Want to know how to reduce food cravings and lose weight? You are at the right place. Overpowering impulses can really derail dieters; to the point where they become discouraged. However, food cravings are challenges that can be managed. And one important step towards combating them is to understand why you have them to begin with. So, let’s dive in and see some of the ways to reduce food cravings.
Ways to reduce food cravings
1. Reduce your stress levels:
One of the ways to reduce food cravings is to be stress-free. When you feel stressed out, you often want to indulge in emotional eating – you crave comfort foods. A study completed revealed that women who were stressed tended to be prone to have cravings for sweets against women who were not stressed. Stress in itself can cause weight gain, even without food cravings, because it releases levels of cortisol which is the stress hormone and this promotes belly fat.
2. Eat more proteins and fewer carbs:
Proteins are known to make you feel fuller and satisfied for longer, which is beneficial when you are trying to lose weight. Eating protein helps to preserve your muscle mass, which burns up the calories, resulting in better weight loss.
3. Change your habits.
So for instance, if you are inclined to stop at the fast food joint, rather stop at the park. Often changing habits can change your cravings. New habits, new places, and new foods all help to distract you from food cravings.
4. Plan your meals
So that you know what you are going to eat. This will eliminate uncertainty and also spontaneity in reaching for anything, especially if you are in a hurry.
5. Avoid getting too hungry
A healthy diet also includes hunger pangs, but when you are under-eating the food cravings can get even worse. Rather than allowing intense feelings of hunger to engulf you, try and work out a regular planned pattern of healthy meals and snacks to avoid intense cravings.
6. A spinach extract helps
Spinach extracts are made from spinach leaves and aids in fat digestion. It is an excellent remedy to reduce food craving. Studies reveal that when you take 3.7–5 grams of spinach extract at your meal, it is possible to reduce your appetite and food cravings for a few hours. In a study completed on overweight women who consumed around 5 grams of spinach extract each day, it was discovered that they had reduced cravings even for chocolate and foods high in sugar by as much as 87%-95%. That’s a lot! Researchers from Appetite, an international research-journal, say that women who ate their spinach supplements had raised levels of hormone satiety and lower levels of their hunger hormones. This led to a 95% decrease in food cravings, making it easier for women to stick to eating three meals a day.
7. Mindful eating
It is a good practice, like kind of meditating on your eating and your foods. Mindful eating will teach you to develop awareness of your hunger, your emotions, eating habits, your cravings, and your physical sensations. It teaches you to differentiate between real physical hunger and cravings, helping you to choose the way you respond instead of just acting impulsively or thoughtlessly. You are in the moment while you eat, aware of what you are eating, not eating blankly while you stay more focused on TV or your smartphone.
8. Get enough sleep
Studies carried out in 2013 proved that when you don’t get enough sleep, you can actually change the functioning of your hormones. When there is a hormonal imbalance, you contribute to weight gain, because you give in to food cravings. Getting enough sleep brings balance to the hormones and reduces food cravings.
9. Don’t do your grocery shopping when hungry:
The worst place to frequent when you have food cravings is your grocery store. Too many tantalizing snacks are around at the supermarkets – fresh pies, meats, pastries, and sometimes you feel you just have to indulge. Rather go shopping when you have had a good meal; never when you are starving.
10. Drink plenty of water
Drinking water before a meal cleanses the system and also makes you feel fuller, more satisfied, preventing you from overeating. Not only that, but drinking water throughout the day also prevents you from becoming sluggish, helping you to feel more active and alive which benefits your weight loss efforts.
11. Control the portions
Some people avoid the food they crave, making them sometimes to feel resentful and often to overeat. It is not the end of the world to succumb to the craving by eating a small controlled portion, like when you have completed a healthy task such as a workout or a long walk.
12. Replace the cravings:
Instead of giving into the food cravings, substitute them with nutritious options. So if your craving is potato chips, rather replace them with something healthier like walnuts, cashews or popcorn.
If you have a craving for chocolate, it could indicate a magnesium deficiency. But almonds also contain magnesium and are very healthy. If you are obsessed with the idea of chocolate, try and opt for the dark milk-free natural chocolate that contains at least 70% of cocoa. Instead of sugar, use fruits like cherries or peaches or melon. Even dried fruits like raisins can help to combat the craving for sugar.
Rather than drinking sodas when you feel a craving coming on, opt for sparkling water with some lemon juice squeezed in. It offers a similar feeling to soda, but there are far fewer calories and sparkling water contains no caffeine.
People really get cravings for cheese, but rather purchase low fat, low sodium cheese. Nutritional yeast is also what people buy to use over their food instead of cheese because it has a cheesy flavor, with fewer calories. Thing is, having food cravings when you are desperate to lose weight is not something to simply laugh off. Yes, most of us have had times when we are stressed or in a bad mood and we grab hold of our favorite comfort foods. But there’s a difference between getting ‘carried away’ once in a while to full-on food cravings and food addiction. Some people crave food when they are not even hungry.
But the key is to train the brain not to have the cravings, or put them to the background and carry on with your day like normal. If you give in to your cravings and eat something after a meal, for instance, your brain gets used to eating that snack after a meal, it gets into the habit of craving that snack. Habits are formed by repetitions. Sometimes, as mentioned above, you eat when you are not even hungry, just because you have formed the habit of doing it.
Food cravings are a dieter’s worst enemy. In fact, food cravings rank as being one of the biggest problems people experience when trying to lose weight and to keep it off. There are ways that you can combat food cravings. Don’t feel bad – cravings are common and more than 50% of people say they crave certain foods regularly. But unfortunately, they do play a role in weight gain, binge eating, and food addiction. By being aware of the food cravings and also understanding why you have them makes it easier for you to avoid it to try and eat healthily. If you are someone who is suffering from food cravings whilst trying to lose weight, and you feel they are running amok with your diet plan, demanding satisfaction and causing you to regularly say, “I’ll start my diet tomorrow”, you need to outsmart the cravings – and you can. They can occur for a lot of reasons, and many times, it’s not from hunger. Desiring specific foods can stem from different psychological and physical causes.
Hope this helps you reduce your food cravings and lose weight.