Food cravings can be persistent and hard to ignore. Menopause may increase the frequency of these cravings due to high amounts of stress and hormonal changes, both of which can trigger an overwhelming urge to eat unhealthy foods.
However, there are ways for you to satisfy your taste buds without constantly feeling guilty about eating a whole tub of Ben & Jerry's. Read these tips and find out how to curb your food craving and beat weight gain without sacrificing your happiness.
How to Win the Battle
Indulge a Little
Have you ever heard that just one bite is enough to satisfy a craving? Well, it's true. Usually, our desire to eat a specific food (say, a red velvet cupcake) can be satisfied with just one bite. The key is to savor not only the flavor but the entire experience. This is because enjoying food is tied to other senses aside from taste buds. Take the time to enjoy the aroma and the texture of that food as well as the taste. Most times, this will put your craving on the back burner so that you can move on.
Keep Yourself Occupied
For some people, having just a taste is moving into dangerous territory. If you fear you won't have the will power to stop once you start, try to distract yourself from food altogether. Go for a walk, or if you're working at your desk, go visit a colleague for a brief chat. Standing still will only intensify your craving. Also, it helps to not make the kitchen table the center of activity if you're not eating. Don't try to work on projects in the kitchen as being in close proximity to the fridge and pantry can lead your mind to food.
One of the best ways to stop eating unhealthy foods is to limit your access to them. Don't buy potato chips, snacks, cakes, and other high-fat, high-sugar foods at the grocery store, and you won't have to worry about giving in and eating them later. Try not to go to the supermarket when you're hungry.
Don't Get Your Wires Crossed
Our sense of thirst and our sense of hunger can be easily confused, so make sure you stay hydrated. You may be snacking when what your body really wants and needs is water. Remember, a hot drink like green tea will also count towards your water intake for the day and is lower in caffeine than black tea or coffee.
Hit the Sack
If you're hit by cravings at home, another route you could take would be to nap. Since stress and fatigue can both set off cravings, clearing your mind with a nap could help stop you in your tracks before you do something destructive to your diet.
Some of your favorite flavors don't have to be fat-filled and calorie-laden. Look for a cookbook that has healthy substitutions for some of the most indulgent snacks. For lemon meringue pie, for instance, you could eat a graham cracker covered in lemon curd. You could also opt for a lightly-salted baked potato instead of french fries or potato chips. These options are lower in calories and fat, yet they still satisfy your taste for something delicious.
More Information about Menopause
Several menopause symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, and anxiety could intensify your food cravings. Click on the following link to learn more about the different weight gain treatments.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007