It's 3:00 in the afternoon, your bored, tired, and the craving for junk food hit. This is the dieter's worst enemy. Cravings are one of the biggest reasons why people have problems losing weight and keeping it off. Whether you crave, sugar, salt, or soda there are ways you can beat these urges.
1. Drink Water. Thirst is often confused with hunger or food cravings. 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.
2. Eat More Protein. Eating more protein may reduce your appetite and keep you from overeating. It also reduces cravings, and helps you feel full and satisfied for longer. Increasing protein intake may reduce cravings by up to 60% and cut the desire to snack at night by 50%.
3. Distance Yourself From the Craving. When you feel a craving coming on, try to distance yourself from it. For example, you can take a brisk walk or a shower to shift your mind into something else. A change in thought and environment may help stop the craving. Some studies have also shown that chewing gum can help reduce appetite and cravings.
4. Plan Your Meals. If possible, try to plan your meals for the next day or upcoming week. By already knowing what you're going to eat, you eliminate the factor of spontaneity and uncertainty. If you don't have to think about the following meal, you will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings.
5. Avoid Getting Extremely Hungry. Hunger is one of the biggest reasons why we experience cravings. To avoid getting extremely hungry, it may be a good idea to eat regularly and have healthy snacks close at hand. By being prepared, and avoiding long periods of hunger, you may be able to prevent the craving from showing up at all.
6. Fight Stress. Stress may induce food cravings and influence eating behaviors, especially for women. Women under stress have been shown to eat significantly more calories and experience more cravings than non-stressed women. Furthermore, stress raises your blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area. Try to minimize stress in your environment by planning ahead, meditating, and in general slowing down.
7. Practice Mindful Eating. Mindful eating is about practicing mindfulness, a type of meditation, in relation to foods and eating. It teaches you to develop awareness of your eating habits, emotions, hunger, cravings, and physical sensations. Mindful eating teaches you to distinguish between cravings and actual physical hunger. It helps you choose your response, instead of acting thoughtlessly and impulsively. Eating mindfully involves being present while you eat, slowing down and chewing thoroughly. It is also important to avoid distractions, like the TV or your phone.