Happy New Year to you! I hope that 2017 finds you well.  We are kicking off the New Year with a series of messages designed to help you achieve your personal goals – whatever they may be.  Much focus will be given to weight management and other aspects of your physical health.  But, we will be including some great information for improving your life as a whole, such as strategies for better finances and healthier relationships.  As you’re reading these messages, please remember that your feedback is always welcome.  If you have a particular topic you’d like us to explore, just let us know by replying to any of our messages.  Enjoy the information below and keep an eye on your inbox for more new stuff in the days to come.

Are you a junk food junkie? Maybe you’ve never met a dessert you didn’t love, or maybe you prefer salty potato chips and fries like Co-Editor Karen does.  Either way, if you overindulge, you’re loading your body with calories while depriving it of real nutrition.  Junk food is fine in moderation and on special occasions, but what about those cravings that hit you at the most inconvenient times – or, worse, the cravings that just never seem to go away at all?  Improbable as it seems, they can be tamed.  Today you will learn five proven strategies for fending off junk food cravings.

Before reading on, learn how to lose fat while still eating the foods you love with The Fat Loss Factor. 

This is a really exciting short video that shows you it’s possible to lose fat quickly and safely – without having to resort to starving yourself on a crash diet.

Tip 1: Control blood sugar spikes and crashes

When we stuff ourselves with highly refined carbohydrates, which most junk food tends to be, our blood sugar rapidly climbs. Then, because our bodies process these carbs so quickly, we experience a blood sugar crash.  Low blood sugar increases hunger, urging us to go out and do it all over again.  To avoid this cycle, eat small but frequent meals throughout the day.  Never skip meals; recent studies have shown that dieters are more likely to binge on junk food if they haven’t eaten in several hours.  To really knock out cravings, combine a healthy fat with some protein and complex carbohydrates, like a tablespoon of peanut butter on whole grain bread. It will be more nutritious and more satisfying than the junk food your body is asking for.

Tip 2: Avoid artificial sweeteners and MSG

When we eat sweet-tasting foods, our bodies produce insulin, whether those sweet-tasting foods actually contain sugar or a sugar substitute. These findings were reported in the British Medical Journal, along with the result of eating foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners: deprived of the real sugar it was anticipating, the body experiences stronger sugar cravings at the next meal.  MSG (mono sodium glutamate) is a flavor-enhancer found in many prepared foods in grocery stores and at restaurants.  MSG has also been linked to incessant food cravings, including the infamous Chinese restaurant syndrome: you eat a huge meal only to feel hungry an hour later.  It should be noted that many Chinese restaurants now offer MSG-free foods.  But other foods, such as grated parmesan cheese and pre-made soups, can contain MSG too.  It’s almost impossible to cut artificial flavor enhancers out of your diet completely, but you can take steps to reduce the amount you consume.  Eat natural foods that you prepare yourself.  Don’t consume too many diet sodas.  Instead, hydrate with water or decaffeinated tea.  If you crave something sweet, go ahead and have real sugar in moderation.  If you give your body a little of what it wants, it’s less likely to make unhealthy demands at the next meal.

Tip 3: Learn to identify emotional eating triggers

Emotional eating is a real problem for millions of people. Some people use food as a way to find a sense of fulfillment.  Others use it to soothe themselves when they are in pain.  This can lead to frequent strong cravings for comfort food.  Kaiser Permanente just concluded a study on effective treatments for binge eating disorder.  They found that food journals are a key element.  By recording what they ate and why, binge eaters were able to identify the events and thought patterns that led to overeating.  These findings can be seen in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Tip 4: Cheat (but only a little)

If you find yourself demoralized by a craving that won’t go away, give yourself permission to indulge a little. In the long-run, it’s better to have that half-cup of ice cream than to keep denying yourself and obsessing over it.  Simply adjust your plan to include a little more exercise that day, or take away extra calories from another meal to compensate.  Even “The Biggest Loser” contestants are allowed a “cheat day” during which they can indulge a little bit.  This is also an important component of the Slow Carb Diet, which we will discuss later.

Tip 5: See your doctor

Constant cravings can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as diabetes. A quick and inexpensive blood sugar test will let you know if your blood glucose level falls within the normal range.  Diabetes is highly manageable when caught early so be sure to get screened if you have diabetic relatives, or if you experience increased hunger, thirst, or urination.  Junk food cravings can be significantly reduced by addressing the underlying health issues that sometimes cause them.

Make sure you don’t miss out on that important video about The Fat Loss Factor.


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