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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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