Food cravings can get the best of us all from time to time. The problem is, the foods we crave are sometimes not the ones our bodies need. Furthermore, they are often detrimental to our weight loss goals. But how do you keep food cravings at bay and avoid overeating?
The following tips and tricks can help you curb your cravings, make losing weight easier, and improve your overall health.
Overcome Your Food Cravings. Take Control of Your Health.
1. Ditch the Clean Plate Club
In a study conducted by the Food & Brand Lab at Cornell University, researchers found ‘children who are told to clean their plates are more likely to request larger portions of food when away from home.’ This clean plate trend continues to adulthood, with 92% of members consistently cleaning their plate at each meal.
The result? You end up eating way more calories than your body needs. So rather than chowing down until it’s gone, take pride in your ability to walk away. Often this means there will be leftovers, so you don’t have to worry about cooking an extra meal. Talk about a win-win!
2. Switch to Smaller Plates
If you’re struggling with overeating, try switching to smaller plates, bowls, and even cutlery. Researchers at Stanford found:
Participants with larger bowls ate 30% more ice cream than did those with smaller bowls. Likewise, participants with larger serving spoons portioned and ate 14% more ice cream than those with smaller spoons, regardless of their bowl size.
3. Cut Your Meal in Half
Can’t control the portion size you’re being served? Whether you’re at a friend’s dinner party or a fancy restaurant, it’s often difficult to decide how much food is placed in front of you. So before you dig in, cut your meal in half. This will help you visually take control of your portion size.
4. Practice ‘Out of Sight. Out of Mind.’
Standing in front of a cake shop and willing yourself not to eat a cake is a good way to set yourself up for failure. If you have things in your home, like cookies and chips, that you want to avoid eating, put them away. Pick a spot where you can’t see them every day. This can significantly reduce your cravings.
5. Don’t Bring it Home
Are you really struggling with a food addiction? Sometimes the best cure is to just not bring it home. If it’s not there, you can’t have it.
6. Stay Hydrated
The claim is that most people mistake thirst for hunger and therefore eat. Actual scientific studies haven’t proven this to be true. However, what we have seen is that when your body is deprived of any vital substance, it’s less likely to make good decisions. This can lead to overeating.
Additionally, your stomach only has so much capacity at any one time. So, if you’re filling it up with water, you’ll have less room for food. Needless to say, stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water!
7. Avoid Distractions. Focus on the Food.
Eating while you work, read or watch TV can seem like a great way to multitask. The problem is, when you’re distracted, you forget to stop eating.
Instead, take the time to focus on your food. Pay attention to the taste and texture. This can also help you learn to eat slower, which can give your brain the time it needs to register that you’re satisfied.
8. Don’t Play Games While Eating
Do you love playing Tetris? Have you ever played the game while eating? You’re not alone. Eating Doritos while playing Tetris or Words with Friends or Angry Birds can be delightful. Unfortunately, doing so makes it easy to mindlessly eat. Suddenly you’re on level 17 of Tetris and you’ve eaten half the Costco bag of chips. Instead, take the time to focus on eating and then get back to your game.
9. Make Breakfast a Priority
Eating a solid breakfast can help curb eating throughout the day. This means you’ll want to skip the carb-heavy breakfasts, like oatmeal, a bowl of cereal or a bagel. These carbs turn to sugar, an energy source that’s quickly burned, leaving you craving more food.
Rather, make your breakfast a mix of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. This will help you get a boost of energy, while giving you the long-lasting endurance to make good decisions throughout the day.
10. Give Yourself Enough Fuel
Trying to save calories at lunch by just eating a small salad? Salad’s a great lunch! Just make sure it’s loaded with hearty toppings. Give yourself lots of veggies and protein to go along with those leafy greens. Because one of the reasons many of us can’t stop compulsive eating is because we haven’t given our bodies enough fuel to really make it through the day.
