Sunday, July 3, 2016 1:33:00 PM Australia/Sydney

Take Control Of Your Food Cravings

Everybody who is trying to lose weight wants to know how to stop food cravings, but they're going about it the wrong way.

Trying to get rid of them is the same thing as trying to deny they exist, which only gives them even more power over you.

But cravings don’t have to rule your life; and they do eventually always pass. Being happy and healthy means learning to live with cravings without becoming overwhelmed by them. Here's how:

ONE: Go For a Walk

Not only is physical exercise a great distraction, I often find that while I might be really hungry before my workout, during and immediately after the workout my hunger has gone away.

Eventually it returns; but the point is, you can do something about unwanted cravings just by moving your body. It’s all about giving that moment time to pass. Nothing is permanent and food cravings are no exception.

So whereas in the past you may have seen cravings as a weakness, you can instead begin to accept them as part of life. When you do this you will be able to let them come and go without needing to control or manipulate them in any way.

TWO: Satisfy your Sweet Spot

Food craving facts

Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, try a healthier alternative instead: For example, you could chop up a banana and add a small drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkling of crushed pecans (say 4 to 5 pecans).

Measure the maple syrup and the pecans carefully and you will have a healthy treat with about 200 calories that satisfies a sweet craving without packing on the kilos.

THREE: Recognise your Bad Habits

Often we’re not aware of what we’re eating or even why we’re eating it. For instance, why all of a sudden do we crave popcorn when we go the movies even though we have just eaten a big meal?

The answer is: Because that’s just what we’ve always done. Many people become stuck in bad habits that cause them to do things without even questioning why they are doing them.

But just because you have always done something in the past, it doesn’t automatically follow that you should keep doing it. Take a habits inventory. Ask yourself the question: ‘do I really need this habit? If the answer is no, let it go. Make room for new, more positive habits instead.

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FOUR: Know Your Vulnerable Times

Write down what you are regularly craving and be honest with yourself about which foods are bad for you and which cravings have gotten out of control.

Identify when you're most likely to lose control and take action. For example, many people fall prey to ‘3.30-itis’, when their energy is low and they feel the need for something sweet or fatty. You’ll know what your time is.

During these vulnerable times when you're likely to turn to food for comfort, make a conscious decision to either eat a healthy snack or distract yourself. Go for a walk, play a game with your pets, or pick up a good book. Do whatever it takes!

FIVE: Drink Water

Aside from the fact that water is good for you, most people don’t drink enough of it; or they drink well after they are dehydrated (which is too late). The key is to sip water throughout the day to avoid dehydration.

Sometimes the cravings we have are due to dehydration; so where we may think a sugar fix will get us going, we may just need a glass of water instead.

So in summary, there is actually no way to stop food cravings; they are a physiological phenomenon which may be improved by diet changes, but at the end of the day everybody gets them.

Instead of being afraid of cravings, treat them like temporary visitors. They always go away, and it's just a matter of waiting them out.

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