Food cravings are a dieter’s worst nightmare. Even the healthiest eaters have cravings for tasty sweet or savoury foods. We’ve all had them, and we’ve all given in to them at some point.
Unfortunately, those nagging hunger sensations have the potential to make or derail your weight-loss attempts. They undermine your self-esteem and throw your diet plan into disarray. As a result, it’s critical to understand how to deal with them. A candy bar, for example, produces a sugar surge. Alternatively, we may seek comfort foods to boost our sensations of well-being.
Hormones have a role in hunger and cravings as well. Scientists have discovered that leptin, ghrelin, and other hormones in the body can alter how we perceive hunger. Researchers are attempting to determine how and if hormones may be altered to aid dieters in overcoming cravings and hunger. Other specialists, on the other hand, believe that cravings are just a result of habit. We could, for example, munch on food when we’re bored or search for a method to avoid doing the task we have to complete.
Food cravings can also emerge when our bodies are thirsty, according to fitness and health experts. So, one of the two explanations is the correct one? Food cravings might be triggered by a mix of physiological and environmental variables, and it’s also likely that various factors influence different diets.
Why do I feel so hungry all of the time?
When it comes to calorie reduction, hunger is an unavoidable aspect of the process. However, there is a distinction to be made between being hungry and being famished. You may not be eating enough if your hunger is causing you acute discomfort and a continual food preoccupation. Yes, eating less is the most efficient approach to lose weight, but not eating enough is not only inconvenient, but it may also prevent you from losing additional body fat over time. Extremely low-calorie diets frequently necessitate severe measures and do not build habits that will help you maintain your weight loss once you’ve lost it. Crash dieting may also have a detrimental impact on your mood, energy levels, and total nutrient intake and lead you to lose muscle mass (1,2,3,4).
It is not a good idea to starve oneself. It takes time and patience to lose weight; all you have to do is trust the process. If you approach it correctly, you will see results. Slower, more consistent development is more likely to persist and is less uncomfortable in the long run.
Rather of focusing on lowering as many calories as possible, consider the following:
- Consume the appropriate number of calories for your body type. To support consistent weight reduction, find the sweet spot (about a 15 to 20% calorie deficit).
- Pay attention to your feelings. You may be decreasing calories too low if you are continuously thinking about eating or feeling uncomfortably hungry. And if you’re constantly hungry, you could be eating too much.
Food cravings are typical, but with the correct tools, you can effectively control them and guarantee that they don’t get in the way of your health and weight-loss objectives. Here are some ways for overcoming food cravings:
- Alter your surroundings
Cravings are the simplest to overcome. There are various methods to deal with the feeling if you don’t have specific meals in your house or office. If you have good meals in such areas, keep them out of sight, such as on your desk, atop your kitchen counter, or at the front of your refrigerator. If the craving strikes when you’re near a meal you can’t consume in modest amounts, go out of the area where the craved item is present.
Also, stay away from meals or beverages that make the wanted food more appealing. If you always consume cookies with milk, you should avoid drinking milk if you have a cookie urge.
- Enlist the help of a social support system.
It might be difficult to overcome food cravings; therefore, relying on your support system can benefit you. Let the people who care about you know that you’re attempting to avoid eating the things you crave. Explain that your new habits may help you achieve your diet and weight-loss objectives more easily and that you appreciate their help.
- Provide a diversion
Food cravings are frequently triggered by boredom. When a craving strikes, shift your focus. Gardening, crafts, crocheting, or painting your nails are all good ways to keep your hands busy. You may also do something visually distracting, such as play a video game or look at gorgeous pictures. Reading, learning a new language, practising a new skill, listening to music, or chatting to a loved one are all excellent strategies to divert your attention from your hunger.
- Substitution: Instead of that, choose this.
Choose a nutritious and tasty alternative to the food you crave if you can’t eat it in tiny amounts. If you crave the crispness of potato chips, for example, eat carrots or even crispy roasted chickpeas instead. Water, herbal tea, or a decaffeinated low-calorie beverage are all bariatric-friendly beverages that may keep you hydrated while preventing cravings. Finding nice scents, such as candles, oil diffusers, spices, or perfumes, might also help you get rid of your urge.
- Put off your hunger.
Make a pause. Tell yourself you’ll wait X number of minutes or till the next day before revaluating your hunger. By that time, you may have noticed that the need has lessened or vanished.
- Get up and about.
Take a stroll, do yoga, dance, lift weights, or indulge in any other form of physical activity.
- Revaluate your situation.
Make an effort to be attentive. Observe and accept your ideas, emotions, and bodily experiences without judgment. Make a list of the triggers you believe led to the hunger. Were you famished? Are you exhausted? Are you depressed or bored? Consider how to deal with those triggers without indulging in the wanted food. To stave off hunger, have a healthy snack, go to bed early, contact a friend, or do something fun.
When you have a craving for anything, your attention is completely focused on that object. Practice a relaxing exercise, like deep breathing, a body scan, or muscular relaxation, to overcome it. Close your eyes and visualize a relaxing area or person.
- Practice positive self-talk and compassion for yourself.
You’re not on your own. Many people struggle to avoid or eat tiny quantities of particular meals because they have food cravings. Self-compassion is a good thing to practice. Remind yourself of your nutrition, weight, and health objectives, as well as the fact that a food urge is nothing more than a notion. You get to choose how you react to it!
- Make it simpler to enjoy your favourite meals in moderation.
When you go shopping, buy a fair bit of the food you want. Set a limit on how much you’ll consume, or combine the wanted meal with a portion of more nutritious food to consume less of it. While eating the craved meal, mindful practice eating. When eating, take your time and pay special attention to the meal’s flavour, smell, texture, and temperature. Share the cuisine you’ve been craving with a friend or loved one. Alternatively, select a lower-calorie version of the desired dish.
You can satisfy or overcome your food cravings without jeopardizing your progress if you use these ten tactics.