Food cravings. One of the most common things dieter face, and it can derail you as fast as you can say strawberry shortcake. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard the same old advice, time and time again. Eat the food you’re craving in moderation. Try low calorie/low fat/low carb alternatives. Well, forget all of that. There are some people that can eat what they crave in moderation. They’re most likely not the ones looking for craving reduction on the net. If we could eat junk in moderation, we wouldn’t have a problem. Most of the time, eating what you want just makes you want more of it. More importantly, it tells your brain that it wins. It can tell you it wants something and you will obey. Low calories/carb/fat alternatives rarely work because you’re craving a very specific thing and if it isn’t in there, then you’ll most likely keep eating until you get it. For example, if you are craving a hamburger and what you are really craving is the fat, a low cal low fat hamburger is going to do absolutely nothing but add unnecessary food to your plan.
So, what do you do? Some of the advice out there is very good. Drinking a glass of water and waiting for 15 minutes is excellent if you can do it. Water fills up the stomach, hydrates you, and in 15 minutes, your food craving will probably be gone. But what about those of us that don’t have the willpower to go a minute before grabbing that bag of chips? Well, the secret lies in retraining the mind. The constant giving into cravings has taught our brain it can have what it wants and the association of food to comfort, joy, etc has caused out brain to want it at the slightest sign of stress, boredom, anger, sadness, etc. Here’s how to fix it. These techniques aren’t for everyone, but I can vouch for their effectiveness.
Take off all of your clothes and jump up and down in front of a mirror. This might not work so well for those losing 2 or 3 vanity pounds, but for those of us with some flab, it’s not going to be pretty. Ask yourself if that chocolate fudge brownie is worth keeping this body for. I’m confident you’ll find the answer to be a quick no.
Stop associating food with positive emotions. You don’t want to torture yourself, but the sharp snap of a rubberband or a good quick pinch when you get a craving will teach your brain to associate food with pain. You don’t want to get so extreme that you’re afraid to eat, but getting rid of that association is a huge factor in successfully fighting off cravings.
Bring on the societal pressure. The way your peers view you is important to almost everyone so make it known that you are on a diet or trying to avoid certain foods. Ask them to hold you accountable and call you out if they see you eating it. You’ll be far more reluctant to eat at work, with family or friends, etc. At least when it comes to eating the bad things.
With the help of these 3 techniques, you’ll be on your way to overcoming your cravings in no time. In the mean time, use a few of these tips to fight off the cravings while your brain is reprogramming itself. Exercise. Exercise not only allows you to burn calories instead of taking them in, but hormones released during exercise decrease appetite and by the time you’re done taking a brisk walk, your craving will be gone. Alternatively, make sure you get away from temptation. If something you want is in your house, get out. Go to a friend’s house, go for a walk, sit outside at the park; whatever, as long as it gets you away from the food. You can go back home when the craving is gone. Oh, and don’t bring money with you when you go. No sense in just buying it at the store. Finally, I’ve already mentioned water, but the same goes for coffee and hot tea. If you’re craving sugar, do not sweeten you tea or coffee with it. It’ll make things worse. But overall, a hot cup of tea or coffee get rid of your cravings, fill up your stomach, and add to your water intake.