If we are trying to restrict our calorie intake, one of the major challenges we will have is in fighting those unhealthy food cravings when they come, as they inevitably will! It’s perfectly normal to have these desires, but it’s important to know how to deal with them, as they can easily sabotage any diet and fitness plan. Here are some tips for foiling these unwelcome impulses:
- The number one food craving is chocolate! (no great surprise there). Try just having chocolate after a meal, when you are already full, as the craving may then weaken. This trick generally works for me. I usually eat chocolate no more than once a day, and have just a few squares after my evening meal, which keeps the craving under control.
- Sugar and sweets are big temptations, too. You get an instant “lift” to your energy levels, but this drops again rapidly, causing you to crave the sweet things again. Never skip meals, and try a high-protein snack to break the habit (it does work).
- If you crave chips and savoury snacks, try lower-fat versions. Make your own low-fat chips or munch on baked bread slices instead – it has the crucial “crunch” effect.
- Bread and pasta are favourite common foods to crave. They are high-carbohydrate, and the carbs in them stimulate serotonin releaase in the brain (the anti-depressive, “feelgood” chemical) which could be part of their appeal. Control portion sizes and restrict buttery and creamy sauces.
- Whenever you feel a food craving coming on, try changing your location. Your current surroundings ma be sending signals to your brain that you desire a certain a food, out of force of habit.
- Change what you are doing. This will focus your mind on a different activity for a while, and you’ll forget about your desires.
- Distract your taste buds. If you want something salty, eat a spicy food item, although lower in calories. If you want something sweet, eat a sour food. This can really help to confuse your taste buds sufficiently to quell the cravings.
- Give yourself some kind of reward for avoiding the cravings (but not chocolate!)
- Don’t starve yourself. You’ll lower your blood-sugar levels and weakening your will power – then you’ll end up bingeing on the very foods you want to avoid.
- Eat calcium rich foods. Sometimes food cravings can be traced to calcium deficiency, so your body starts fancying certain foods to make up for it.
I find that these tips really work for me as part of a diet regime, so I hope they work for you too.