Food cravings can be your worst enemy and control them could be a challenge. Being a sweet tooth, I can relate completely! Needless to say that this year, it has been a challenge to control my appetite. Personally, emotional eating has always been a problem, but I’ve learned about some ways to control it. As a result, I have dealt with it so much better than I would have a few years back. Are you feeling the same way than me? Do you struggle to overcome your food craving? Then keep reading to discover some tips which will help you make peace with your mind and body!
Think before you eat
Ok, this is the obvious one, but also the most challenging, in my opinion. Eating often result from our emotions like stress or boredom, rather than real hunger. For example, I tend to crave more snacks whenever I am sad or feeling anxious. I end up eating as comfort, even if I had a meal not long before.
So, what should you do? This is probably easier said than done, but before heading to your cupboard to get a pack of Tim Tam, think about why you want to eat. Are you hungry, for real? Get a yogurt and fruit. Are you bored? Why don’t you go for a walk, write or draw something (whatever is going to keep your hands full)? Do you feel anxious or unhappy? Look on YouTube for a yoga class that is going to relax you, listen to your favourite playlist or pamper yourself. If you can apply this rule above all the others, you are on a good path, but this can be a long process. Paying attention to your appetite cues is more effective than following a diet or strict food rules.
As you may know, our body is 60% water. Staying hydrated is super important, as hunger can be confused with being thirsty. Moreover, drinking regularly throughout the day will increase your filling of fullness. According to some studies, people who drink more water regularly tend to eat less. So, this might be a good idea to start your meal with a big glass of water and to keep on drinking during the day. Fill a bottle that you can carry with you around the house or in your handbag, and this will become a habit. If “just” water is not your thing, why not try to add some lemon wedges or mint leaves inside?
Pay attention to your food
In our busy lives, we tend to eat fast and conveniently, rather than really appreciate the time we spend having lunch or dinner. Did you know that it can take up than 20 minutes to get the feeling of satiety after your first mouthful? When you eat fast, your brain doesn’t get the signal that you are actually full and as a result, you keep consuming more food than you should.
To pay more attention to your meal, it is always better to turn off the TV and keep your phone away while eating. Your food will become what you are focused on, and you will enjoy it even more. Furthermore, if you struggle to eat slowly, why not serve yourself a small plate at first? Once you finished it, ask yourself if you are still hungry. Most of the time, the answer will be no. Otherwise, just get a bit more of it. It is better to do it that way rather than force yourself to finish a big portion when your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
Ban unhealthy snacks
What is not there won’t tempt you. So first thing first, avoid buying your favourite chocolate bar every time you go shopping. I don’t know about you, but this is far more difficult to resist it if I know that it is sitting in my cupboard. So, if like me, you can’t resist chocolate, simply don’t bring it!
Another way to avoid unhealthy snacks: if you are planning to eat some during the week, try to arrange something healthier. For example, nuts are great for protein and fiber, which will leave your body energized and fuller, as they take a while to be digested. These will be far better than chocolate or biscuits.
Change your environment
Another great thing to do: think about when you are most likely to have these food cravings. For me, this is definitely after dinner, when I am on my couch watching TV, or reading. It could be different for everyone. Some people will crave something sweet in the afternoon at work and will be tempted to buy a chocolate bar from the vending machine. To avoid this, why not bring a snack from home that you could eat at your office? Whatever it is, try to get yourself distracted and change your routine to avoid being in the same kind of environment where you know you’ll experience these food cravings.
Differentiate food cravings and a balanced diet
Ok, so if after all, you just want to enjoy your favourite chocolate bar once in a while, go for it. Don’t try to substitute it for healthy food at all costs. If you are craving some biscuits and eat a carrot instead, chances are the only result you’ll get is being frustrated. Instead, make it a special moment. Have a limit (don’t eat the whole pack at once), but enjoy every mouthful and be guilt-free. As I said before, eat in a relaxing environment without any distractions. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a piece of chocolate cake from time to time when it is part of a balanced diet.
Food cravings are an intense desire for a specific food, which seems uncontrollable. However, this has nothing to do with allowing yourself some treats from time to time, and it should be distinguished properly. This is the key to a balanced diet and the goal is not to restrict yourself at all costs. Controlling food cravings could be hard. However, with the right mindset and a bit of effort from you, these will a bad memory soon enough!