7 Ways to Fight Food Cravings

Teach your body to not make you choose between healthy and delicious foods
Editor

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No doubt you’ve felt the urge to grab a donut from the kitchen in the office or have a pint of ice cream in the summer when the AC just doesn’t seem to cool you down.

Food cravings would be welcome if they made people eat celery, apples and tomatoes. Unfortunately, they make us feel bad because we are doing what we don’t want to – staying away from delicious foods like pizza, fries, cookies and chocolate.

The good news is that the body can be taught to forget about high-calorie salty, sugary and fatty items.

Have some water when you think you’re hungry

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Hydration is very important. Makes sure you have water with you at all times. The reason is that dehydration can mask as hunger. Drink a tall glass of water before you start eating and then stop before you get full. Studies have shown that people who drink more water every day maintain the same healthy weight and lose extra pounds if they have to.

Brush your teeth

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“If the urge to continue eating is all to consuming, put your napkin over your plate, push it away and get up and brush your teeth,” Angela Martindale, a celebrity nutritionist, fitness trainer, and Utah’s number one wellness coach, says. “This is my favorite trick.”

Include protein at every meal

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Many people don't eat protein at breakfast at all, so the last time they had protein was dinner the night before, and then they don't eat till lunch. “It is a long period of undernourishment. No wonder you feel hungry and tired. Protein keeps you full for longer because it activates the hormone ghrelin which makes our brain tell us that we are full. Good protein-rich choices for breakfast include eggs, oats, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and milk. Know about some other fulfilling foods that will help you lose weight.

Don’t skip meals

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Skipping meals is a very bad idea not just because your blood sugar levels dive, you feel tired and groggy, your metabolism slows down and stress hormones are released. It’s bad also because you are likely to end up very, very hungry.

Hunger-related hormones are also released when you go several hours without eating, according to Vitamin Shoppe Nutritionist Brian Tanzer, MS, CNS. They, in combination with stress hormones, are setting you up for overeating. “This type of eating causes drastic fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels,” he adds. The result is a metabolic environment more conducive to fat storage than fat utilization.

After fasting for several hours, most people reach for sugar and calorie-rich, convenient, satisfying foods because they provide a sense of well-being that comes from the surge in blood sugar levels, he adds.

Don’t go food shopping on an empty stomach

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Everyone has been in a situation where you stop by the supermarket on your way home. The problem is that you probably didn’t have dinner yet and are hungry. Seeing a lot of food, which usually looks good at the store, at one place can only enhance your food cravings.

Suddenly you feel like you are too hungry to wait until you make dinner and grab ready-to-eat pizza or some other pre-packaged item that you just have to warm up. Those are usually surprisingly high in salt. Many personal trainers don’t even go near them.  

Make healthy swaps

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If you always have dessert at dinner, your body remembers that and will want it every time. Quitting cold turkey doesn’t seem to work for the most part. So, compromise and make a smart swap. Have a healthy dessert. It may not be as delicious but it will be enough to trick your body into letting go of the desire to have a cheesecake.  

Get enough sleep

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Science has offered proof many times that fewer hours of quality sleep often results in bigger waistline. Sleep deprivation affects the brain in a way that makes you want to eat more and not process food efficiently. It sparks a vicious cycle where you are left feeling tired, slowing your metabolism and playing tricks with your hormones.

All of this leads to you eating more, and the rotation continues, Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, says. “By sleeping less, you are programming your body to eat more,” she adds.

More readings: 

This is Exactly What Happens to Your Body When You Consume Too Much Sodium

10 Things that Happen to Your Body When You Skip a Meal

16 Surprising Habits that Are Aging You

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