Food cravings are normal, but sometimes it is difficult to control the irresistible urge to eat an unhealthy snack. These sensations are most intense when you start cutting back on sugary foods, sweets, and snacks made from refined carbs. I am pretty sure nobody would want their carb craving or sweet tooth to stop them from reaching their health goals. So here are some practical methods to keep cravings away.
1. Drink water
Our brain can generate very similar sensations when we are hungry and thirsty. Our body can misread the signals from the brain and often confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger.
So, if you often feel a sudden urge for chips or soda, try drinking a full glass of water and wait for four to five minutes. You will notice that the intense cravings fade away because you were only thirsty. In fact, many people benefit from curbing their cravings as soon as food cravings hit. Studies also tell that replacing snacks with water is an effective strategy to lose weight. According to a 2013 study, drinking at least two cups of water before calorie-restricted diet can help people with reducing pounds fast.
2. Eat protein rich diets
Adding more protein to your meals will reduce your evening cravings and prevent you from overeating. People who consume more protein in their diet feel full and satisfied for longer, which means low cravings for sweet and savory food.
Health experts and nutritionists recommend overweight people to increase protein intake as it reduces the desire to snack at midnight by 50%. To make a protein-rich diet make sure the meal contains 35 grams of proteins from multiple sources such as eggs, lean meats, seafood, dairy, and poultry.
3. Play a mental game
Want a better idea to tell whether you are really hungry or if it is just a craving you are dealing with? Then try this activity:
Ask yourself if you would eat a fruit. When a person cannot differentiate between hunger and craving, they should ask themselves this question. If the answer is yes, that means your body needs food but if the answer is no, you are having a craving.
Or you can ask yourself: Is it worth it in the long term?
Another tip is to visualize the long-term consequences of snacking. Common consequences include health issues, difficulty losing weight, and feeling unhappy throughout the day. Seeing the big picture and reminding yourself that you are on a mission to lose weight will help you restrict your intake of certain foods.
4. Distract your mind
The next time you find yourself drooling over the thought of oven-baked chocolate caramel cookies, try distracting yourself. Spend some time doing other activities until the craving passes. Go for a walk around your vicinity, phone a friend, clean your cupboard, or apply a face mask – anything that keeps your mind occupied for a bit. If you feel hungry even after distracting yourself for 30 minutes, go and grab a small but healthy snack.
5. Know the trigger foods
Our bodies can automatically develop tolerance for certain foods such as drugs and alcohol, making you want more of it. The more you consume soda and fries, the more you will want to consume. So if you cannot resist chocolates or French fries, make sure you limit their intake and eat them in small quantities, or just once a week. A more practical strategy is to buy these foods in small quantities; don’t keep the stock at home.
6. Chew gum
Buy some sugarless gums and keep it in your kitchen, bag, and drawers. It will help you stay away from sugary and salted foods.
7. Snack healthier
Fighting with cravings is tough. Sometimes you really need something to eat. Make sure you satisfy your craving with a healthy option, such as pureed fruit, a smoothie, low-fat yogurt, or buttermilk.
8. Sleep tight
Several studies have shown that not getting enough rest and sleep could disturb the body’s hormonal balance, which can lead to weight gain and overeating. Scientists note that increasing the time asleep causes people to lose extra weight as the hormonal balance corrects itself.
These strategies have always helped my clients in a big way. Food cravings are normal. They may keep coming around. Now you are more equipped to beat them!
On the healthy diet journey? We’ve got you! Here you go, you might like Avoiding Carbs: The Dos, The Don’ts, and The How-Tos