When you try to lose weight you get food cravings. Why? Because you have taught your body and your brain to a certain type of diet – a diet that has made you gain weight. When you try to change your diet your brain doesn’t seem to be very happy. You can almost hear it scream ”Hey, I don’t want this! I want all the ”good stuff” I had before”. Obviously, you know it wasn’t that good for your health. So it is inevitable, there will be cravings.
Now, I’ve written about this a little bit before: About how to get rid of sugar and also about healthy alternatives to sweet cravings. But what else can be done besides either getting rid of sugar or choosing a healthier alternative? What can you do about your cravings to stay sane when you try to lose weight?
How you can stop food cravings
There are two types of things you can do:
- Things you’ll do immediately when the craving hits
- Things that you’ll commit to in the long run
Here are 10 tips for both:
Tips on things to do when you get food cravings
- Brush your teeth – you really don’t feel like eating anything after you’ve just brushed your teeth.
- Do something, anything! Go for a walk, wash some dishes, read a book. You might just be bored and need to take your mind off food.
- Are you hungry? Eat a proper meal. Like right now.
- If you’re just a bit peckish, have some olives or dill pickles. They might satisfy your craving.
- Remember this: If hunger is not the problem then food is not the answer. Make it your mantra.
- Tell yourself to wait an hour or two. The craving will pass.
- Drink something – a large glass of cold water or some coffee or tea.
- Stop and think. Ask yourself: What’s the real reason behind this craving? In my case the reason would probably be: ”I’ve had a really long day at work, I need a treat.” That’s pretty typical, right? You’re tired and worn out, you feel like you’ve earned a reward. Now, what you have to do is to replace that reward with something else. It doesn’t have to be food – actually, it shouldn’t be food.
- Remember how sick and tired you felt the last time you had too much sugar (or anything else that’s unhealthy). You don’t want to feel that way.
- Remind yourself why you’re trying to lose weight. It could be something as serious as an illness or something as ”superficial” as picturing yourself fit and fabulous in a bikini, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that you have a goal to reach and you don’t want anything getting in your way.
Tips on how to stop food cravings in the long run
- Make sure that you eat enough, 1000 calories a day is not enough.
- Take a look at your lifestyle and figure out how often you need to eat: Some people prefer to have 5 – 6 smaller meals a day, some like to have just three bigger ones. Neither is incorrect. Do what feels right for you.
- Change your routines. You might have gotten used to always having something (unhealthy) to eat while you’re watching TV or you’ve always started your day with a croissant and now miss it. Create new routines.
- Plan well. When you start a diet you have to prepare to obstacles. Cravings are a serious obstacle and you probably know what you’ll most likely be craving. So decide in advance, how you’re going to replace that craving. If it’s chocolate, you can for example decide that you can have two squares of dark chocolate each night with your coffee or tea.
- If you can, have an ”off day” once a week or month. That’s when you can eat whatever you want. This works for some people and doesn’t for others. But it might help with your cravings: If you have an off day say every Saturday then when you crave some ice cream on Wednesday it is easy to say to yourself that you can have some on Saturday.
- Drink enough water.
- Have lots of fruits and vegetables at hand, preferably peeled and cut in your fridge.
- Every time you crave for something, write your thoughts down. Write what it is that you crave, how you are feeling and how you got past that craving. You might start noticing a pattern and in the long run learn how to stop those cravings.
- Make sure you sleep enough. If you’re sleep deprived you’re more likely to crave carbs, and not the healthy ones. Get 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night.
- And the most important one: Make conscious efforts to eat less sugar. Sugar is probably the biggest reason you get cravings. If you can, try eliminating sugar completely, at least for a while. That’s what I did when I did Whole30. I cannot emphasize this enough: reduce your intake of sugar as much as you can.
What works for you? How do you stop your cravings?