Even a balanced healthy diet won’t beat food cravings entirely. Losing weight isn’t going to diminish the taste of your favorite high-fat, high-sugar or high-calorie treat. But you can beat food cravings, and with more than just sheer willpower, important as that is.
Food cravings are an odd thing. According to most doctors and dietitians, the majority of food cravings stem from a complex mix of hormonal, emotional, biochemical, and, in some cases, nutritional factors. Determining the cause of your craving isn’t so easy, but beating your food craving isn’t so hard.
Things To Avoid
Skipping meals to cut calories practically guarantees you a craving. Not eating tends to cause our blood sugar levels to drop, as well as depriving the body of it’s much needed nutrition, which then makes us hungry, usually for the first thing at hand. So keeping your meals at regular intervals will help immensely.
For some, going ‘cold turkey’ on all their favorite goodies works. But, for many of us, total avoidance can lead to increased cravings. Cutting your most loved foods from your diet is like daring yourself to give in to temptation. Indulging yourself with small portions of the foods you love from time to time, say once a week or so, can really help to keep those cravings under control. Small portioned treats won’t break your diet, unless you’re eating them too often.
So try not to stock up on processed and hard to resist snack items. A box of high-calorie cookies miles away at the supermarket is easier to resist than the box sitting in your cupboard. While you’re willpower may be great, it’s best not to test it. We’re only as strong as our weakest moment.
Things To Try
Keep plenty of fresh fruit and snacky veggies on hand instead. Pre-cut and store them in the fridge for when you are craving something. A yogurt cup, a handful of nuts or even a granola bar is fine, provided they don’t have high amounts of sugar or saturated fats. Part of the problem with cravings is that since they are so intense, we tend to grab the first thing we see, so having healthy snacks on hand is a sure way to beat food cravings.
One very important point, which you’ve probably heard before, is to always eat before grocery shopping. Chips and dip, pizzas and other tasty high-calorie foods seem to look that much more appealing when you’re already hungry. This is just another way to plan ahead to help yourself out, so if you don’t have time for a full meal even a healthy snack in the car will help.
Don’t forget about water. Dehydration produces signals in the body that are similar to hunger, so keeping your body hydrated can help to minimizing your food cravings.
Last, but not least, keep your eyes on your goal. Remind yourself daily, or hourly if that’s what it takes, about why you’re making the effort to eat healthy. Weight loss, better fitness, looking better, feeling better about yourself, getting healthier or all the above. Imagine yourself achieving them. Realize that giving in to your cravings just puts you further away from your goal. With careful planning, perseverance and a little willpower, we can all beat food cravings.