Everyone begins their diet with the best of intentions. But like many individuals, you’re only human and will experience cravings, especially as you first begin your diet. As you begin to cut out food groups, it’s inevitable that you will crave your favourite chocolate cake. This is only natural, as your body will crave the food it is accustomed to receiving.
However, these intense cravings won’t last forever. And while this is good news, there’s still one problem: Dealing with these cravings in the beginning of your diet when you’re most vulnerable to resorting to old habits.
Moreover, you must also contend with symptoms like headaches, insomnia, irritability, mood changes, and depression. This is particularly true for those with true food addictions. Giving into cravings will provide only temporary relief, sending many searching for more permanent solutions.
Not all solutions to manage cravings are temporary. Here are 5 tips you can use to stop your food cravings for good.
How to Stop Food Cravings
The relation between hydration and hunger can be quite complicated. However, research suggests that many hunger symptoms are actually dehydration symptoms. In fact, dehydration often causes symptoms like sleepiness, lightheadedness or dizziness, and headaches. In many cases, people mistake these same symptoms for hunger.
The most prominent symptom is the dip in energy that results from dehydration. After all, most people believe that when they feel tired, they must eat to raise energy levels once again.
Instead of eating the next time you’re hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes instead. This will often resolve your hunger and diminish any symptoms you’re experiencing as well.
Get Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep causes many issues for your body. Just some of these issues include cardiovascular complications (like heart disease and heart attacks), depression, premature ageing, and of course, low energy.
If you wake up tired due to a lack of sleep, you will experience greater food cravings because your body will think it needs to eat to elevate its energy levels. And while this isn’t entirely problematic, it is in consideration with most people’s habits.
In fact, most people will reach for foods with little to no nutritional value, like processed food for quick ‘pick me ups.’ According to Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor,
“high-level brain regions required for complex judgments and decisions become blunted by a lack of sleep, while more primal brain structures that control motivation and desire are amplified.”
This means you’re more likely to reach for a burger than vegetables.
By getting in your sleep, you can avoid succumbing to your cravings.
Distract Yourself and Boost Your Mood
Do you find yourself wandering around your kitchen snacking on everything for no reason at all? There is a reason: for this: It’s because you’re bored and in need of a distraction!
Rather than turning to food, manage your cravings with a quick mood boost or distraction by:
- Listening to uplifting music – Uplifting music will get you moving, boost your mood, and destroy any ‘hunger pains’ you think you’re feeling.
- Call someone – According to John Foreyt, PhD, “Cravings typically last ten minutes.” In the meantime, call a friend or family member to take your mind off of the ice cream or other junk food you’re craving for.
- Run errands – If you have errands to run, get started while you’re experiencing cravings. This gets you out of the house and keeps your mind off of food until the craving has passed!
- Exercise – What better way to reinforce healthy habits than with exercise? Head over to the gym or even just go on a walk. Any form of exercise will get your mind off of food and refocused on your goals.
- Meditate – Don’t feel like exercising? Meditate instead! This can be as simple as sitting on the floor and focusing on your breathing. Remember, 10 minutes is all it takes to overcome a craving!
No matter how you choose to busy yourself, it’s important that you do so as not to heighten your focus on food.
Allow Yourself a Cheat Day
No matter how strong your willpower or determination to lose weight and keep it off, cravings will arise at one point or another. This is particularly true if you choose to eliminate entire food groups.
However, a cheat day can help curb your cravings and keep you on track.
There is significant research on cheat meals and cheat days suggesting that you should not incorporate one in your diet. Most research claims that doing so hinders adaptation to your healthy diet, feeds food addictions, causes guilt, or can lead to binging. This last finding is most significant.
In fact, the issue many experience with cheat days is the fact that eating the foods you miss can often cause over-indulging. But there are specific, psychological benefits of a cheat meal or day as well.
There are two benefits to be precise:
- Psychological break – Staying committed to a healthy diet can cause a significant amount of stress. Giving yourself a cheat day keeps you more motivated from a long-term perspective while providing a much-needed (and well-deserved) psychological break.
- Shock your system – If you’ve reduced calories to lose weight, eating more than your body is used to can provide a shock that increases your metabolism. This makes it simpler to lose weight as well.
A cheat day also keeps you from feeling deprived. This means that you should allow yourself to eat ‘off-limit’ foods without feeling guilty. By doing so once a week, you can do your part to turn a diet into a lifestyle that you can stick with for quite some time to come.
Create an Inspiration Board
Do you find it challenging to visualise your goals? It can be difficult and without your goals in front of you, it can be difficult to remember why you’re making a change and to remain steadfast to your dietary changes as well.
The simplest way to stick to your goals is to create an inspirational collage or image board of your goals. When you feel as if you’re going to give in to a food craving, view the board to remind yourself why you’ve made the choices you have.
Designing your own inspiration board doesn’t have to be difficult either. And in truth, you can create anything you want that will keep you on track.
Here are just a few ideas to help you get started:
- Specific individuals – Do you aspire to be like or look like a specific person? Many have a celebrity or fitness figure they admire and by putting a picture of them as your inspiration, you can remember what you’re working toward every day.
- Your family – Are you trying to lose weight to be more active with your children? Or, perhaps you want to achieve optimal health to live a long, happy life with your spouse? No matter the reason, putting a photo of your family can help keep you on track when your willpower begins to fail.
- Calorie charts – Do you have some favourite foods that are rather unhealthy for you (as we all do)? If you do, you should include nutritional information for these items to remind yourself why you shouldn’t be eating them. Seeing the information is much more motivating than just telling yourself to avoid the item.
If you’re finding it difficult to visualise your goals or get started on your inspiration board, Pinterest is a great resource to begin. On the site you can browse what others have constructed for themselves, which will help you evaluate what will work better for you as well.
If You’re Struggling With Weight Loss, A Supplement is a Great Addition to Your Healthy Lifestyle
When anyone makes a goal to adapt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight, food cravings most commonly derail even the most motivated people. But for those who are committed to making a change for the better, the tips above will make a significant difference to your ability to remain steadfast and committed to your goals.
If you’re looking to further your results, a supplement can help as well. PhenQ has a scientifically proven balance of ingredients designed to burn fat, stop fat production, suppress your appetite, boost energy, and improve your moods. This makes it the perfect addition to help diminish your cravings and keep you on track!
You can take control over your food cravings.
And by using the tips above, you’re on the right track toward doing just that!