray and the nicotine inhaler are available by prescription, as are the stop-smoking medications bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).
  10. Chew on it. Give your mouth something to do to fight a tobacco craving. Chew on sugarless gum or hard candy. Or munch on raw carrots, celery, nuts or sunflower seeds — something crunchy and satisfying.

Remember, trying something to beat the urge is always better than doing nothing. And each time you resist a tobacco craving, you’re one step closer to being totally tobacco-free

Craving Alcohol?

Here is a brief overview of some of the methods taught to help manage drug or alcohol cravings, as recommended by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Distraction

Getting out of a situation of craving and distracting yourself with another activity is an excellent way to avoid succumbing to temptation.

Experts recommend that you make a list of activities that can distract you from a craving should the need arise (going bowling, taking the dog for a walk, doing the groceries etc.).

Many people attempt to manage cravings for a certain drug by using another drug, for example, a cocaine addict may use marijuana to help manage cocaine cravings. This is a very poor technique and too often leads to full relapse; and so having a list of better alternatives at the ready can help to minimize drug substitution behaviors.

Remembering Why You Don’t Use

During an intense craving, people fixate on a remembrance of the pleasures of alcohol use, forgetting temporarily the reasons why they stopped using in the first place. Reminding yourself why you chose to stop using during a period of craving can strengthen your resolve to wait it out.

Some therapists recommend that you in fact write down a list of good reasons for staying sober on an index card and keep that card on your person at all times. Then, during a tough moment of temptation, you can review your list and remember at that moment exactly why you need to stay strong.

For example

  • Worsening liver  and heart disease
  • Lose my relationships
  • Set back any healthy lifestyle changes I have made
  • I will can’t afford more health problems

Talking Through the Craving

Talking through an episode of craving as it happens can help you to manage the severity of it. Telling someone you trust about what you are going through at the moment of a craving can empower you and reduce some of the anxiety associated with struggling against temptation alone. Talking through the craving as it happens can also help you to better understand what specifically led to the feelings of temptation.

Letting Go – Feeling the Craving

Letting yourself experience a drug or alcohol craving in a very abstract and detached kind of way can greatly diminish the experienced intensity of the event.

Therapists counsel you to envision the craving as a wave that is going to wash over you, starting low, gaining in intensity, peaking and then subsiding. Instead of fighting the craving, as you normally would, when letting go you try to experience the craving as fully as possible.

Get into a comfortable and secure place, sit back and let yourself feel the craving.

Notice:

  • What does it feel like?
  • What do my feet feel like? My knees, my stomach,  my neck, etc…
  • How strong is the craving right now? Is it getting stronger or is it subsiding?
  • Can you describe the feeling of the craving in words?

In a paradoxical way, in concentrating on experiencing the craving fully you detach yourself from its influence. Many people find that this detached experiential method greatly reduces the intensity and even frequency of experienced cravings.

Reducing the Power of the Internal Voice

In most of us, feelings of craving unleash an internal voice that convinces us of the inevitability of use.

A craving might cause internal voice statements such as:

  • need a drink
  • I can’t fight this any longer

However, once we take an objective look at craving induced inner voice statements, we can see that they are not inherently true at all; and so we can learn to counter these statements with more accurate reflections of reality.

  • “I need a drink” becomes, “I may want a drink, but I don’t need a drink, and all feelings of craving will pass.”
  • “I can’t fight this any longer” becomes, “Cravings can be unpleasant and difficult, but they are only temporary, I will feel better in a minute, as long as I don’t drink or use.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121030062007.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nicotine-craving/SK00057

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