To eat better, relax. As your serenity rises, your cravings will fall.
Does it ever feel like there is a little creature on your shoulder, steering you toward sweets and other nutrient-bankrupt snacks? Food cravings can hijack your better judgment. Instead of doubling down on willpower, which usually tends to backfire, try making stress management as routine as brushing your teeth.
While severe, acute stress can cause you to lose your appetite, the day-in-and-out variety of low-grade stress can do the opposite. Chronic stress amps up levels of a hormone called cortisol, which supercharges your appetite for sugar, other stripped carbohydrates and fats!
Research suggests that the practice of relaxation-based strategies, including mindfulness meditation, can reduce emotional eating. Incorporate a practice that works for you, whether that’s a sitting meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer or breathing exercises. And keep in mind that many packaged desserts and snacks are engineered to be irresistible (those food scientists know exactly what they’re doing!).
In your cupboards and fridge, replace packaged goods with vegetables (especially fresh or frozen), fruit (especially fresh or dried), legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, fish and other nourishing whole foods. Besides that, they are brimming with nutrients, whole foods help to balance your blood sugar, which in turn helps to reduce cravings.