There seems to be a new fad diet every year that people rave about, but one diet that always sticks around is simply cutting out unhealthy cravings.
Whether you have a weakness for sugar, salt, fatty foods, or all of the above, these are all causing you to gain weight. So it’s easy to conclude that but cutting down these unhealthy eating habits, we can start to see progress in weight loss.
But when you’ve had an unhealthy and downright addictive habit of eating these foods, it’s not so simple to just stop food cravings. But it is possible if you are determined and take the right approach.
8 Ways to Help Stop Food Cravings
Craving sugar and other unhealthy foods is similar to experiencing addiction. Our brains see giving into these cravings as a reward and so we are conditioned to feel like we need these foods to feel good.
With this logic, stopping a food craving means beating an addiction.
When you are trying to overcome an addiction, you need as much help as you can get. Here are 8 ways to help stop food craving so you can start losing weight and reach your goals.
1. Small Portions
People most often crave food when they are starving for food. We’ve all been there. We forgot to eat breakfast so when lunch hits, our mind thinks up the fattiest, most filling foods we can imagine.
This leads to overeating unhealthy foods and feeling bad about it afterward. To a avoid these intense cravings, try to eat small portions of food more often throughout the day.
Eat smaller meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and supplement the smaller portions with healthy snacks in between. This will prevent you from overeating during your main meals and will get your body used to feeling full off of smaller portions.
2. Drink Water
A lot of times, we mistake dehydration for hunger. If you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day, your body senses that you need something.
When your brain isn’t able to tell the difference between needing food and needing water, we will eat a snack or meal to satisfy the need.
Avoid this unnecessary eating by staying hydrated. This means drinking around 8 cups of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will allow your brain to only tell you your hungry when you’re actually hungry.
3. Use Distractions
When we have a food addiction, we may crave a certain food even when we are full from just eating a meal. For example, It’s common for people to crave unhealthy, sugary desserts after dinner even though they are full.
If you get hit with these cravings, have a plan for how you will distract yourself. If it’s in the middle of the day, you can go for a walk instead of reaching for the piece of cake.
If the craving hits you late at night, watch an episode of your favorite TV show and then go to sleep. You’ll wake up the next morning feeling great instead of guilty about giving in to your craving.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is so important for overall health because it affects the body and mind in so many ways. If you aren’t getting enough sleep at night, this can lead to irregular eating patterns and extreme cravings the next day.
These uneven eating patterns and cravings are caused by our hormones being affected by sleep deprivation. Don’t make your weight loss journey more difficult by not getting a full 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
5. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware and present in the moment. When related to eating, mindfulness means developing an awareness when it comes to hunger, eating habits, emotions, physical sensation, and how they are all related.
When you start to eat mindfully, you will be able to distinguish between hunger and craving. This allows you to react in a more thoughtful way, instead of on impulse.
Mindful eating will also lead to other healthy eating habits such as thoroughly chewing, eating more slowly, and listening to your body.
6. Don’t Buy Foods You Crave
As with any addiction, it’s important to distance yourself from what you are addicted to. If you are addicted to sugar, don’t go out an buy cookies thinking you’ll be able to limit yourself to one per day.
No matter how strong you think your willpower is, you won’t be able to hold yourself back when the cravings hit. Put yourself in a better position to succeed by not surrounding yourself with the foods you crave.
Instead, fill your fridge and pantry with healthier alternatives. If you constantly crave sugar, buy fruits instead of cake. This may not seem as exciting to you, but it will satisfy your craving without completely giving in to it.
7. Plan Your Meals
Planning meals is a great way to force yourself to stick to a strict eating regimen and patter. Without a meal plan, it’s much easier for us to eat way more throughout the day without realizing it.
At the beginning of each week, make a plan for each meal that week. You can even meal prep by cooking everything on Sunday and pre-packing your meals for the rest of the week.
This will allow you to carefully portion out the types of foods you’ll be eating so you can make sure you’re getting the right amount of food each day. Try your best to stick to your meal plan by not having extra food in your fridge to eat.
8. Eat More Protein
Instead of eating a meal full of carbs, try to pick out lean proteins and green vegetables. Although carbs may initially make you feel full, that feeling will quickly go away and you’ll feel even more hungry later on.
Protein has the opposite effect. You may not feel as full right away, but once you start digesting the protein you will feel full for much longer and won’t feel cravings throughout the day.
For More Information
If your food cravings are preventing you from losing weight to reach your goal, it’s time to take control of your addiction. Put yourself in the best position to stop food cravings and you will start to see the results you want.
If you have any more questions about how to stop food cravings so you can start eating healthier and lose weight, please check out our weight loss blog for more tips and tricks.