APPETITE, CRAVINGS AND METABOLISM
Weight loss is a life-long struggle for many people. We are faced with a baffling array of slimming programmes, foods and information from the media, which can make it even harder to know the “right way to lose weight”.
However, achieving weight loss, appetite control, the management of cravings and a healthy metabolism needn’t be confusing. In fact, it is actually very simple - once you have the facts.
Learning more about how your body works, how it reacts to foods and being able to identify “fad diets” and other ineffective short-term measures is the key. After all, knowledge is power.
Appetite and cravings
The key to healthy and long-term weight management is through a balanced diet, regular exercise and an all-round healthy lifestyle. Despite what many companies will tell you, there are no “quick fixes”. This is why so many people fail to lose weight through fad diets or, even if they do, they don’t keep it off for long.
The good news is, a “balanced diet” does not mean living on lettuce and suppressing your appetite. Indeed, variety and moderation are key. It is not about having an unrealistically limited diet or drastically reduced calorie intake, but rather about eating the right things at the right time to activate your metabolism and ensure maximum nutrient absorption. You can still enjoy “treats”, now and again.
Controlling a large appetite and cravings can be a real challenge for those trying to lose weight, particularly in the early stages. However, the likelihood is that both of these issues will resolve themselves the healthier you become, because:
1. “Junk foods” are often short on nutritional content, which leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied after eating them. This, in turn, causes you to continue snacking even after you have eaten your main meals. In contrast, nutritious foods (such as lean meats, fish, fruit and vegetables) supply your body with the nutrients it needs, leaving you with a feeling of satiety and fullness, meaning you are less likely to snack or binge.
2. Cravings tend to be caused by an imbalance in the body, whether related to lack of nutrients or some other factor (see food allergies below). Most people find that as they become healthier and supply their bodies with the full spectrum of nutrients they need, their cravings reduce significantly, if not completely disappear.
Although there are no short-cuts to reaching your ideal weight, promoting a healthy appetite, eliminating cravings and boosting your metabolism, many people turn to health supplements (in conjunction with their balanced diet) for added support.
For example, for slimmers on reduced calories or on a restricted food choice diet, it is important to ensure that your body is still accessing a broad spectrum of nutrients daily. One way this can be achieved, without jeopardising your weight loss, is by using meal shakes or protein powders that are naturally low in fat, high in fibre, sugar, dairy and gluten free and nutrients-fortified.
Food allergies and cravings
If you have tried to lose weight without success, it may be worth considering the possibility of hidden food allergies or intolerances.
Many people find that eliminating allergens from their diet is the missing key to weight loss. The reason for this is linked to food cravings - in many cases, the foods that people crave are also (rather ironically) the foods that they are allergic or have an intolerance / sensitivity to.
Food allergies can result in physical imbalances, such as digestive disorders and cravings. As a result of the cravings associated with food allergies, there is a tendency in those suffering with them to overeat and gain weight. By contrast, those who are already underweight may experience the opposite effect as a result of food allergies, i.e. making it difficult for them to gain weight.
Both overweight and underweight individuals often find that it is significantly easier to reach and maintain their ideal weight once their food allergies have been properly addressed through nutrition (a well-balanced diet) and appropriate lifestyle changes.
It is worth bearing in mind that, of course, many factors can contribute to being overweight. Eliminating food allergens does not stimulate weight loss in everybody, but it works for many people as an effective weight management tool.