Monday, November 19, 2012

Confessions of a Gym Dweeb - Food Cravings


I spend about 45 minutes at the gym, now. After working out, I usually drink a small glass of coconut water; then, a few minutes later, I enjoy a light beer.

My wife normally prepares a great healthy meal, but sometimes I find myself searching around the pantry for something salty or sweet after dinner.

Yes, it defeats the whole purpose of visiting the gym, right? Not necessarily. It's all about moderation and what is being consumed.

Firstly, I don't reach for anything that has MSG or anything that contains too many by-products. Peanuts, sunflower seeds, and bread with honey are usually my choice in snacks.

Recently, I came across an article by Austin fitness expert, Tim Valderrama, that discussed the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Natually, physical hunger is when a person feels lightheaded and week. Emotional hunger, as Valderrama explains, is when "eaters will not wait for their bodies to get hungry or allow their stomachs to process the signal for hunger."

I'm sometimes an emotional eater.

Interestingly, he cites research where Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz connected the type of food cravings to moods (see below). In other words, there's a reason why I scavenge for snacks.


  • tough foods, like meat, or hard and crunchy foods, you could be feeling angry.
  • sugars, you could be feeling depressed.
  • soft and sweet foods, like ice cream, you could be feeling anxious.
  • salty foods, you could be stressed.
  • bulky, fill-you-up foods, like crackers and pasta, you could be feeling lonely and sexually frustrated.
  • anything and everything, you could be feeling jealous.

  • So, according to this research, I am anxious and stressed and sexually frustrated. That's almost accurate.

    Accepting the problem exists is the first step to control emotional eating, and Valderrama lists eight tips to control this, which I've listed some below along with my comments in red.

    • "Try to relax through yoga or walking outdoors." - Taking a stroll around the neighborhood instead of snacking in front of the TV does have health benefits--emotionally and physically. Going to the gym also helps refocus your emotions.
    • "Do any activities that bring you happiness and pleasure." - Find a hobby that will distract you from snacking, such as blogging--wink wink.
    • "When you get the urge to eat when you're not hungry, find a comfort food that's healthy instead of junk food." - This is one we practice at our home. You won't find Fritos or Cheetos in the pantry. We usually have granola bars, nuts, and honey. Opt for fruits too.

    You can read the complete article HERE.



    1 comment:

    rooth said...

    Haha, your comment on my blog has me laughing because (and I mean this in the nicest way possible) isn't Texas just the great state of overeating?

    And I am also an emotional eater. It only took me 25 years to figure that one out!