11. Don’t Fear Fat
In the 1960s, the sugar industry paid researchers to highlight the hazards of fat, while downplaying the risks of sugar. The result? Most Americans fear fat, selecting ‘low fat’ foods that are often high in sugar.
The truth is, sugar can have a devastating impact on your health, leading to weight gain, addiction, and depression. Conversely, you need fat. Not saturated fat like you find in fast food. But good sources of fat, like those found in avocados, nuts, and fish, are exceptionally important for your health. They not only deliver key nutrients your body needs, they offer the kind of hearty ‘oomph’ to a meal so it will stick with you.
12. Pick ‘Healthy’ Foods You Like
If you don’t like something, you may eat it on occasion. But it won’t be the item for which you naturally reach. In order to achieve your health goals long-term, you want to focus on lifestyle changes, not a diet.
To make sustainable changes, you need to enjoy them. Find healthy foods you like. If they are expensive, make those your splurge items. When you ‘treat’ yourself, it doesn’t need to be a piece of cake.
13. Get a Full Night’s Rest
Like water, sleep affects everything from your mood to your appetite control. A recent study conducted by researchers at Kings College London revealed those who get five hours of less of sleep, consume an average 385 more calories than those who get a full eight.
So if you want to eat less, sleep more!
14. Combat Boredom with Activity
It’s not uncommon to reach for a snack because you’re bored. Food, especially those high in sugars and carbs, have been shown to increase serotonin levels in your brain. Rather than eating your way through a lackluster moment, get up and do something. Activity can also increase these serotonin levels. Sometimes simply going for a quick walk can be enough for you to realize you’re not actually hungry.
15. Learn to Identify When You’re Stressed
Stress eating is real. And when you’re trying to figure out how to handle food cravings, it can be even more difficult to overcome. It takes a lot of mental strength to say no to the chocolate bar staring you down, particularly when you’re juggling visiting in-laws, a big project at work or the craziness of kids.
One of the biggest keys to avoiding stress-induced snacking is to identify when you’re stressed. There might be nothing you can do about it. (You’re probably not going to send your in-laws packing.) But just acknowledging you’re stressed and identifying the cause can help you make better choices.
16. Watch the Cocktails
We tend to eat more when we drink. This isn’t new news. Alcohol diminishes our inhibitions. But have you noticed you also eat more the day after drinking?
This happens because alcohol causes you to become dehydrated and decreases your blood sugar levels. Eating can help you relieve hangover symptoms. However, it can also bring the bad after the bad as far as you’re overall health.
Instead, try and eat a high protein snack, like nut butter. This can give you the right amount of sugar and fat to relieve some of your symptoms and keep your weight loss goals on track. Better yet? Drink less.
17. Start with Veggies First
Sitting down to dinner and feel absolutely ravenous? Take a deep breath and start with your veggies first. Eat slowly. Drink water between bites. This will help your body calm down, easing your hunger pains and keeping you from overloading on carbs.
18. Carry Healthy Snacks
Find when you are out and about for the day, you suddenly are starving, and pull into whatever fast food joint you can find? When your hunger has hit the point of hanger, it can be extremely difficult to suppress your appetite and overcome food cravings.
So, don’t reach the hangry point of no return. Carry a healthy snack with you, so you can nibble on something good for you when your cravings strike. Almonds or baby carrots are a great go-to.
It’s hard to imagine something as simple as thoughts can control our actions, but they do. When you let fried foods or ice cream occupy the mental process, it’s hard to think about anything else. The good news is, you can control your thoughts.
Yes, this is easier said than done However, with practice, you can shift your thoughts from the food you’re craving and change your addictive behaviors. With meditation, many individuals have found they are able to significantly reduce their consumption of junk food.
Get the Support You Need to Succeed with Medically Supervised Weight Loss
Reading about tips and tricks is nice. But losing weight is tough! Simply reading about a few tips and tricks is often not enough. Medically supervised weight loss offers personalized support to help you supercharge your weight loss goals and make strategic lifestyle changes to keep the weight off!
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