How to deal with food cravings

dv1554020Having the correct diet is hard for most of us especially when those cravings creep up. So, it is important to understand a little more about them. Some studies have shown us that a lot of people tend to get those cravings before bed when we are tired and or their guard is down. What started as a little snack to fulfil those cravings can quickly turn into a full binge session.

An important thing to remember is to understand that a lot of our cravings are not because you need those particular nutrients. It is usually more emotional related. If we are feeling bored, stressed, or lonely these feelings may trigger certain cravings, if we can recognise which emotions bring on which cravings we can then deal with the emotion rather than giving in to the craving.

If you are feeling bored then find something to do to distract yourself, if its stress that you are feeling you can try a walk in the park or have a nice warm bath or try some meditation. Remember you are trying to replace the food with healthier alternatives. Feeling lonely? Give a friend a call to have a chat, meet for a walk. Building a strong support network around yourself can be very helpful as just trying self-control and discipline won’t work. We need support from others to help us through.

One thing we can do to help self-control while we are alone is to clear out the cupboards and fridge of all those “bad foods” and replace them with healthier options. Planning your shop can be a great way to ensure you’re on the right track. You can substitute those unhealthy food with a lower fat option and eat more complex carbs. If you find chocolate is what you’re craving try eating one of the healthier chocolate options around or eat yoghurt instead or fig bars and raisins for that sweet tooth.

Remember to try and eat six small meals a day and to never skip a meal. Eating in moderation can also be key. If you are really struggling with a craving try eating more kilojoules of just one food rather than everything in the house. Remember also that exercise increases feel-good endorphins that cut down on your cravings. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day even if it is just a walk.

If it is your appetite that is stimulate remember that some medications you may be on can stimulate appetite. If this does happen you can discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist. You may be able to find an alternative medication that doesn’t send your cravings out of control.

Remember also that a naturopath or nutritionist can assist you with menus, supplements and working out food portions to see what works best for you. Similarly emotional therapy such as counselling, cognitive therapy, hypnotherapy etc. can assist with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, stress and depression that might be driving you to the fridge to fill up on foods. Also remember that we all have bad days and get off track but it is important to never give up and never beat yourself up about it.

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A healthy diet can assist stroke recovery and prevent them

Having a stroke can change your life forever. Recovery from a stroke can often be difficult and what you eat plays an important part. So it becomes important to gather information to make your recovery easier.

People often feel tired and weak after a stroke and eating healthy is a good way to renew your energy. Your naturopath or nutritionist can help guide you with correct diet and supplements to help your body recover faster. Having the right vitamins can help to boost the body’s absorption which is important as having a stroke can lead to weight loss if you are not eating properly. This could be due to problems with swallowing, memory problems as in forgetting to eat, problems with feeding yourself or a loss of appetite. Asking for help is important if this is what you are experiencing.

If you have trouble swallowing see your doctor who will refer you to a speech pathologist. They will help you learn to swallow properly again and assess how much damage has been caused by the stroke. If you have trouble feeding yourself ask family for help or, if you live alone, call upon community organisations. If its loss of appetite you’re having trouble with the vitamin supplements recommended by your naturopath will help. Taking these temporarily can help give your body the vitamins, minerals and protein your body isn’t getting due to the lack of food.

Foods that are low in cholesterol will keep your blood pressure down and control your weight and glucose levels. Cholesterol, high glucose levels and blood pressure can lead to subsequent strokes so you need to be conscientious with not eating too many foods that cause these illnesses. Fruit and vegetables will help to keep your body alkaline and lower inflammation. Vegetables are high in antioxidants, which helps lower damage to blood vessels lessening the threat of reoccurring stroke. Keep salt and fat out of your diet as much as possible and eat a moderate amount of whole grains, such as bread, cereals and brown rice. Choose only lean meat, chicken and fish and watch those portion sizes which should be no more than the size of your hand. Organic meat, vegetables and fruit is best or at least ‘heart smart’ meats. Oily fish a few times a week is a good alternative to meat meals and remember lentils and beans also will add to your protein count.

Remember also not to fill yourself up with dairy and creamy substances. Yoghurts, cheeses and other dairy products contain fat and are not good for your cholesterol. You may still like to enjoy though limited amounts of nuts, seeds, avocadoes and just a little rice bran oil. Rice bran is one of the healthiest oils to use however it is best to cook without any oils if you can. Fats that need to be limited are saturated or trans fats such as butter, full cream dairy products, chips, cakes, fatty meat. These can increase cholesterol and that is the last thing you need if you have had a stroke.

Remember also it is important to have at least 8 cups of water a day. Warm, boiled water is great and filtered water is important as it is pure. Fluoride and heavy metals in water can harm your body. If you don’t drink enough water your digestion will slow down and you will become constipated. It’s important to empty your bowels at least once a day. Similarly watch how much alcohol you drink. It would be best to cut it out completely. Alcohol might interact with some of the medications you need to take in order to recover and could raise your blood pressure.

