Time for my weekly check-in for the Get Off Your Broom challenge; which I would link to on Serenity's blog, but with the issues with commenting I keep having on embedded comment forms, and the word verification accessability issues... Well, we've been through this before. But, for any new readers, if either of those things causes issues with me commenting on your blog, then that will explain the lack of comments from me. I will do my best to comment on the blogs I can of my fellow Get Off Your Broom challenge members though; just bare with me people, and remember... Word verification is an issue for even sighted people, and nothing but a cause of headaches and frustration for the blind blogging community! Just saying!
This past week, Serenity set us the challenge of learning about food cravings and deciding if we should give in to them or just try and ignore them.
So, what are food cravings?
According to this article on Wise Geek:
"Food cravings are intense yearnings for a certain type of food. Sweet or salty
foods are common food cravings as are protein foods such as meat or cheese. Most food cravings are thought to be caused by hormones, fluctuations in blood sugar levels, emotional and psychological reasons or sometimes by nutritional deficiencies."
The article goes on to say that:
"We do not always crave foods that are good for us. Stress, depression and a lack of sleep can cause "junk" food cravings. We sometimes may turn to "comfort foods" that we associate with pleasant feelings and overeat these foods when we are stressed, depressed or tired. Food cravings for quick sugar energy, alcohol or foods or drinks containing caffeine or carbohydrates are common when we are tired and want to feel energized.
Fluctuation in blood sugar levels may cause food cravings. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can be caused from not getting enough calories or not eating at regular intervals. Hypoglycemia's affect on the body can be food cravings as the body feels as though it is starving.
Food cravings tend to lessen if we eat regular balanced meals and get all the vitamins and minerals that we need in our diets. Exercise may also help control food cravings by keeping the body in a more relaxed and fit state. Regular exercise has been shown to increase endorphins in the blood and this often leads to a feeling of well being and lowered tension in the body."
In other words, cravings are our body's way of telling us something is lacking from our diet. For example - as mentioned in the article I've taken quotes from above:
"Some nutrition experts state that some food cravings for chocolate may be a sign of a B vitamin deficiency."
So, what does this all mean?
It means that, in my opinion, you shouldn't ignore food cravings, but should try to take the following steps when cravings occur:
1. Think about why you could be having the craving; are you tired and in need of energy? Are you bored? Are you feeling overly emotional?
2. Think of alternative ways you can deal with the craving; would a substitute food item work? Do you just need to find something else to occupy yourself for a bit?
As an example:
You have dinner at 5:00 pm, and about 6:00 pm you're craving some chocolate. Ask yourself what you had for dinner. Let's say it was a full roast dinner; meat (or meat substitute) with roast potatoes and a variety of mixed vegetables. Chances are you covered the main vitamins in there, so you probably don't need the chocolate for that. And chances are the dinner was nice and filling, so you aren't just hungry. This means you're probably just bored. The result? Go and find something to do, and see how you feel in an hour or two. It's quite likely that if you find something to do then you'll forget about your chocolate craving anyway.
Say you had breakfast at 7:00 am, and it's now 10:00 am. You had a bad night, and you're tired, and now you're craving something sweet, and desperate for some coffee. Alright. It's been a few hours since breakfast, and you need something for energy, so what can you have? How about a nice fruit smoothie? Make sure it's full of berries, which are naturally sweet, full of all sorts of vitamins and such, and they'll help to give you the energy to make it through the rest of the morning.
See what I'm saying here?
It's all about eating regularly, evaluating whether a craving is valid or should be ignored, and trying to act on it in the best way you can while also trying to eat healthily.
Of course, I'm sure you'll agree that this is all easier said than done (and I'm personally rubbish at it; when I'm craving chocolate I usually have some). That's the theory of how things should go though, I think.
