10 Ways to Control Food Cravings
Maybe it’s something sweet or salty. Or spicy or fatty. Whatever you
crave, it’s bound to derail your diet unless you put a stop to it,
pronto. Of course, that’s not easy but it’s nearly impossible to lose
weight without a strategy for weak moments.
Know the difference between cravings and hunger. Cravings have little
to do with hunger, they are just a strong desire for food that is
probably unhealthy and full of calories. If you are hungry, go ahead and
eat but be reasonable. If you are craving something but are not hungry, you
will need to work through it without bingeing. Here’s how.
We all know that everyone is different but it may be surprising just
how much. These tips are beneficial only if you tailor them to your own needs.
Start now. Pay attention to the times and situations that you are most
likely to binge and document them in a
weight loss journal. By knowing yourself well, you can gain better control
of your eating habits and lose weight easier.
Create a Distraction
Get your mind off of food cravings with a distraction such as a phone
call, chore, or newspaper. Similar to what people do when they quit smoking,
they get busy to forget what they want. The difference is that smoking can
be eliminated all together but food cannot because our bodies need it to
survive. The key is finding moderation and eating to feel satiated, not to
relieve boredom or depression.
Shop While Full
To avoid making food purchases that you’ll regret later, do your grocery
shopping on a full stomach. Still, there are temptations. A good motto
is, “if you don’t buy it, you can't eat it.” Remind yourself of this
whenever you contemplate buying something that’s unhealthy and move on
quickly. This is very effective.
Eating with a clean mouth and fresh breath is not appealing to most.
It signals fullness and the end of a meal. Use this to your
advantage. Brush your teeth more often, especially when you feel
food cravings coming on. If you can’t brush your teeth, try breath mints,
strips, or a stick of chewing gum to freshen up.
Drink Water, Take a Nap
Sometimes, food cravings are confused with thirst or even being
tired. If you feel like you’re ready to fall off the diet wagon, drink a
large glass of water and take a power nap. Be aware though, that this
strategy can work very well or it can backfire. Some people feel
hungrier upon awakening. If this is a pattern with you, it could be that
the timing of your meals and snacks need tweaked.
Besides eating plenty of fiber, you can take fiber supplements in the
form of pills or powder to help you feel full and stay regular. Read the
directions for dosage recommendations and take with a full glass of
Eat three meals a day to
maintain normal blood glucose levels and add snacks as needed. Don’t get caught up in all of that talk about making sure that
you’re full all of the time. This can get excessive and lead to
overeating. You just need to be comfortable. If you consume more
calories than your body needs, you will certainly gain weight. You will
become accustomed to eating a lot and you will crave food.
Protein is essential for bodily functions and also satiety. Foods
high in protein include legumes, peanuts, lean meats, fish, eggs, and
cheese. Just by upping your protein, you’ll keep yourself satisfied
longer, avoid empty calories, and control food cravings.
Cut the Sugar
Those with a sugar addiction know that eating too much can be a real
problem and it hinders the ability to lose weight. Not only that, it can
trigger some real binge eating. Eliminating as much sugar as possible can
greatly reduce your sweet tooth. Besides cutting out the common culprits
such as candy and cookies, read labels to find foods that have hidden sugar
and eliminate them too.
Stay out of or prepare yourself for situations that lead to cravings and
overeating. For example, don't watch TV channels that involve cooking,
restaurants, or food. Skip fast food commercials. Don't drive by that donut
shop on the way to work. Stay away from "Fast Food Lane." If you're headed
to a party, don't go hungry. If you're going out to eat, check the menu
online to find healthy entrees. Finally, change your attitude about food.
See it as nourishment for the body and not as entertainment, rewards, or
solace for depression.
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This information is in no way intended to be a
substitute for professional advice. Consult your physician before starting
a new regimen, fitness plan or diet.