Getting yourself on track after a stroke may take a bit of planning but the food and lifestyle changes are worth it. They will help prevent future strokes and get you up and about sooner than you think.

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The pursuit of happiness

Happiness is a goal directly linked to our dreams.  Its pursuit has been important in every era of history however now, with our modern advances in technology, we are told we should be able to enjoy more happiness and live longer. The struggles of the past eras of the industrial revolution have gone yet we seem to live in a world where happiness is just as unobtainable as ever.

Happiness can vary many times over the course of our lives. What you want today may not be what you need tomorrow. There are many workshops, seminars and tips online on how to pursue happiness in order to make your life better and easier. Nevertheless, people are still unhappy with a steady increase in suicide rates in developed countries – the one’s with supposedly better lifestyles. Does not this strike you as somewhat odd?

The right tools – perspective is the key

There are many reasons for unhappiness. Usually it is because the world does not fit your image of how it should be. The problem is that we cannot ever change the world per se. However, what we can do is change ourselves or our perspective of the reality. We can change our patterns, our perceptions and our expectations and with that move towards attaining that which we desire.

So it becomes a process of instead of asking the world for happiness we need to focus on our positive actions for ourselves and others. Since we live in an interactive society what we do has a ripple effect. Instead of focussing on our failures and comparing our weaknesses with others, what if we focused on our successes and abilities? What if we stopped whingeing about what we don’t have and focused on all the good things in our life? This is important because every time we focus on the negatives we are encouraging a mentality of a ‘lack of’ something in our lives and reinforcing it.

An example of this is if you keep focussing on your bills then you think you never have any money and it impedes your ability to enjoy even the smallest luxuries sometimes as you see it all as expenses rather than fun. Whatever you focus on will happen and if it’s negative then you will manifest the negative and draw it towards you. Your own thoughts and perspective will make bad things happen because you are creating that reality around yourself. Often we do this out of habit because the negative reality is our unconscious comfort zone and it is easier to whinge about not being happy instead of being grateful for what we do have in our lives.


Gratefulness is a key to manifesting your dreams. Couple it with motivation and it becomes a major driver to creating a new reality. It may be a good idea to see a life coach or therapist who can support you to become aware of what you really want and break that down into achievable goals. It could be you are hankering for a relationship, a new job, a new house, travel – in short all the good things in life – and why not? Their input can help you expand your sense of self, focus your purpose and enable you to have the guts to become involved in something you love but have been too fearful to try beforehand. Once you have the motivation to move forward it becomes a process of moving from one goal to the next and from one dream to another. In that way your life becomes part of a plan for success instead of aimlessly floating from one year to another and then wondering where all the years disappeared. It’s never too late to start. Start right now!

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Wishing all my readers and followers here the very best of the Christmas spirit and a Happy New Year for 2018! Here’s hoping its the best year ever when you can fulfill your goals and dreams. Blessings 🙂

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Ten tips to job success

Job success depends on many different skills in order to further your career. Here are just a few to get you on the right track:

  1. Verbal communication: This is very important. You need to express clearly your thinking to your employer, staff, colleagues and clients. It really makes a big difference to know the right words and have a good solid vocabulary to express your ideas. One way to expand your vocabulary is to read a lot and when you don’t know one of the words you are reading search Google to find the meaning and memorise it. Begin to make sentences using the word so it becomes a part of your normal way of talking.
  2. Writing skills: This obviously goes together with verbal communication. Good writing makes a remarkable difference as it shows your level of education and allows you to express yourself clearly especially if your work relies on the use of emails. If this is one of your areas of concern do a short course on better writing in your spare time. You will soon reap the rewards.
  3. Negotiation skills: Being a successful networker and negotiator hinges on good listening. Listen to whoever you are speaking with regardless of it being a colleague, the boss or a client. Show a genuine interest in what they are saying and you will soon find you begin to gain their respect and acknowledgement.
  4. Networking skills: This is related to increasing bonds with clients, recruiting new talent and expanding your professional circle by attending conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. By doing this you will know what is happening outside your area and be able to predict future changes in your industry which will show others how forward thinking and innovative you can be.
  5. Empathy: Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, so to speak, and be able to see their perspective. It goes beyond understanding or listening. If you develop empathy for your colleagues and team it will motivate them and give you a tool to deflect internal conflicts in the work environment.
  6. Teamwork: It is taken for granted that teamwork is an essential skill but often lack of cooperation, competition and jealousy is common in the workplace. Boost communication amongst your peers by participation in social events and using humour to lighten situations when they seem to get heavy. Share common goals and use discretion when putting forward your thoughts although you should not be afraid to speak up if you have good ideas to increase profits.
  7. Critical thinking and problem solving: Part of doing your job well involves making decisions, evaluating ideas and brainstorming solutions. If you can demonstrate that you have the power of critical and creative thinking your status as a valuable employee will significantly improve.
  8. Time management: This is the corner stone of productivity but is also related to how you manage your own energy. You need to show that you can handle a lot of things quickly and still be efficient. The idea of multitasking here may be to your detriment. Instead learn to handle one thing at a time but to do it fast and well. Then turn all your focus to the next task. You may need to come back to the first task again at some stage, but always tackle one task at a time with focus and discipline. You will find this attitude will work much better for you than the usual multitasking of trying to do too many things and once and messing it up.
  9. Self-confidence and assertiveness: You need to show that you are aware of your abilities and you know your job. If you believe you are right you need to assert your point of view but always with respect and empathy. If you are wrong then apologise. Be aware that there is thin line between confidence and arrogance. There is nothing wrong with being confident however being arrogant places you above the other person and will not win you any points.
  10. Computer literacy: We live in a computer and technological age and you must be up to date with new technology and software in your field, as well as new techniques used in your industry. Don’t let yourself get left behind by not researching the latest in your spare time.