OK, on to the review of how this week has been for me:
I've done really well with eating. I did make some cookies on Wednesday, and - I admit it - I ate a couple. But I'm still impressed with my eating this week. Why? Because I'm doing a lot better than I expected to. I've had homemade meals all week (as you'll see if you read yesterday's post, I even made my own bread) and they've been "proper" meals (no microwave meals, no chips and, etc). Plus, I only had a couple of the cookies, and only took them one at a time. In fact, there are still some left, and I only made a small batch (I think there ended up being about 18 cookies). Besides, I did say the goal here was to learn moderation and not to diet, which means there's nothing wrong with me having the cookies, because I had them in moderation; only 1 at a time, and I only ate 2 each day, despite passing the cookie plate every time I went in the kitchen. So, I think that was pretty good! Also, I didn't snack much between meals, because I was so busy; I'm trying to break the habit with smaller regular meals anyway. But - as I said last week - I'm a boredom and comfort eater. Well, I've been happy and busy, so everything I've had has been planned. Even those cookies were worked in to my meals (1 was part of an afternoon snack, another part of my supper, etc). In fact, this week I've had more trouble listening to my body reminding me it's time for my meal than anything. Maybe - while I get used to the eating routine I'm trying to set for myself - I should set an alarm for when it's time for my next meal? It would help me break up activities anyway!
I've done better; still not the amount I should be, but better... I remember to get a drink when I go in the kitchen most of the time; it's just a shame I then forget to drink it a lot of the time. Seriously! Several times I've made a drink, left the cup on the worktop while putting away the juice, or putting the spoon from the herbal tea in the washing up bowl, and forgotten all about my drink until a little while later when I'll either remember it, or be reminded about it by Kelly when he goes out there and asks if I plan on drinking my drink any time today. I've definately gotten a lot more fluid in me this past week though, which I'm sure my body is greatful for. And, before anyone says anything; try and get me to drink plain water, and you'll be fighting a losing battle... I have to be desperate to drink plain water, so the way to encourage me to drink more is not to shove plain water under my nose. Make me herbal tea or give me fruit juice and I'll do my best to drink well for you, but say it has to be plain water and you can forget it! Water doesn't taste like anything, and I like to taste what goes in my mouth - and enjoy the taste. So, I'm sticking to drinks with taste to them, thank you very much!
I originally wanted to aim for three walks a day, but I was left with a choice; a decent length walk in the morning, then a shorter one in the evening, allowing me to be able to spend time enjoying trips to the park and the seaside, or go in to town. Or, three shorter walks, and not really much time to enjoy outings, because there's no time to do much around the walks. I went for the first option. So, in the morning (after the postman comes) we've been going for a decent walk (40 minutes plus; often more, like a couple of times when I was walking by the seaside for about 90 minutes with Kero) and in the evening a shorter walk (about 20 minutes). OK, I didn't go yesterday (if you read yesterday's post you'll know why; I was hurting and feeling unwell after ending up with a bruised hip from a run in with a door, a headache from a run in with a wall, and a bad knee that I don't remember how I hurt), but every other day - yes, including today - I've gone for the walks!
I actually got the mat out a couple of times this week. I would have done it more, but I was feeling awful, and was hurting so bad from the run in with the door that I didn't dare (and hurt too much to care what anyone thought of that). I don't hurt as much today though, so I've promised myself I'll allow myself the weekend to get to feeling better, then the mat comes out each morning again.
I did put 1lb back on (I blame the extra drinks), but I lost 1.5 inches from my hips, 2 inches from my waist, and 1 inch from my chest (all of which were much needed). So, despite the 1lb weight gain, I'm OK with my measurements this week. I mean, I lost a whole 4.5 inches from me this week, that has to count for something, right?
My goals for this week are as follows:
*Make sure to get the 1 long walk and 1 short walk in every day.
*Get the yoga mat out every day.
*Remember to drink those drinks.
*Work on meal routine; set alarm if necessary.
OK, that's it from me... Go visit the other participents of the Get Off Your Broom challenge! And - to those people - I hope you're doing well with the challenges you've set yourself. I also hope you know I'm right here beside you, routing for you; we can do this... We can reach our goals!