One thing that people who are trying to lose weight struggle with is the cravings they have for sweets, candies, or chips that they know is bad for them. When people make the decision to try to lose weight through diet and exercise they normally put themselves on some kind of restrictive or habit changing diet. Because humans are habitual creatures it tends to take at least a week if not longer to change ones habit or create a new habit. Ultimately, in the realm of dieting this leads to cravings for those foods that we love so much, such as sweets or high fatty, processed foods. Unfortunately, when we give into the temptation of our cravings, we lead ourselves astray of the goals to lose weight. In most cases this leads to thoughts of self-doubt and disappointment and in some cases it can lead to quitting the challenge to lose weight.
When you start a weight loss routine, whether it be one that is already set up such as the Atkins diet or one that you have planned on your own, you need to know that you will crave the foods that you no longer will be eating. Your body will crave sugar and fat because that is what it is used to getting on a daily basis. By changing what you eat, its almost like reprogramming your body to understand that the food you give it needs to be used as fuel and energy rather than to be stored as fat. So what do you do when your body craves those naughty foods that will throw you off your healthy course of living?
First off if you give into to your cravings, don’t beat yourself up. Everybody does it, it’s the people that can say, “Ok, I made a mistake this time, I am going to make a decision not to do it the next” and prepare yourself on how to deal with it the next time the cravings happen, who will continue on and lose weight. Giving into to your cravings every now and then is not going to kill you, it may set your goals back but it won’t ruin your life. You need to make a time to cheat because the temptation is always going to be there. Knowing when you can cheat or setting a limit to how much you can have will make your cravings less than a hiccup in your road to weight loss success.
It would be nice if we were able to completely rid ourselves of cravings, unfortunately its impossible to un-know what these foods taste like and therefore we have to deal with them. The best way to kill our cravings for these foods is to learn the tips and tricks to withstand the craving or suppress it. The best way to rid yourself of craving these foods is to get rid of them from your house, kitchen and cabinets altogether. Our eyes play a huge role in our stomachs ability to be hungry. If we see something that looks delicious, we want to eat it. Once you get rid of them from your sight, you need to make a conscious chose to not buy them. This can be more difficult for people who don’t have a strong sense of self-control. For people like this dietary changes, exercise and food selection are going to be the best way to reduce food cravings.
By simply adding certain foods and ingredients into your diet you can kill cravings by suppressing your appetite, but also increasing your metabolism, and helping yourself to burn fat and calories. Fiber is the best way to reduce sugar cravings. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet regularly. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer because it takes longer for the body to break it down. The longer you feel full, the fewer cravings you will have. Fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of fiber, not to mention they are filled with vitamins and minerals. Apples have the highest fiber content as well as blueberries, celery and grapefruit. Lean protein is another great appetite suppressant. By introducing lean protein into your diet you cannot only reduce your sugar cravings but you will increase muscle tonicity and decrease weight. Many of our body’s functions rely on protein to make energy; therefore most sugar cravings come from not getting enough protein in our diet. Whey protein can also be used to make meal shakes that curb cravings. When drank the body releases appetite suppressing hormones into the stomach. This tells us that we are full.
Drink more water. Dehydration is a fast way to increase cravings. Our body holds onto water, which makes us heavier. By drinking more water and keeping the body hydrated our body will release excess amounts of water that it was holding onto. Plus with a stomach full of water, you won’t feel hungry at all. Drink green tea. People who don’t like the taste of water can add flavor their water or drink green tea. Green tea is great for the heart, it’s a powerful antioxidant, which boosts the metabolism and burns fat. It also suppresses the appetite because tea is warm which satisfies the stomach and is very low in calories.
Calcium is also another cravings killer. By taking a calcium supplement daily or eating foods high in calcium such as yogurt, skim milk, and low fat cheese women can reduce their cravings during PMS. Eggs, which are high in protein and contain calcium, are a great food for breakfast. By eating eggs at breakfast you can reduce your appetite throughout the day, which helps to lose weight but also burns more fat. Never skip breakfast. While we sleep our blood sugar drops. When we wake up if you don’t eat, your blood sugar will continue to drop and your metabolism will slow. This will lead to sugar cravings and decreased energy and output. Eat small meals every couple of hours. By eating every 2-3 hours you can regulate your blood sugar. This will give your body a constant supply of energy throughout the day, which keeps your metabolism up. A high metabolism burns more calories. This eliminates the body from craving anything throughout the day because you are constantly supplying with the fuel it needs. By exercising 30 minutes a day your brain will release leptin and appetite-suppressing hormone, which makes you feel full. When you are craving something go for a walk or run to get past the craving.
Ultimately, when you have a craving it normally lasts 15-20 minutes and then passes. So if you don’t have any of these craving killing foods around and you can’t take a break to go for a walk, chew on some sugar free gum. This should get you over the hump until the craving goes away.
Sarah Labdar, “Secrets to Eliminate Your Food Cravings When Trying to Lose Weight”, Everyday Health