You will note that a lot of these tips are not standard educational tools of an industry. These are part of what it means to be emotionally mature when it comes to work ethic. There are many courses about that can help you grow on a personal level to assist you to advance your career. Our organisation works with individuals and companies in this area.

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Carbohydrate and sweet cravings – interrupting the pattern

Carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and sweet foods are common in today’s society. Often they run out of control due to additives which further increase our cravings. It is therefore important to be educated about what you are eating in order to stay on track and in control.

Many people say that cravings happen mostly in the evening when sitting in front of the TV or computer after a hard day. Often without even thinking you head for the fridge. There, you can grab the left over bowl of pasta and the junk foods that are stored in our cupboards. The result is to put on weight, have night reflux and other digestive problems due to eating so late. People often wonder why they get these cravings and it could be that there is a nutritional deficiency but most of the time it’s just a bad habit to satisfy emotional needs.

How to avoid cravings

The first way to avoid these craving is to just go cold turkey.  Empty your kitchen cupboards, fridge or any other place where you keep food and throw out all the junk foods. They are better off in the bin than your stomach. It is important to be conscious in the supermarket to not even buy the products at all. Cut chips, chocolate and biscuits off your grocery list. Even some of the yummy gluten free ones. If they are not there you can’t eat them. Instead keep some fruit and yogurt handy in the fridge and make it a rule not to eat at least on hour before bedtime. If you are craving carbohydrates and sweets, drink water. Sometimes you may find you are just tired and it’s time to go to sleep. Get a good night’s sleep and have a good healthy breakfast in the morning.

Watch out for the triggers

Keep an eye out for the triggers that spark the cravings for carbs and sweets. What is it that puts that thought into your mind that you need them? What are you doing when that happens? Possibly, the coffee after dinner? Relaxing in front of the TV or checking your emails late at night when you are tired ad bored can trigger the desire for a sweet reward. Are you too stressed or emotionally sensitive and could your desire for those carbs be a way of looking for a ‘sweeter life’? Have you come to look at chocolate and carbs as your friend to make up for those lonely moments when you feel neglected? Also be aware that some medications can stimulate your appetite. Anti-depressants, other prescription drugs, non-prescription medical drugs and recreational drugs can also be triggers to eat more food than you normally would and increase those cravings. If any of these things are happening you need to be aware of it, discuss it with your doctor and take some positive action. Look for natural alternatives perhaps to your medication which may not have the same effect. Remember also to put some ‘de-stress’ activities into your day – have a bubble bath, meditate, go for a walk, chat with an old friend or even read a good book. All these things will fill the craving you have for comfort and nurturing so you can substitute pleasurable experiences for the food and you may find those cravings disappear.

Building self-control

Build self-control perhaps by having just a mouthful or one chocolate square and then stop. Sometimes that is enough to curb your craving and you can deflect from it. Go and do something else. However, if the trigger is emotional it will not go away on its own. You need a good support network of friends or family that can assist you. You need people around that will remind you to not eat that chocolate late at night or to perhaps have less pasta on the plate. However they need to remind you in a gentle nurturing way, not as a judgement. Craving for carbs and sweets has probably been a habit for some time so perhaps some extra help seeing a natural therapist will assist finding a way to change the pattern and resolve the issue.

If you are going to control your cravings for carbs it’s important to never skip a meal. In fact make sure you eat at least 5 times a day to keep your glucose levels balanced. Eat a healthy breakfast to start your day and drink lots of water to flush toxins. If the cravings for carbs and sweets occurs during the day divert yourself some way. I tell people when they come to see me for Hypnotherapy to give up smoking that the craving for a cigarette usually lasts only about three minutes and to divert their attention from it and wait it out. Similarly just deflect from the cravings for carbs and sweets and tell yourself to wait a minute and just wait it out. You will be surprised how easily sometimes the craving will subside. Sometimes you can divert yourself with a drink of water, an interesting hobby, exercise or meditation, Exercise will increase endorphins which will help and meditation will assist in calming your mind and emotions.

