Dieting is never fun. Many people struggle to lose weight, even if it’s just a few pounds. A big part of the problem is food cravings. After all, we want what we can’t have.
Learning how to stop cravings, or at least how to deal with them, is one of the secrets to effectively controlling your weight. Believe it or not, there are simple ways to curb these cravings so that you aren’t haunted by the snacks that seem to be all around you.
Let’s take a look at a few of these ways to control your cravings whenever they arise.
10 Ways to Stop Food Cravings and Stick to Your Healthy Eating Plan
Food cravings are an uncomfortable fact of life when you’re trying to follow a healthy eating plan. Find out how to stop these uncomfortable feelings and stay on track with your diet by following these 10 easy tips for avoiding temptation.
1. Drink Water
Many people confuse thirst with food cravings. Often when you think you’re hungry, your body might actually be needing hydration rather than food.
The next time you’re feeling an urge for your favorite snack, reach for a tall glass of water instead. This is often all it takes to curb the hunger pains. Drinking water is a great way to take the edge off food cravings and help shave inches from your waistline.
2. Plan Your Meals
The more time each day you have to spend thinking about food, the worse off you’ll be. When you’re on a diet, it’s a bad idea to wing it from meal to meal. You’re much more likely to snack and give in to specific cravings.
A much smarter approach is to plan out your meals for the week ahead of time. If possible, prepare all your meals at the beginning of the week, and store them in containers in the refrigerator. This way all the work is done ahead of time and you don’t have to cook each night.
You’ll love the convenience of knowing everything is ready to go the moment you get home from work.
3. Control Your Stress
If you’re a stress eater, you are certainly not alone. Stress can cause cravings to arise that negatively impact eating behaviors. This is especially true for women.
Stress elevates cortisol in your blood, a hormone that causes weight gain. So, any way that you can minimize stress in your life by slowing down or meditating, the fewer calories you are likely to consume due to cravings.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Being well rested is crucial to the overall quality of your health and helps to curb cravings between meals. This is because your hormones fluctuate during the day, affecting your appetite, and sleep deprivation often disrupts those fluctuations, leading to an increase in cravings.
Sleep-deprived people are more likely to gain signifiant amounts of weight compared to those who get plenty of good, restful sleep.
5. Never Go To the Grocery Store Hungry
We’ve all gone to the supermarket super hungry at one time or another, right? And we end up buying a lot more than we would have otherwise. Being hungry results in impulse purchases because everything looks so delicious.
Grocery stores are very sneaky with their marketing practices, placing the unhealthiest foods at eye level where shoppers are more tempted to grab stuff as they walk by.
If you are looking for a way to control impulse purchases, do your shopping as soon after a meal as possible. You’ll end up spending much less and also keep the pounds off.
6. Learn to Practice Mindful Eating
Mindfulness has become an increasingly popular practice in recent years. It’s a way of living that teaches you to simply develop an awareness about every aspect of your life. This includes the way you eat.
Mindful eating teaches you to slow down and become aware of your emotions and how they influence many of your eating habits. When you are mindful of your thoughts about food, you realize that you often eat when you’re not actually hungry, and also that you might tend to eat much more than you need to.
This approach to eating also encourages you to slow down the eating process, chewing eat bite thoroughly, and to eat without distractions such as your smartphone or television.
7. Take a Spinach Extract Supplement
Spinach extract is made from spinach leaves and helps to slow down the digestion of fat. This is important because it increases hormone levels that reduce hunger and appetite. We recommend taking up to 5 grams of spinach extract with meals to reduce cravings.
8. Avoiding Getting Extremely Hungry
The more hungry you allow yourself to become, the stronger your cravings will be. One of the most effective ways to stop food cravings is to eat smaller, more frequent meals, and to keep healthy snacks close at hand.
9. Distract Yourself From the Cravings
Often it’s a simple matter of getting your mind off of hunger and think about something else. When hunger pains arise, the mind tends to focus on that and to want to solve the problem. This is because the mind wants to solve whatever problem it’s focused on. Most of the time distracting yourself will cause you to forget about the hunger.
10. Eat More Protein
Eating protein tends to help you feel satisfied for a longer period of time. This is because the body burns more calories metabolizing protein than it does with carbs or fat. Studies have shown that when women increase protein intake to 30%, their calorie intake per day goes down significantly.
Stop Letting Your Cravings Control You
Learning to control your food cravings is a major step toward being in full control of your life. Your body is essentially one big chemistry experiment, with hormones directly influencing your emotions, and your emotions influencing the way you live your life, including food choices.
When you are mindful of your body and simply pay attention to the way you experience cravings, you will realize that you often confuse hunger with other needs.
Click here to see 10 tips for permanent weight loss.