You’re trying to lose weight or keep it off, but cravings is always there. No matter what your craving food is—chocolate, pizza, burgers, ice cream, cupcakes—you probably wrestle with what you want to do with what you “should” do. Unfortunately, it’s true that it makes so hard to avoid these especially if you’ve been fighting for it for weeks now. To efficiently fight these cravings that hinder your goal in losing weight, here are 10 ways to help you.
Craving for sweets, like chocolate or candies? Try eating a bowl of super-sweet sliced fruits like strawberries or grapes. What about chips? Crunch on salted, nuts like in-shell pistachios. Substituting what you’re jonesing for with a similar-tasting healthy equivalent should be enough to satisfy you, says Marisa Moore, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Cravings are short-lived and soon you’ll realize that you forget about it and that it have helped your health with the good decision of taking a healthy snack. However, if you really have to munch on something, eat them slowly, one at a time.
2. Pair the food you crave with something healthy
It’ll work best when you try to satisfy your yearning with something healthy, not only it makes meals more fun and tasty, but still gives your body the nutrition it needs to function at its best, suggests a Vanderbilt University study. Keep in mind to pair a larger portion of healthy foods with a small amount of what you think you want. The researchers call it a “vice-virtue bundle.” So here’s a tip: grab the salad with grilled salmon with a side of fries or get a piece of grilled chicken and veggies with a small bowl of mac and cheese. Fill up on the good stuff, and eat a quarter to half a portion of the splurge.
3. Do not skimp on breakfast
You know well that skipping breakfast is a big No-no. This will help cravings at bay if you eat a few calories in the morning. There is one research from the Nutrition Journal, that overweight girls who ate a 350-calorie breakfast with at least 13 grams of protein had reduced cravings for sweet and savory foods compared to those who do not eat breakfast. Protein may help stimulate the release of dopamine, a neurochemical involved in the brain’s reward centers that can manage cravings. TIP: Try a half-cup of cottage cheese, 2 hard-boiled eggs, or a cup of cooked oatmeal with two tablespoons of peanut butter for starter.
4. Identify the reason of your craving
Christine Palumbo, RD, a faculty member of Benedictine University in Lisle, IL recommends keeping a cravings journal. List down a few notes on your phone too. When a craving hits, identify your emotions, whether you’re tired, anxious, stressed, bored or sad. Eventually, you’ll pick out common patterns, and you can think os something to deal with the causes moving forward, rather than trying to resolve them by eating.
5. You pile on the guilt
Feeling guilty may make you try to ignore your thoughts, a strategy that actually backfires, causing you to obsess over that food even more. Delighting in delicious food rather than feeling shame about eating it may be key. People who said they associated chocolate cake with celebration had more control over their eating habits and had less trouble maintaining and losing weight, reported a 2014 study in the journal Appetite.
6. Avoid too much servings
You might have forgot that these are just cravings and you’re still on your goal in losing weight. So keep in mind the portions when you indulge on these cheesecake or brownies. Research on 104 students found that people who were given small snack-sized portions of chocolate, apple pie, or potato chips reported feeling as satisfied as those presented with larger servings—and they ate 76.8% fewer calories. So take a small serving, eat it slowly, and then wait 15 minutes until the yearning for more subsides, and that is for sure. This way, you got what you wanted but still on track.
7. You try willpower
A winning strategy is distraction. Did you know that a 15-minute walk can also help reduce chocolate cravings, reports a 2013 UK study. Sometimes straight-up willpower doesn’t work. “It leads people to feeling like failures when they give in,” says Moore. One study found that three minutes spent playing the game Tetris reduced the strength of food cravings better than a control condition where people spent the same amount of time waiting around. Since cravings usually don’t stick around long, you just need to stick it out momentarily.
8. Cross out the temptation from our shopping list
Out of sight, out of mind it is. If it’s midnight and you want a cookie, you’re probably not going to go out and get some, that is for sure. On the other hand, if they’re staring you in the face every time you open the pantry, it’s all too easy to grab one- another sure thing. If your family insists you keep foods like cookies in the house, at least move them to the back of the pantry. Hide them behind the box of fruit-and-nut bars, so you see those first. And avoid buying crave-worthy snack foods in bulk from warehouse stores, since the more you have around, the more you’ll eat. Sometimes, even with these tricks, knowing that these sweet cravings are around, may still keep you tempted to munch on, so it is still best not to buy them at all.
9. You’re dieting
Perception matters that’s why even if you have good intentions in eating well, you tell yourself that the doughnut is off limits or the burger is sinful or a “bad” food, you still fight the battle. Dieters have more intense and harder-to-resist cravings than non-dieters or people who are just trying to maintain their weight, particularly for their off-limits foods, according to a study published in Apetite. Allowing yourself a little something every time you crave, whether you’re looking to lose weight or not, can help take the power away from your cravings. When you deny yourself foods you love all the time, it will build up and explode, making you more likely to binge.