Each of us has those days when we crave for cheese burst pizza, chocolate cake, or a rich fat ice-cream bowl. If this happens too often, you should learn to practice habits to avoid craving for these unhealthy foods.
Having the desire for things that we should stay away from, is the basic nature of humans.
To be honest, it’s not bad to indulge in your food desire once in a while. Trust me, it won’t harm your diet routine also. But…but, as a dieter (read healthy-diet-follower), we should avoid having frequent such desires or munching unhealthy food for mid-meal pangs of hunger.
Stop eating what you love, is not my thing. I have a sweet tooth. I love chocolate and coffee cakes. I love most of the Indian sweets too. It’s hard for me to resist.
Once, I went on a diet for a month, when I was only eating low and complex carb meals. I was off sugar completely. During that time, I used to feel frustrated and agitated, which affected my relationship with others. Soon I realised, that I can not do that for long.
If I want to follow a healthy diet for a long sustained period and maintain my body, I have to find a way to keep it balanced.
Usually, these food cravings are for high sugar or high carb food. This definitely refrains you from weight/fat loss goals. Fighting with these hankerings is a brain over body game. We have to consciously trick our body to control indulging.
Here are 8 simple ways to prevent or stop unhealthy food and sugar cravings –
1. Drink Water, Set Targets
We are mostly mistaken thirst with hunger.
When you feel hungry, first you should clear the confusion that if your body wants water or food. Drink a glass of water when you feel a sudden urge for food and wait for a couple of minutes. Most of the times, you may find that your food desire was just thirst.
Drinking plenty of water has proven health benefits. Set targets of how much water you want to drink and follow it.
Try to keep sipping water throughout the day. Avoid gulping a lot of water in one shot.
2. Eat before you get too hungry
If you are sure it’s not the thirst but hunger, don’t wait more, eat! Keeping hungry for a long time increases hunger and it forces us to eat more.
Our body tells us when it gets full, but there is a lag in that response. The body needs 5-10mins to realize that it’s full and that’s when it signals the brain. When you wait longer, your hunger goes up and then you tend to eat fast.
The body doesn’t get enough time to respond as it’s busy consuming food. By the time you are done hogging, you have already eaten lot more than you should have. So, try eating small portions of the meal when you feel hungry.
3. Avoid storing unhealthy food at home
It’s best to not have unhealthy food in your proximity. When you go to the supermarket, avoid buying unhealthy snacks. Always go through the nutrition values of any food items before buying.
Invest more on fresh fruits and vegetables. If you are buying any processed snack, buy a smaller portion of it than what you think you need.
The biggest curse of the supermarkets is BOGO – Buy 1 Get 1 offers. You are not saving money on that big packet of chips, but you are sacrificing your health. Avoid falling into the trap.
4. Plan your meals at the start of the day
This is what I do EVERYDAY! I know when and how much I need to eat throughout the day. I pack all the meals to my work. This way I don’t have to hunt for food in the cafeteria, where there are more unhealthy options than healthy.
Another advantage is I know in advance the amount of carb, protein, fat intake that I will have during the day. It helps me keep it all under control.
5. Do not go out for shopping when you are hungry
A hungry stomach is the first step to food craving. If you are going for shopping, you are mostly surrounded with outlets offering you all sorts of unhealthy food. And if you are shopping in a grocery store, there’s even worse to go with a hungry stomach. There are all sorts of junk food to distract you.
Eat before you go out on a long shopping haul and keep hydrating yourself.
6. Carry small eats with you always
I am one of those who ought to eat every 2-3hrs. I have been following 5-6 meals a day routine for over 7 years now.
When I am hungry, my hunger just shoots up and I need food immediately. Carrying healthy food supplies along keeps me away from seeking other available unhealthy options. I always carry multiple small boxes when I go to work or I am travelling or even when I go for outings.
7. Fight with stress, practice techniques to relax yourself
Have you had those stressed out days when you eat packet after packet of potato chips just to feel a little better? Well, this is what anxiety does to you. A stressed body craves for high-calorie food, even more, to make it feel better.
If you have a tendency to hog on unhealthy food, figure out better ways to fight stress. Having enough sleep and following fixed sleep cycle relaxes your body. Deep breathing and meditation can keep you calm and prepare to deal with stress better.
8. Moderate portions, if you just can’t avoid
After all the tricks and hacks, I have to mention that you can’t just completely say no to your sweet tooth or cravings for those deep fried food all the times. And, it’s fine to give in to that feeling once in a while, but there is a rule to that – MODERATION. Ensure you are not very hungry to keep the quantity limited to just killing your strong desire.
Satisfy your taste buds with a few bites and then stop. Trust me, the first bite tastes same as the last bite, you have to decide when to stop.
Let’s develop a few good habits
Exercising few good habits regularly will help you build a healthy body, throughout the lifetime. Let’s take a little time and make a list of things you should start doing now, for healthier future.
It’s important to be aware of contents of the food you consume. Develop the habit of reading nutrients on all the packaged food you buy.
Like a lot of people, I have a strong craving for sweets. And it happens almost every day. Understanding what your body wants is really important. But think wisely before binging into your desires and find what can be better substituted for your obvious needs.
- For sweets, consume fruits rather than heavily sugared desserts.
- Find natural substitutes for sugar, like stevia.
- If you crave for pizza, make it at home with thin crust wheat bread and add lots of vegetables.
- If you feel like having chips, bake them at home, instead of packaged deep fried ones.
Habits take time to develop and require consistent-conscious-efforts. If you are aware of the fact that junk food is not the way to live life, you will definitely find better alternatives.