Hormonal disorders

Although most of the time craving for sweets and carbs is just a bad habit sometimes it can be due to out of control hormones. Cravings often increase when women have their monthly menstrual cycle and this can be a symptom that your hormones are not working properly. If your cycle is accompanied by stomach pains, sore breasts, bloating, mood swings and clots as well as an intensified craving for carbs and sweets please seek help from a natural therapist. Feeling ill and edgy only increases the cravings. This is not how your monthly cycle should make you feel even though many women do feel this way at least for 10 days before they are due to have their monthly period.

The bottom line is that there can be many reasons for cravings; all of them with negative consequences for your health. Stay away from the sweet corridor of the supermarket, swap your diet for healthy products and change your night-time habits. Be kind to yourself and don’t take on too much at one time. Realise that you can do it better tomorrow if you mess up today and start again. Do whatever you need to in order to get that control back and be on the road to a healthier life.

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Work stress – minimising its effect

Stress due to work conditions is one of the main occupational hazard and despite companies making consistent efforts to reduce stress at work it is still steadily on the increase. It seems that claims related to stress have a much higher cost in comparison to physical claims, such as injuries, and work related stress claims account for the longest periods of absence.

Stress related to work concerns not only to employees who have to deal with it but also for employers who must ensure a safe and healthy workplace in regards mental health issues. This means it is an employer’s duty of care to not only worry about physical risk but also potential mental and emotional risks.

Not all workers present similar trends when stressed. People who work or are related to community services, teaching, or in the force such as police and rescue services or those who have experienced a major trauma at work are more inclined to present high stress levels.

The bad news though is that some people may present a predisposition to be stressed when suitable conditions are not met in the workforce. So what appears like just a challenge to one person, can appear as an insurmountable problem to another. This may present great challenges for employers as they have to be aware of these conditions and monitor their employees wherever possible. It therefore becomes important to understand how stress could be affecting you and to liaise with your HR and management to make them aware of your needs.

Symptoms of Stress

Symptoms of stress can vary from headaches to muscle tension, feeling tired, anxiety, sleep disorders, feeling overwhelmed, panic attacks, unclear thinking and impaired ability to make decisions. The most important task for employers is to identify signs of stress (the symptoms) and then, try to identify what are the potential sources that are causing stress.
Employers need to watch for decreases in productivity, bullying in the workplace, an increase in absenteeism – especially for stress leave, people working too long hours for too long a period of time. All this could lead to an increase in mental health claims.

Causes of You Stress

The most common cause of stress is feeling like you’ve got too much to do and not enough resources to do it with. This is called overwhelm. Those resources may include the idea of a lack of mental and physical energy, support, and control. There are a number of things that can happen at work that can make you feel this way. Everything from trying to do too much with too short a deadline to feeling out of control over how you work. Is someone bullying you or making it difficult for you? Is your job stimulating enough or lost its meaning? Are you clear in what you need to do and is feedback constructive or belittling? Do you feel secure in your job? All these things contribute to work related stress.

How to Deal with the Stress

Some problems can be addressed directly to the manager or team leader or some other staff. If it is an issue concerning safety it should be reported as soon as possible as it could cause further serious injury – physical or emotional. The key element though in changes in work procures is for both management and staff to work together to provide a better work environment so managers or team leaders must be trained to be supportive and understanding. Unaware management or management stuck in old routines are many times the main source of issues in workplaces.

Once you have identified the source of stress you are in a better position to identify ways of reducing it. Management can modify your job or hold seminars to teach staff new ways to cope. These activities may include meditation and relaxation, breaks for going for a walk, providing people who are supportive and non-judgmental as a sounding board or counselling. Physical and social activities in the office do a lot to break up the intensity by providing quality down time. Management needs to be aware to present healthy food and to notice staff that are not getting on well. All management and staff should be aware to report bullying or harassment issues immediately before they get out of hand.

There needs to be perhaps a new mindset about how your employees think about work. Management can play a key role in this by having training sessions for staff. In Australia statistics show that a high discontent (70% of the population) are not happy with the jobs that they now have. Co-operation and communication are the key to changing this.

Often employees become so immersed in their own worries at home that they forget that the job they are winging about is putting food on the table for them and their families. Appreciation and gratitude are two of the most powerful ways to turn stress into motivation. The energy of that can be used in a positive way to motivate staff further. However it is important that employees have the correct tool kit to become aware of how appreciated they are to give that feedback. Our organisation delivers courses to staff and employers on how to reduce stress and keep staff motivated whilst increasing productivity.

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