Everyone has food cravings at some point or another, but only a few are able to truly handle these intense cravings to maneuver past them. If you often find yourself giving into food cravings and aren’t making progress towards your healthy goals, it’s time that you put together a plan to conquer them once and for all.
Fortunately, cravings really don’t have to get the best of you as long as you have a plan to outsmart them. Let’s look at a few helpful ways that you can combat food cravings and not sabotage your healthy eating.
The very first tip to remember if you want to avoid food cravings is to make sure that you’re eating regularly throughout the day. Yes…. I am talking to all YOU, meal skippers! We need calories to survive, and cravings will always be higher when hunger is increasing. In addition, those who eat on a consistent basis are going to have more stable blood sugar levels and this factor alone will decrease food cravings.
Aim to eat every three to five hours (depending on your activity level and caloric needs) throughout the day since this will make sure you are providing a steady stream of nutrients that your body needs.
Eat High Quality Protein
Studies show higher protein diets lead people to naturally eat fewer total calories. The feeling of fullness and satisfaction that protein provides decreases appetite. Protein foods also tend to raise leptin (hormone that decreases hunger) and decrease ghrelin (hormone that stimulates hunger). Consuming protein also helps with insulin and blood sugar management. Ideally, eating protein at every meal is key, but if you need to prioritize one meal, choose breakfast. Studies show that waking up to a healthy protein, such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters or a protein shake help people lose weight, reduce cravings, and burn calories.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Proximity to food influences how much of it you eat. If your will power is weak, keep healthy foods right where you can see them, and stash unhealthy ones in hard-to-reach places, like at the store. Like the rest of you I have food cravings too, but the temptation is so much worse when my food cravings are in arms reach. So if I actually have to leave the house or work to go buy my food cravings, the chances that will happen are so much less than whether or not I will eat the double stuffed Oreos that are stashed in my pantry.
Finally, the last thing you can do to help control your cravings is to plan some cheat meals. Some people really like cheat days vs. cheat meals, but you’ll feel better and be more successful with meeting your nutritional goals if you don’t over indulge all day long. Depending on your goals, most likely you will be able to include 2 cheat meals over a week’s time.
Honestly, I am not a big fan of the word “cheat,” I think it’s perfectly fine to occasionally indulge. The word “cheat” suggest food is either good or bad, and when guilt or shame is attached to a food it can destroy one’s motivation quickly. So don’t beat yourself up over enjoying some less nutritional food from time to time. If you eat clean 80% of the time, you are sure to meet your nutritional goals, and these times of indulgence can motivate you to get through the less-awesome meals, reinvigorate your training, and make your life happy.
So there you have it! Preparing to avoid cravings before they start will enable you to be successful with your goals and see the inches melt away.