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Food Cravings. How do I stop them?

One major struggle that women have is food cravings.

UGH! I know. It’s so frustrating to *want* to eat healthily but have food cravings pop up in the afternoon or evening when your willpower is at its lowest.

As you can imagine, I receive many emails asking the following question:

Q: How do I stop food cravings?

A: Besides eating for fat loss and making good lifestyle choices (like sleeping enough and de-stressing), there 2 primary supplements that I use to control or stop food cravings. Supplementation is rarely my recommendation, but when food cravings are a huge issue, these supplements are worth a try!

At the end of this post, I’ll give a few secondary ways to stop food cravings as well.

  1. Stop food cravings with BCAAs

BCAAs are branched chain amino acids.

Simply speaking they are broken-down protein molecules.

Usually, BCAAs are purchased in powder form and added to water. They can be used for multiple purposes.

Many people use BCAAs when working out fasted. The purpose for this is to provide the body with amino acids so that muscle tissue is preserved. When you workout, muscle tissue can be burned ALONG with fat. BCAAs help to preserve muscle tissue without having to eat protein prior to your workout.

BCAAs can also provide the body with energy similar to ingesting carbs but without the insulin response. This is another benefit to drinking them prior to working out fasted. BCAAs are also great for muscle retention and muscle gain, particularly in the post workout window.  This is why most all commercial protein powders include BCAAs in them.

Note that if you are eating a protein packed meal after your workout, you do not need to also supplement with BCAAs at that post workout time period.

BCAAs have been clinically shown to balance blood sugar (glucose) which makes them an excellent hunger and craving suppressant. Given the fact that fat loss often (not always) requires a lower carb intake than people are used to, BCAAs can become your best friend for achieving leanness. They can help in regulating hunger and cravings by supplying the brain with the energy it needs.

BCAAs can also lower cortisol. These lower levels will offer the overlapping ability to suppress your stress induced cravings.

Dosage is 5-10 grams pre (fasted) workout. If you are taking them to suppress hunger and cravings, 5 grams is a good dose.

My personal experience:

Although I’m personally a huge fan of getting all of my nutrition without supplementation, BCAAs is one of my exceptions. Most days, I work out fasted first thing in the morning. Working out fasted is good for fat loss, but can cause muscle loss as well. Having more muscle is great for fat loss. BCAAs can provide the best of both worlds and allow me to workout fasted without the loss of hard-earned muscle. I also use them successfully for my own cravings. When clients report having cravings, this is one proven way I can recommend that regulate body functions that fight those cravings.

Here are 3 of the name brands that I have used that taste great!

  1. Momsanity BCAAs are my top choice. It has all natural ingredients, perfect ratios of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and has a nice fruit punch flavor. This one is my top pick because of the ingredients and ratios of the BCAAs plus it mixes well in my water bottle! I featured this product in a blog post on the benefits of BCAAs for women.
  2. The MRM Reload is watermelon flavored. It is sweetened with stevia and xylitol which I prefer over artificial sweeteners. It stirs well with a spoon. They make a version sweetened with artificial sweeteners, so be sure to check the label in the picture before purchasing. The one I have linked was the correct version at the time of this blog post. 🙂
  3. The Scivation Xtend needs a little shaking to get it mixed well. It’s sweetened with sucralose (same as Splenda) and can cause some people GI issue (mainly gas and bloating) if used often. It’s very tasty in the green apple flavor (think: Jolly Rancher).
The science:

If you’re interested in the science behind BCAAs, here is a great article from Metabolic Effect which is where I received my nutrition coaching certifications as well as one of my personal training certifications.

2. Stop food cravings with 100% cocoa powder

Obviously, if you can get a handle on food cravings, you are less likely to grab that unhealthy food that’s calling your name. Consuming baking cocoa will also release serotonin in the brain causing you to feel happy and euphoric. 🙂 As a bonus, it has almost no calories, it’s high in fiber, and it contains compounds that blunt hunger and reduce cravings. Through research studies, it has been shown to lower blood pressure and balance blood sugar. Good stuff for the fat loss lifestyle!! Check out this blog post about cocoa by Metabolic Effect if you are interested in reading more.

Here is a way to incorporate cocoa into your daily fat-loss lifestyle. Grab a mug of this yummy drink as an after dinner treat or to curb an afternoon craving!

Hot Cocoa Drink

Ingredients:

  1. Hot Water
  2. 1-2 Tbsp of 100% baking cocoa
  3. Stevia to taste
  4. Optional: add a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne pepper to the drink, add a splash of almond milk, or even flavored stevia drops (like Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops English Toffee), add coffee to make it a mocha.

Directions: Heat a mug of water. Stir in a 1-2 Tbsp of 100% cocoa. Sweeten w/ stevia or Truvia to taste (approximately 3 packets but depends on your preferences). Enjoy!

Another pre-mixed option is Metabolic Effect’s Craving Cocoa. It has excellent reviews from many followers of Metabolic Effect!

food cravings

Additional Ways to Stop Food Cravings

  • Eat small amounts of protein regularly
  • Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep
  • Add flavor to water (lemon, lime, Vitamin Water Zero)
  • Unsweetened almond milk with cinnamon sprinkled on top
  • Drink hot tea
  • Chew gum
  • Brush your teeth
  • Eat a pickle
  • Have a piece of lower sugar fruit (sweet craving)
  • Have celery with peanut butter (crunchy craving)
  • Make an effort to avoid things that you KNOW trigger temptation and cravings
  • Go outside —> Get busy.
  • Give it time to pass
  • Know that success breeds success. Giving in will sabotage success.
  • Assure yourself that it WILL get easier the more you succeed!!!

Have you tried any of these methods? If so, comment below with what works best for you!

xo -Jill

p.s. If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter to receive a free copy of my Lean Lifestyle Guide for Busy Women. The included meal plan is designed to help balance out your hunger, energy, and cravings. I know you’ll enjoy the guide!
p.p.s. For more “Q&A” style blog posts, click here. http://jilljacobs.me/category/qa/

Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Your pricing does not go up, but if you register through my link I get a bit for referring you. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

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5 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    If I use the MRM reload to drink in the morning on the way to the gym, what are your recommendations to eat for breakfast after the workout? Your article says not to use BCAA if you are going to eat a protein packed meal post workout.

    Reply

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  1. […] to my coffee or with just plain hot water to make a mocha or hot chocolate. This is great for craving control! I add it to plain Greek yogurt with stevia to make “pudding,” and I’ve even […]

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