The struggle to lose weight and fight cravings is all too real for many people. It seems like when you are trying to eat healthily, you get the urge to munch on chips, cookies, and cake. Fortunately, there are ways to curb your cravings and keep your diet on track.
Keep reading for some useful tips to get rid of cravings and keep everything under control. You can cut back on calories and consume more healthy food. Snacking on foods with high quantities of sugar, sodium, and fat will soon become a thing of the past.
Could Stress Be To Blame?
Are you really craving that donut or are you stressed about a big work meeting this afternoon? And do you really want that double caramel frappuccino, or did you see someone having one and it looked good for a second?
Those are the questions you need to ask yourself. Your snacking and cravings may be stress eating. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, and this sends signals to your brain that you want something to reward yourself with. That’s when we tend to reach for cookies or potato chips because we feel that we deserve it.
Next time your kids are driving you crazy, or you’ve just gotten a huge credit card bill and suddenly find yourself raiding the pantry for something to eat, stop, sit down, and ask yourself if you are really hungry or not. You may just be looking to reward yourself after a stressful or negative situation. When we constantly do this, our brains remember this as comforting, and it becomes a hard to break the habit.
Instead of indulging, try waiting a few minutes for the craving to pass. Get a glass of water instead. Take a short walk if you can. Or, listen to your favorite song. Distract yourself with something other than a snack.
Plan Your Day Accordingly
Food journals are a huge help when it comes to overeating and giving into cravings. Plan your meals and healthy snacks ahead of time, and stick to it. When you are writing in your food journal at the start of the day, before you’ve eaten, you are not going to schedule yourself to eat a piece of cake at 3 pm. So when 3 pm comes around, don’t allow yourself to have it.
When planning your daily menu, allow for healthy snacks. You need to be realistic in order to stick to your plan. If you know that you start to get hungry mid-afternoon and usually crave something sweet, combat the unhealthy craving by replacing it with something healthy. Perhaps instead of a cupcake, you can have apple slices with natural peanut butter. Don’t let yourself get hungry in between meals, so you do’t set yourself up for cravings.
Eat More Protein With Your Meals
Protein is more filling, and it helps with reducing cravings. Carbohydrates are a short-term solution to hunger. They regulate your blood sugar, but then you experience a spike shortly after eating, and this is when the unhealthy cravings kick in. You can control this by making a few simple changes to your daily meals.
For example, if you find yourself out to breakfast, instead of ordering a stack of pancakes, try an omelet or other egg dishes instead. The protein will provide satiety for much longer than the plate of carbohydrates will.
In the afternoon, when you need a small snack, consider skipping the snacks like crackers. While they may seem healthier at first, they are setting you up to fail later. Try some cheese, some yogurt, or another healthy protein. It will help you combat your craving, and you won’t find yourself at the snack machine an hour later.
Incorporate more protein into each of your meals as well. Have milk or yogurt with breakfast. Try some lean chicken on a salad for lunch. Eat your favorite fish for dinner. Keep your consumption of carbohydrates in moderation, and you will feel less hungry throughout the day.
Have Some Time To Yourself When The Craving Hits
It may be that you are in need of some time alone with your thoughts! If you have the urge to go to the local ice cream shop, take a walk around the neighborhood instead. Or, sit down for awhile with a good book. When you distract yourself, the craving will pass shortly.
You can distract yourself by keeping your hands busy. Draw, sew, or maybe organize the junk drawer in your kitchen. Do an activity that does not allow you to have an accompanying snack. The key to distracting yourself from a craving is to not let it get the best of you. Giving into cravings is the immediate satisfaction that we regret shortly after.
Get rid of the craving altogether. There are many things to try. You can call a friend, you can read your favorite magazine, or you can watch an episode of your favorite television show. By treating yourself to something enjoyable that does not involve food, you’ll find the craving going away. Your mind and body are in need of something, and your first instinct is to grab some kind of food that makes you happy. Treat yourself to something else instead.
Remove The Triggers From Your Life
If it’s not there, you can’t eat it. Don’t allow yourself to keep unhealthy items in the house. Replace them with healthy snacks, and before long, you will find that the unhealthy cravings aren’t there anymore. It may take a little work, but you can remove the unhealthy food from your life. It may even take a little creative thinking.
Take some time to think about your daily routine. On your morning commute to work, do you drive by a place where you usually get a latte and a muffin? Try taking a different route. Before long, you won’t think about what you are missing. When you meet your friends for a get-together, do you meet at restaurants where you order unhealthy food? Suggest a healthy restaurant instead. Do the kids insist on a nightly bowl of ice cream? You can keep it out of the house altogether by introducing them to frozen yogurt. This way, everyone wins.
When the food you crave is always in front of you, you will be much more tempted to eat it. Do your best to keep it away from you, and make healthy choices instead. A habit can be hard to break, but this is not to say it can’t be done!
With a little hard work and dedication, you’ll be on your way to reducing those unhealthy cravings. Be patient with yourself, and make healthy swaps. Remember, not giving into cravings does not mean starving yourself. Before you know it, you’ll be reaching for that apple instead of the bag of chips without even realizing it!