How to handle food cravings for junk food
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Lauri struggled with sweet cravings for candy, cookies and just about anything chocolate. After returning home from a long day of work at a job she found draining and unrewarding, she was particularly prone to binging on these foods.

She tried different strategies to stop eating them, including removing them completely and treating them like a drug she could not have, or only eating them on the weekend and not during the week. These worked for a while, until willpower failed and she binged again, leaving her further deflated with shame and guilt.

To overcome this issue, Lauri had to tackle the physical and emotional reasons for it. She worked with a clinical psychologist to work through the core belief systems she had about her life and her future.

After all, how you eat is related to how you feel.

This, combined with our nutrition counseling meetings, helped map out an eating plan that allowed Lauri to gain control of her eating.

Lauri learned that her save-now-binge-later mindset only set her up to feel hopeless and out of control. When, instead, she allowed herself enough calories and carbohydrates to feed her brain during the workday, she arrived home in a physically nourished state. She also learned to provide herself with permission to truly enjoy the taste of sweets rather than using them to stuff down anger and sadness.

Whether you are struggling with binging or are simply wondering how best to manage cravings for junk food, you have choices.

1. Eat the junk food now (it’s better to address a food craving head on and finish all the junk food you have in the house right away).

2. Don’t eat the junk food (avoid eating junk food at all cost, since once you start it is hard to stop).

3. Don’t eat the junk food now, but you can have it later (you don’t believe in denial, but should wait and see if this is a true craving or an impulsive or emotional decision).

If you answered number three, you might be correct. Recent preliminary findings by assistant professor Nicole Mead from Catolica Lisbon School of Business and Economics in Portugal found that postponing a craving for chocolate candies to a later time decreased the desire for them. What’s more, it helped decrease how much was eaten over the course of a week.

The researchers repeated this study with high school students and potato chips.

They found that students in the first group, who were told to eat the chips whenever they wanted, had them four times that week. Those in the second group, who were told not to eat the chips, ate them 4.5 times that week. Those in the third group, who were told to postpone chip eating until later, ate the least amount of chips at 2.4 times that week.

Why does delaying junk food shrink how much we eat? Researchers suspect that giving yourself time provides a cooling-off period that lets you sort out the debate of all-or-nothing eating. They also suspect that making a vague postponement claim rather than setting a specific time to eat the junk food later is probably better.

If you struggle with overeating sweet or savoury foods, the next time you feel a craving coming on, instead of saying “I will have this later at 7 p.m.,” choose instead to say “I will have this later if I want it.”

When it comes to eating soulful foods chosen for fun and taste rather than health, you may have thought there were only two choices: all or none. Remember there is a third choice that is likely best: later if I want.

Three nutrition keys to help manage food cravings

1. Start the day off right. Breakfast sets the stage for how the rest of your day will go. If you are overeating later in the day, one of the first questions to ask yourself is “Is my breakfast as big as my supper?” If not, perhaps you need to shift the timing of when you are eating for when you need it.

2. KISS (Keep Ingesting Something, Silly). You need to eat something every three to five hours to keep your energy up and to avoid getting too hungry and overeating.

3. Find satisfaction. Somewhere between feeling starved and stuffed after a meal indicates you have eaten enough food to feel full and satisfied. If you stop eating because you think you should rather than because you’ve truly had enough, you can bet you will be looking for food again soon.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

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I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
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Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
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I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
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ARC Resources Ltd.

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