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Easy Tips to Stop Cravings for Sugar and Junk Food

Easy Tips to Stop Cravings for Sugar and Junk Food

For most of us, the word “cravings” might seem innocent, right?

For many; however, such as recovering alcoholics or drug addicts, “cravings” means much more than that. For these people, cravings are a matter to be taken seriously as they can lead to relapse, which can cost them their families, jobs, homes, and even their lives. That’s right, cravings can be a matter of life or death for such people.

Compare that to a sugar or junk food addict. Giving in to a craving can mean that a person who has managed to eat completely healthy for months, relapses and is right back to eating junk food all the time. That person is back at the starting point, just as addicted as they were before quitting.

One critical thing to realize if you want to know how to stop cravings, is that giving in to a craving doesn’t mean indulging for that one time, although your mind may try to convince you of that. Giving in to that craving means you will indulge now, then perhaps the day after, or a few days later, and then again (and again and again).

The law of addiction:

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“Administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance.” – WhyQuit.com

How to stop cravings

To begin with, I’m going to outline a few methods that I personally believe will help stop cravings for sugar and junk food. However, these methods can apply to any sort of craving, including cigarette or drug cravings.

After that, I will list some other methods that I’ve found during my research. Some of them I haven’t tried myself, but they might be useful to certain people.

1. Take a hot shower

This is the best method that I know of.

There’s something about relaxing in a hot shower that helps to stop a craving. I don’t know exactly why, but it works very well for me.

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The shower has to be HOT. Not so hot that you burn your skin, but hot enough to be a little past your comfort zone. It’s also important to give it enough time, perhaps 20-30 minutes.

2. Go for a walk or a run

This can help a lot. It is important to get your mind off of whatever it is that you’re craving, be it sugar craving, a nicotine craving, or whatever. When you sit at home on your couch, it’s really hard to get your mind focused on something else.

I don’t know why this works, maybe it’s the endorphins, the fresh air, or simply the fact that you manage to think about something else?

Longer walks are preferable, at least 30 minutes.

3. Remind yourself why you quit, and what you will lose by giving in

When a craving pops up in the mind, it is very effective at blocking other thoughts. It can become hard to remember why you quit in the first place.

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That’s why it is a good idea to have a list of reasons why you quit, as well as a list of benefits you think you may achieve by giving up junk food in the long term. If you have a list, read it. If you don’t have one, then try to remember your reasons for quitting. Don’t just “think” about them, and don’t just “read” the list, try to actively remember how you feel about those things and really contemplate them.

Also, try to remember how you felt the last time you had junk food after deciding not too. Maybe it was a guilty feeling, or you felt kind of sick of yourself for your weakness?

Try to actively remember the feeling that you had, not just the “fact” that you felt bad.

4. Other methods

There are some other methods on how to stop cravings that I’ve heard people mention. Personally, these haven’t worked for me, but they might help others.

I’ve seen some people (so-called “experts”) recommend that you give in a little and have a small bite of what you are craving. Do NOT do that. That is the worst thing you can do. If you are a junk food addict then that will lead to a full-blown relapse and possibly a binge.

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  • Have something sweet, like a fruit. This might work for some people, but I get junk food cravings despite having just eaten a meal.
  • Drink water. Some people like to claim that cravings are caused either by hunger or dehydration, but I disagree. I believe hunger and cravings are completely different things.
  • Eat frequently. Some like to suggest that cravings can be prevented by eating multiple times per day. Given that eating too frequently can cause colon cancer, I can’t recommend that approach.
  • Talk to someone. Talk to someone who knows what you’re going through, explain to them that you’re craving unhealthy food and ask them for some encouragement.
  • Don’t use artificial sweeteners. This one seems kind of reasonable. If you feel that artificial sweeteners give you cravings, then it might be a good idea to not have them.
  • Eat more protein. I’ve heard some people suggest this.
  • Remove the temptations. This is a good idea. If you don’t keep junk food at your house, you may prevent those cravings from occurring in the first place.
  • Exercise. This is another good idea. Exercising regularly can improve your mental health and well-being, which might prevent those cravings from occurring.
  • Get enough sleep. This is also important for overall health and well-being.
  • Manage stress. This is also important for your overall health.
  • Avoid certain triggers. Try to avoid specific activities or places that give you cravings.
  • Eat a healthy diet. It helps to generally eat a healthy diet.
  • Take a low-dose high-quality multivitamin. This helps prevent any nutritional deficiencies.
  • Don’t get too hungry. This is yet another good tip. Preventing yourself from getting too hungry will help prevent uncontrollable cravings from appearing.

Conclusion

Some of these tips on how to stop cravings can definitely be useful for a lot of people.

It is important to realize that if you manage to overcome sugar and junk food addiction in the long-term, these cravings will eventually stop. The cravings may be common in the beginning, but after a few weeks and months of abstinence, they will probably not be an issue.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via c1.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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