Do you have a hard time saying no to chocolate?
Is pizza your weakness? Do you always find yourself grabbing a handful of chips at work?
Time for your favorite TV show, so it’s time to get some dessert?
Maybe you just have a sweet tooth that constantly craves sugar.
If one of these scenarios describes you…welcome to the food cravings club.
These cravings are intense, persistent, and challenging. Cravings affect everyone and make sticking with diets 100x more difficult.
To quit having food cravings requires discipline and focus. While it’s no walk in the park, managing food cravings is possible. Try these 9 methods to get a handle on your cravings once and for all.
1. Work on reducing your stress
Stress can make us all go crazy. No one is excluded. Stress is a part of our daily lives and routines, and plays a vital role in our health due to its involvement with cortisol. How you handle stress is what’s key.
Cortisol (a stress hormone) causes food cravings when elevated which leads to emotional eating. Leaving your diet up to how you feel is often a reason for failing with your diet.
To get a handle on how to deal with your stressors, you need to understand where it’s coming from. Identify your stress triggers that drive you insane and ultimately lead to binge eating. Start a daily journal and be honest with yourself.
2. Eat mindfully
Mindfulness is the art of applying focused attention on the present moment. There’s been evidence that supports mindful eating can help reduce portion sizes, help with weight loss, and help control your blood sugar levels.
Slow down with your eating. This isn’t a race. Stop multitasking and eating on the go. Eating mindfully will lower your chances of over eating, improve your digestion, and bring more enjoyment from your foods.
3. Get plenty of shut eye
Go to sleep. This is a pretty simple idea, yet it’s neglected by many who tell themselves they aren’t like everyone else who needs 7hrs nightly.
You’re not an exception. Get to bed.
Studies have shown that not getting enough shut eye leads to extra layers added on to your body(fat) and results in making poor food choices(hello binge eating).
4. Stock your kitchen with healthier options
This seems like common sense. Rights? Not exactly. Far too often, people will have leftover treats, soda, or cookies in the kitchen.
If you have it in the house, you will eventually eat it.
Using willpower to resist all temptations will only last for so long. Eventually you fall to seduction.
It’s hard to lose weight when your kitchen is stocked with chips, Special K, and frosted flakes. Dump that junk and opt for whole foods and lean meats with all your meals.
Your body and mind will thank you later.
5. Stay hydrated
Often times, we make the mistake of confusing food cravings for dehydration. Dehydration disguises and pops up as food cravings tricking you into poor food decisions.
Before reaching in the snack jar, drink a glass or two of water and see if these cravings don’t disappear.
6. Eat a well-balanced and satisfying diet
We live in a snacking society. Whatever happened to eating complete meals?
What’s going to be more satisfying and satiating?
That fresh bagel you get every morning on the way to work because you’re in a rush (ahem…lazy).
That breakfast you’ll eat at home because you woke up 20 minutes earlier which consist of eggs and fruit.
The meal at home clearly wins.
Bagels = simple carb with nothing else. Eggs + fruit = protein, carbs, and healthy fats leading to longer satiation, more nutrients, and less food cravings.
7. Find satisfaction in something else besides food
Do something, anything besides mindlessly eating.
Boredom shouldn’t mean you have the green light to eat whatever you want. If you aren’t hungry, why eat at all?
Is it movie night? That doesn’t mean you curl up in a blanket and dive into a tub of Ben & Jerry’s (though delicious).
Find other hobbies that make you feel complete and engaged just as eating would. Take your mind off food and boredom by reading, catching up with a friend, or go for a walk(exercise is awesome).
8. Control the sugar surges
Carbs are awesome and essential for proper functioning. However, choosing specific carb sources goes a long way in helping you control food cravings.
Sugary foods and drinks (yes, even those bagels and loaded Frappuccino’s) are known to cause huge insulin spikes and then huge drops that affect our brain. Areas of our brain involved in cravings and hunger are stimulated in a way that could cause overeating and emotional food decisions.
When it comes to keeping the urges at bay, stick to sweet potatoes, rice, and other slower digesting carbs.
9. Allow some wiggle room into your diet
You shouldn’t expect yourself to eat ‘perfectly’ 24/7 nor should you try to. Losing fat and staying in control of your life doesn’t mean you need to head into dietary prison.
Successful and healthy sustainable diets need a positive mentality. Mindset is just as important as calories and exercise. Enjoy that cheesecake and pizza from time to time(guilt free of course!).