How to Stop Cravings
If you have ever tried to lose weight and go on a diet, you know what cravings are. Or, if you have ever tried to give up a habit you have had for a long time, such as smoking, you also know that cravings can become quite strong. In spite of their apparent strength, you can overcome them and stop them cold in their tracks. Here are some tips on how to do that and still reach your goal.
Before some tips are given, it is important to realize that cravings, or an urge to satisfy some desire, are only temporary. Most of them will go away if you can only focus on something else. It is when you focus on the urge that it seems to become stronger – and you give in to it.
If you choose to focus on the pleasure you will derive from engaging in that desired activity, such as eating that decadently sweet chocolate cream pie, then it will be all that much harder to resist. Focusing on the result will remind you of the experience the last time you ate it – and the feel-good chemicals in your brain will only encourage you to do it. You remember the pleasure and the almost euphoric state it put you in the last time you ate it. AuthorityNutrition mentions that a craving does not come because you are hungry, but because your brain wants a reward.
Focus on Your Goal
If you are dieting to lose weight, then when a craving appears, that is the moment you want to think about the goal you set for yourself. You also want to remember exactly how long it will take to burn off those undesirable calories. The goal should help you to make the right choice.
Grab Some Fruit
If your goal is to lose weight, WebMd suggests that you reach for that fruit instead of the ice cream or chocolate bar. Grab a piece of fruit, or nuts, or seeds instead. They will give you some fiber, and good nutrition, too, and they will help subdue your cravings for something sweet.
Get Out of the House
A good active distraction will also enable you to get your mind off of food or another craving. You can get out of the house for a walk or take a bike ride. While you are out, avoid passing by fast food restaurants and bakeries – which are sure to only tempt you even more.
This can also be a good idea when you are with family or friends who are going to indulge themselves with snacks and fat-laden foods. FitDay mentions that this may be necessary for a while, but eventually you will be able to eat some food with them and keep the volume you eat under control.
Understand Your Triggers
Most people tend to eat more under certain conditions. These conditions usually will include stress, or perhaps boredom, loneliness, or depression. Find out what your triggers are, says EveryDayHealth, and know when you are most likely to eat more as a comfort food. Then, be careful to stay away from places where you are apt to naturally eat more.
If your cravings are for cigarettes, then it is very important to understand your triggers. If, for instance, you normally automatically light up when with friends who smoke, or when in bars, says MayoClinic, it will most likely be necessary to completely avoid those people and places. If you cannot do that, then have an alternate plan, such as chewing gum, or something similar.
Taking a drink of water when you have food cravings can be an excellent way to reduce them. Drinking cold water will force your body to increase its metabolism so that it can raise the temperature of the water in your stomach. This will benefit you by burning more calories and it will simultaneously give you a boost of energy.
Delay the Craving
Cravings will not usually last more than 20 minutes. When a craving for smoking comes, MayoClinic suggests, simply tell yourself to wait 10 minutes first – then go do something else right away. Of course, if you go for a walk, be sure to leave the cigarettes behind.
Fast from Time to Time
Dr. Mercola says that the best way he knows to get rid of cravings for food is to fast intermittently. He suggests that this method will reset your body’s metabolism to burn fat rather than sugar. When this occurs, your body will no longer crave sugar as the source of your energy. He also says that it is not necessary to fast all day, but there ought to be a minimum of eight hours in which you are not eating. It takes at least that long to burn off the glycogen stored in your liver and muscles.
Avoid the “Just This Time” Excuse
This excuse is common among people who are attempting to overcome a habit. The reality, however, is that people rarely ever do it just this once. Eating that food and trying to justify it with a “just this time” attitude is not going to help you overcome those cravings you know you need to defeat. Instead, it only makes it easier to once again say “just this time.” Usually this only leads to one more time – and then another, etc., and then the habit is re-established.
If you are not eating correctly, such as getting the correct balance of vegetables, fruits, and meat, you are preparing yourself for some major cravings. Prevention reports that being on a strict diet for just three days will reduce as much as 22 percent of your leptin, which is a natural hormone that tells you when you are full. Oftentimes, the resultant cravings will be stronger and you will be apt to binge instead of bringing those cravings under control. Research discovered that on the fourth day, these people typically ate 44 percent more calories from calorie-laden foods because they could not control the cravings.