8 Ways to Stop Unhealthy Food Cravings
Food cravings can come in all shapes and sizes. Try one of these eight ways to stop unhealthy food cravings, so a healthy relationship (and body weight) can naturally surface!
Food cravings can come in all shapes and sizes, whether it be a small urge to enjoy that chocolate covered pretzel your coworker brought in or a large impulse to take a spoon to a full carton of chocolate ice cream. And while all foods earn a spot into a well-balanced diet and should be enjoyed, consistently feeding into unhealthy food cravings can turn into an unhealthy relationship with food, subsequently leading to potential eating disorders and significant weight gain. But with these eight ways to stop unhealthy food cravings, a healthy relationship (and body weight) can naturally surface!
How to Stop Food Cravings
Embrace the concept of "Out of sight, out of mind." If feeding into a craving is largely inevitable, keep distance between you and that food item. Additionally, keep trigger foods out of the house. Doing so can help stop cravings altogether, as you are often less likely to make a trip to the store for one single item in a ravenous stoup.
2. Distract Yourself
Stop the crave train by distracting yourself from that desired food. Divert your attentions to other activities during bouts of intense cravings, as they will often subside naturally. Even if it is listening to your favorite four-minute song on the radio, refreshing your mind to other attentions can diminish the appeal of a food craving.
Along with the initial mental distraction exercising can provide, studies consistently suggest workouts can physically manage food cravings and weight in general. Physiologically, exercise can increase the effectiveness of muscle cell's ability to uptake and regulate blood sugars. And with stabilized blood sugars, energy levels remain mostly consistent and disrupts the enticement of seeking out food.
4. Consider Nutritional Needs
Though the body may be desiring the rich tastes of chocolate or the sweetness of ice cream, it may be yearning for something much more than an initial, tasty pleasure. Oftentimes, the body does a good job of letting you know when it needs nourishment, such as when blood sugar levels are low and it yearns for quick energy.
5. Drink More Water
People often mistake thirst for hunger, feeding into a perceived appetite and disrupting thirst mechanisms. Keeping the body hydrated not only keeps it working efficiently, but can reduce the desire to seek out food in its place. Sipping on water can further preoccupy you from food cravings. And with these 13 ways to make your water taste better, reaching for that sweet treat will not even cross your mind!
6. Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating promotes the connection between food experiences and the senses, showing promising treatment in eating disorders and obesity. The practice further encourages staying in tune with hunger and satiety cues, eating to satisfy them while staying aware of environmental factors.
Though this may be seeming like "sleeping off" the distraction, the practice is much more than avoiding the craving. Sleep deprivation has numerous consequences, craving intensification being one of them. Despite the absent reasoning of why the phenomenon occurs, research does show inadequate sleep triggers hunger, often craving those notorious "comfort" foods that tend to be rich in fat and sugar. To reduce the risk of craving and overeating on such products, sleep it away by snoozing the recommended seven to nine hours each night.
8. Feed into It
Sometimes the body truly is hungry. After addressing the tips atop and the craving is still present, your body may just be calling for nourishment. But instead of ravening on a large bowl of pasta, continue to keep meals portioned. Sticking to a well-balanced diet filled with whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, dairy products, and healthy fats can keep the body naturally satiated. A nutritionally adequate diet also offers robust vitamins and minerals, filling in nutritional gaps and keeping the body running efficiently. And from time-to-time (and sticking to the concept of moderation), allow yourself that piece of chocolate! Depriving your body of what it truly desires can ultimately lead to a binge of that craving later down the road.