Here are the best tips we found from leading health, weight loss, and psychology experts on how to deal with and prevent cravings. It’s not the same non sense you’ve been hearing about…
No matter what else you do, you’ll have cravings if you’re dehydrated.
Thirst is actually a late sign of dehydration. First you’ll feel tired, foggy, and you’ll be looking for a snack to boost your energy.
Before you decide to reach for a snack, drink some water, seltzer, or herbal tea and then see how you feel.
As a rule of thumb, drink about half of your weight in water each day.
For example If you weigh 150 pounds, you’d want to drink about 75 oz of water a day.
A big diet mistake is restricting too much in an attempt to lose weight fast. If you don’t eat enough then survival mechanisms kick in, which make you more hungry. Your body does this to keep you from getting rid of emergency fat stores.
Will power can only take you so far when your body knows it needs more food than you’re giving it.
Use this online calculator to find out your ideal calorie target, plus grab some free meal plans.
Chew Your Food
If you rush through every meal then you’ll be missing the mental satisfaction you need to prevent you from craving something else. Studies have shown that being full is only part of what will stop you from reaching for more food. In one study, participants with amnesia continued eating regardless of how full they were because they forgot that they had ever eaten.
The best way to slow yourself down, and pay attention to what you’re eating is to chew every bite thoroughly.
That might seem impossible to those of you who are fast eaters. But eating fast is just a habit that you can train yourself to break.
Another benefit of slowing down is that you’ll always feel more full with less food. It takes some time for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that it’s full. If you eat fast then your brain won’t have enough time to realize how much food you ate.
When you have a craving, it’s not just a desire for the taste of a food. It’s actually a trick that your brain is playing on you.
A part of your brain called the reward center is urging you to have the treat so it can get a rush of feel good hormones. As long as the reward center is focused on the treat, it’ll keep giving you the urge to eat it.
You might think that using will power and convincing yourself that you shouldn’t have it will stop you. But you’re actually making it harder for yourself.
If you say to yourself “I shouldn’t have that cookie”, all your reward center hears is “cookie”. It’ll go on urging you to eat it regardless of how convincing your argument is to resist.
Your best bet is to distract yourself. Don’t think about it, just get it out of your face and move on.
Stress is the number one cause of cravings, and meditation is the number one way to reduce stress.
Meditation will also give your reward center the feel good hormones that it was trying to get from food.
Once you get in the habit of meditating, you’ll actually start to crave it more than food when your under stress.
If you’re a beginner, then see our post on Top 5 Tips For Meditation for more guidance.