One of the toughest parts about starting (and sticking to) a healthy weight loss plan is battling those invasive food cravings. The reasons behind you wanting to eat every sugary and salty thing you can find while you’re on a diet are both psychological and physical. Luckily, there are some simple tips and tricks you can use to combat those cravings and stick to your weight loss goals.
1. Pack on the protein
One of the best ways to curb cravings is to make sure that every meal and snack includes lean protein. Not only will the protein help maintain even blood sugar levels, it will also keep you feeling fuller longer. Turkey, nuts, eggs, low-fat cheese, skinless chicken and fish are all excellent sources of lean protein. Just remember to consume them in moderation since most of them contain high amounts of fat.
2. Watch the clock
If you’re waiting more than four to five hours between meals, you are actually increasing the likelihood of inducing food cravings. Keep your hunger at bay by eating several smaller meals and snacks in a day, as opposed to three large ones. You’ll also want to ensure you’re eating lean protein, healthy carbs, and plenty of fruits and vegetables at meals and snack time. The right combination will help keep you satisfied and your vitamin and mineral levels even, avoiding hunger pangs that can lead to over-indulgence. Just make sure you’re snacking smart. Pretzels, popcorn, cheese, fruit and vegetables are always a better choice than sugary or fried snacks.
3. Quench your thirst
If your dehydrated, your body may give off hunger signals, leading you to eat when all you needed was to tame your thirst. The next time you have a wild craving, drink a tall glass of water and wait a little while to see if it passes. Even if you do decide to eat, the water will leave you fuller, ensuring you eat less. To help keep yourself hydrated all day long, keep a pitcher of water with lemon, lime and orange slices in your fridge, and drink at least 7-10 glasses every day.
4. Chew it over
Recent nutritional studies suggest that chewing on a sweet or minty piece of gum can help keep food cravings under control. Stick to sugar free gum, and keep a few different flavors on hand to combat your sweet tooth. But don’t chew it too often. Excessive gum chewing can wreck your metabolism and your teeth.
5. Brush your teeth
The next time your mind wanders to the dark side and you’re craving cookies, chips, or other unhealthy snacks, try this psychological trick: get up, brush your teeth, rinse with a minty mouthwash, floss and then apply a peppermint lip balm. The fresh, minty feeling will fool your brain into feeling like you’ve already ate, and nobody wants salty, crumbly foods sticking to their freshly cleaned teeth and lips.
6. Get moving
Tempted to gobble down the entire carton of ice cream? Time for some major distraction. Hit the gym, walk the dog, call your best friend, polish your resume or polish your nails. Sometimes, overcoming a food craving is all about taking your mind off food for a little while. Boredom, anxiety and stress can all lead to snacking, so get yourself up and moving. Treat yourself to a bubble bath or a pedicure, and you might be surprised at how much one pleasure replaces another.
While it’s never easy to fight food cravings, you shouldn’t let them ruin your weight loss goals. Give these tricks a try and find the best one for you. Never skip your breakfast, always make smart snack choices, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly and get enough sleep every night to stay slim and healthy. What are your tricks to keep food cravings under control?