No matter how strong your resolve is, it can be difficult to stop cravings for all those sugary, fatty foods that we know are bad for us.
Bad habits, stress, and failing to plan ahead can leave you feeling the need to reach for the chips or ice cream.
Here we identify some of the habits you need to break to help you stop cravings take control, and lose weight successfully.
1. STOP…Skipping Meals
When you skip a meal and your blood sugar dips, your body will urge you to go for things like refined carbs that will increase your energy levels.
However, these types of foods – such as white bread, cakes, and candy are full of sugar and will usually just leave you hungry again within an hour or two.
Stop cravings occurring by making sure to eat every five hours or so, and ideally, make that a balanced meal that is a combination of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and produce.
This combination of food types takes a long time to digest, meaning that your blood sugar levels are kept level, so you can stop cravings coming back within a couple of hours.
And, if you find that you get hungry more often, keeping yourself going with healthy snacks in between will stop you from reaching meal times feeling over-hungry and ready to eat anything and everything.
If you skip breakfast because you can’t face eating in the morning before work, then try to at least have a glass of skimmed milk to give you a hit of protein and calcium, and take a piece of fruit with you to stop cravings for muffins and bagels come 10 am.
Otherwise, making sure to eat regularly is just a case of planning ahead, so always try to have a healthy snack in your bag and plenty of healthy but quick snacks at home to stop cravings before they start.
2. STOP…Buying Junk Food
Willpower alone can only get you so far; it’s not something we have an unlimited supply of.
You also need to plan ahead to stop cravings leading to slip-ups by reducing the temptation you allow into your environment.
Rule number one would be not to go to the grocery store when you’re ravenous or when you’re tired either, as both result in us buying the kind of quick and easy calorific treats that our tired and hungry brains crave.
Then, when you’re shopping, make a point of not buying any of the treats you often crave, so leave the ice cream, chips, and cookies in the store for someone else to buy.
If you do find yourself craving one of these when you’re at home, the extra effort of going to the store will likely make you decide that it isn’t worth it.
You can still enjoy the foods you love and lose weight, but these kinds of snacks shouldn’t be a part of your daily life.
Instead, save them for real treats; make it a fun day out and go for ice cream with your family, or, next time you’re at a restaurant, order a healthy main meal and then take pleasure in ordering the most tempting dessert on the menu to follow.
3. STOP…Skimping On Sleep
A sleep-deprived brain leads to more intense cravings for high-fat and high-sugar foods, and your willpower is also decreased, meaning that you’ll find it harder to resist these foods.
A lack of sleep also causes imbalanced hunger hormones, so you could still be hungry due to your internal cues sending mixed signals about when to eat.
This whole combination spells disaster and means that you’ll find it tough to make healthy choices.
The simple way to stop cravings due to lack of sleep is to make sure you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each day.
4. STOP…Using Food To Deal With Emotions
Success on your weight loss journey means developing strategies to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Many people turn to the food because they’re stressed, lonely, bored, angry, or any number of other emotions, but these same emotions will continue to affect you in the future, so it’s crucial to cut the link between emotions and eating to help stop cravings for unhealthy foods.
If you tend to eat as a way to deal with other emotions, distraction techniques can work well.
People think that cravings will just continue to get worse if you don’t give in to them, but they actually tend to come and go.
Take a ten-minute break and keep yourself occupied with something that you can give your full attention to, such as painting your nails, calling a friend, or going for a walk.
If distraction doesn’t work, it can help identify the type of food you’re craving. Linda Spangle, author of 100 Days of Weight Loss explains that if you’re craving something crunchy or chewy, then there’s a good chance you’re angry, anxious, or stressed, and suggests that you try asking yourself, ‘What do I want to chew on in life right now?’.
However, a yearning for something smooth or creamy points to an empty emotion, such as loneliness or sadness.
Ask yourself if food will give you what you need, and once you realize that eating won’t solve your problem, you need to focus on trying to solve the deeper issue.
But, if you do find that you also need an extra helping hand, the weight loss supplement Phen Caps can help you overcome cravings with their combination of active ingredients, designed to support and complement the effects of diet and exercise to help you to lose weight for good.