Food cravings are the dieter’s worst enemy. It happens every time you start a diet to lose weight, you start craving foods. Cravings are one of the biggest reasons why people have problems losing weight and keeping it off.
These are intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods, stronger than normal hunger. The types of foods that people crave are highly variable, but these are often processed junk foods that are high in sugar like chocolate, cookies, or other high-calorie, high-fat foods
Food cravings can be both physiological and psychological. But you can beat both kinds. Here are 10 simple ways to prevent or stop unhealthy food and sugar cravings.
1. Drink water
Water is not only very important for maximal fat loss and improved health, but it can also help prevent cravings. Oftentimes, our bodies can have trouble differentiating between dehydration and hunger. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger. If you feel a sudden urge for a specific food, try drinking a large glass of water and wait a few minutes. You may find that the craving fades away, because your body was actually just thirsty. In middle-aged and older people, drinking water before meals can reduce appetite and help with weight loss
2. Eat proper meals
Hunger and a lack of key nutrients can both cause certain cravings. It is important to eat proper meals at mealtimes so that your body gets the nutrients it needs and you won’t get extremely hungry right after eating. Eating proper meals helps prevent hunger and cravings, while also ensuring that your body gets the nutrients it needs. For snacks in between meals, go for healthier options like fruits, nuts, vegetables or seeds.
Also plan your meal ahead for the coming day. You will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings if you know what you are going to eat. Planning your meals for the day eliminates spontaneity and uncertainty, both of which can cause cravings.
3. Eat More Protein
Eating too much protein or too little protein can lead our body to have cravings. Often when we are craving sugar it is because we need more protein in our diet. Even if you are a vegetarian you should be getting a small amount of protein with every meal. It also reduces cravings, and helps you feel full, satisfied for longer and prevent from overeating. If you’re not sure how much use the palm of your hand for measurement.
4. Fight Stress
Stress raises your blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area. Being under stress may induce cravings, influence eating behavior and weight gain, especially in women. Women under stress have been shown to eat significantly more calories and experience more cravings than non-stressed women. Try to minimize stress in your environment by planning ahead, meditating and generally slowing down.
5. Get More Sleep
Most of us are sleep deprived. When our bodies are tired and in need of rest we experience more stress and our blood sugar levels fluctuate very easily. Sleep deprivation disrupts the fluctuations, and may lead to poor appetite regulation and strong cravings. This causes our body to crave sugar, processed foods, and stimulants. Since many of these substances are addictive once we eat them our body just craves more. Studies support this, showing that sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to become obese, compared to people who get enough sleep.
6. Find a distraction
When you feel a craving, try to distance yourself from it. When the craving is psychological, it is meeting a need different from hunger. Find an activity that will take your mind off your craving without adding calories. Craving caused by boredom, anxiety, or other emotions can be overcome by having shower, meeting a friend, web surfing, shopping, watching movie, walking, playing games, listening to music and dancing. Find any way and try to distance yourself from the craving.
7. Eat Dark Leafy Greens
You may have heard me say this before but dark leafy greens are the best way to nourish your body. Not only are they filled with vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, but they give you tons of energy. The more you eat them the less your body craves sweets and processed foods. It really is that simple. Eat them with every meal. Among such greens, spinach helps delay fat digestion, which increases the levels of hormones that reduce appetite and hunger.
8. Chew on it
Yes, chewing gum can help you lose weight. Cravings can rear their ugly head when you are experiencing a stressful situation, or even lack of sleep. Grabbing a piece of gum can help stave off that craving for pastries, chocolate, or whatever the vice.
If you reach for a stick of gum, be sure it’s sugarless, with zero or only a few calories. But be cautious the sugar alcohols in sugarless gum can cause gastric distress in some people, especially if you chew an excessive amount.
9. Avoid hungriness
Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid extreme hunger by always having a healthy snack ready. Hunger is one of the biggest reasons why we experience cravings. If you go longer than five hours without food, your blood sugar will drop and your cravings will begin. You can help avoid food cravings caused by hunger by not going more than five hours without eating something. If it’s time for an allowed snack, choose food low in calories and fat. By being prepared, and avoiding long periods of hunger, you may be able to prevent the craving from showing up at all.
10.Don’t skip breakfast
When people eat more fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the morning, they stayed satisfied and eat less over the course of the day than those who eat their bigger meals later on. Unfortunately, many people start off on an empty stomach. It is good choice to skip dinner but never skip breakfast as it fuels your whole day.
In one survey, consumers reported that even when they eat in the morning, the meal is a full breakfast only about one-third of the time. Eat a late breakfast if you can’t eat in early morning but don’t force anything. Just wait a while and eat at 9 or 10 AM. It will help you stay in control later in the day.