Food Cravings; lack of willpower – or something else…

What determines your weight…

Calories are how we measure one basic unit of energy which is found in all foods that we eat and are necessary to maintain the vital functions of the body as well as the metabolic rate. We don’t all need the same number of calories per day, our age, gender, activity levels and muscle mass dictate our ideal calorie intake. It is equally as essential that we don’t consume too few calories, as too many. When we don’t burn the calories, they turn to fat which is stored for when it is needed.

Calories consumed and calories burned are the key to weight loss regardless of what weight you are. If we consume calories and don’t burn calories, we will put weight on, and keep on doing so. It is important therefore, that you know how many calories you are consuming and how to consume less and still eat enough. It is equally important that you know how to burn the calories, how many you’re burning now, and how to increase that so that you are able to burn more calories than you are eating and therefore, lose weight.

It is common these days to buy fast food or convenience foods and let’s face it, they do make our busy life easier, but these are foods that hike up your calorie intake to where one meal uses up your calorie intake for the entire day! For example for one meal from McDonald’s check this out:

                                                                        Calories   Fat   Sodium
Fast-food big-burger                                      563       33g     1.01g
A medium-sized french-fries                       384       20g
A medium-sized vanilla shake                   733        21g
Total        1,680       74g

More than the recommended daily calorie intake (2079 for a woman and 2605 for a man according to governmental guidlines for the UK), in one meal! Way more than the recommended levels of fat, and half of the recommended sodium intake for the entire day in just one item! Whereas, for the same amount of calories or less, you could have:

Breakfast: 220 calories

1 large scrambled egg                                   102  
1 slice toast                                                          66
Butter (teaspoon)                                               50
Black coffee                                                            2

Lunch: 345 calories

Cheddar Cheese (1 slice)                               113
2 slices of bread                                               132
Butter (teaspoon)                                              50
Cucumber 0 (negative calories)
Lettuce 0 (negative calories)

Dinner: 370 calories

3oz a roasted chicken breast                       142 
Medium-sized baked white potato             161
Half a cup of green peas                                 67
Cauliflower 0 (negative calories)
Carrots 0 (negative calories)

If you like to snack during the day too then the following foods have egative calories (negative calories means that they burn more calories in digestion than they contain) so you can actually eat as much as you like.

Snacks: (all negative calories) eat as much as you like!

Zucchini (courgette)
Hot Chili Peppers

DO NOT limit your diet to the negative calorie foods as you would suffer from malnutrition. It is imperative that your diet is healthy and covers all of the nutrition that you need.

The above example of  ‘a day in the life ‘ gives you 885 calories, leaving room for extras you may need such as milk in your tea or cereal etc. Or a treat if you wish to have it, such as perhaps 4 ounces of vanilla ice cream for 145 calories and 5 ounces of red wine for 123 calories, or a jelly doughnut for 289 calories! You decide!

The point is that you can have a healthy diet that does not leave you hungry, and still keep within your ideal calorie quota for the day. With all of the negative calorie foods to snack on, you need not go hungry at all! You can be in control by working out your menu for the week and sticking to it. Be sure that you have lots of fruits – perhaps fruit salads – as snacks, and lots of the negative veg with dinner/lunch. Don’t plan in a naughty but nice (can work against you by kicking off a craving) but if you find that you have some spare calories, and you really have to have it, go for it.

You will also find your fat intake drops considerably. But just to help you along, here is the recommended fat intake per day against calories.

Calories              saturated fat grams       total fat in grams

1,600                                  18 or less                        53
2,000                                  20 or less                       65
2,200                                  24 or less                       73
2,500                                  25 or less                        80
2,800                                  31 or less                        93

These figures are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

But what about the cravings…help!

Our body converts digestible carbohydrates into blood sugar (glucose), or our main source of energy. Our blood sugar level will affect how hungry and how energetic we feel. Both are important factors.

We create a cycle of craving in the body when we eat refined foods such as grains (cereals) that not only have had most of their fibre stripped away but also have had sugar added, or other carbohydrate-rich foods; they are quickly processed in to blood sugar. This creates a problem for our pancreas which has to work much faster to produce the insulin needed to transport the blood sugar to the cells for use as energy. The result of this is an insulin surge which tells our body there is plenty of energy available hence the body begins to store the fat instead of using it as the source of energy. The bigger problem here is that the insulin surge causes too much blood sugar to be transported to our cells and so results in our blood sugar and insulin levels falling below normal – and that is when we feel tired and hungry and want to eat more; more foods with high sugar content which when we consume, starts this cycle all over again. As you can see, the more this cycle continues the more fat the body is storing. It believes it does not need to convert the fat into energy as it would normally were we to eat a healthy, nutritious diet.

So, how could we break the cycle?

Chromium picolinate is an essential mineral that plays a role in how insulin helps the body regulate blood sugar levels and when your levels are as they should be, your body is not telling you it has eat more and more and more….

Good chromium food sources include whole grain breads and cereals, lean meats, cheeses, and some spices, such as black pepper and thyme. You can also support your diet with chromium supplements especially if you are intolerant to wheat and dairy…you may also find that due to previous eating habits, you are deficient in chromium. You may want to supplement your diet with a good multivitamin and mineral formula as well as your calcium and magnesium supplement with a good, high absorbency formula. Vitamin B complex formula could also be useful.

I you are not a person who eats breakfast, then try G&G’s Organic EssentialFood with only 69 calories per 20g scoop, it is packed full of great nutrition to get you off to a good start for the day, just add it to your juice or smoothie!

And remember one vital point – drink at least 2 litres of water per day! If you feel a hunger pang, try a good drink of water first as often times when we are dehydrated it can manifest as hunger – a good drink of water could well fit the bill!

Now that you have dropped your calorie intake to the ideal levels and have your cravings under control,  exercise can come in to the play and that is the subject of our next blog; which exercises burn how many calories and will include housework, walking the dog and all the things you do that you don’t really thing about – they all count! How much exercise do you need to do to lose weight? Work out what exercise you will need to do to burn off the calories necessary to lose your 2lbs per week.

Until then, think healthy – eat well!

Nancy Grier
G&G Vitamins                                                              

2 responses to “Food Cravings; lack of willpower – or something else…

  1. The One And Only

    wow! Very informative, ver helpful article! I am off to share with my friends now! 🙂


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