What’s Mzansi festive season without a little indulgence? A Health For Mzansi reader, however, writes to seek help for her “out-of-control food cravings.” So, we hooked up with a registered dietician, Jason van Heerden from Pretoria, to unpack overindulgence.
“Often, we mainly crave for sweet things, salty things, crunchy things, bitter things and umami things. And if you have any of these cravings, it is important that you be strong and try to pull through by just looking for alternatives,” says Van Heerden.
His interview can be heard on episode 21 of the Sisters Without Shame podcast, now available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.
If you are craving something crunchy, try some popcorn instead of chips, recommends Van Heerden. Popcorn is considered low GI and good for your blood sugar levels.
How to control your cravings
However, a little indulgence is not exactly a crime against humanity. But if find yourself binging and overeating often then you could be putting your health at risk.
“If it happens consistently then there is a lot of harm. So, it is best to answer the why question. Understand why you are overindulging,” he says.
“Sometimes we overeat because we are bored, but if it is a chronic thing then this can be a concern that would have to be investigated and diagnosed by a dietician or nutritionist. If you have had a particular food and you get guilty about it, then that can be one of the signs of a bigger issue.
“If food gives you some anxiety and fear, or you have emotional ties around food, then there is a cause for concern.”
2022 health goals
Meanwhile, many people will soon be making New Year’s resolutions about their health. This could include quitting cigarettes, joining the gym and eating healthier. Van Heerden says what usually lapses with these resolutions is that this is all just too much and too quickly.
“It is important that you choose one or two core concepts to focus on (we normally call them two stone habits,) these would be your diet, your exercise and your sleep and others will fall in place with time. Because if you happen to lapse in any of your concepts, you are most likely to lapse on others as well as one lead and overlaps to the other.”
He says it is important to choose something small that you will be able to do well, consistently and make it impactful.
If you don’t need that second plate, don’t go for it!
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