Food cravings are the bane of everyone who is trying to eat healthily. Whether you are trying to lose weight, or simply focus on more healthy eating, food cravings can get you off course. So how do we ignore them and stick to our healthy meals?

a hand smashing a donut

The problem is that everyone gets them, and everyone gives in to them sometimes. So it becomes crucial to understand the best ways to deal with food cravings if you want to maintain a healthy diet and promote weight loss.

I can’t stop eating sugar

It is easy to give in to the lure of too much calorie consumption. Learn how to fight temptation once and for all. There are many different reasons that have been speculated about why we get food cravings. Some are more substantiated in science than others, but the most common reasons are:

  • Food cravings are physiological, which means that our bodies crave certain nutrients that can find in a certain food.
  • Food cravings are emotional, which means that we are looking, for the rush we might get, from a certain food.
  • Food cravings are a form of food addiction, which means that we crave the foods that pleased us throughout our lives, in other words, we look for comfort foods. This type of craving may have more to do with an emotional need, than with a desire for food.

However, no matter the cause of our food cravings, some ways can help us deal with them. Here is what you need to know about how to deal with food cravings.

If you want more of my weight loss story and how I grew up on little Debbies and soda and learned how to change my health and life through exercise and nutrition, check out this nutrition guide. It has some basic dos and don’ts that my wife and I used for me to lose 100 pounds and be on no medication at age 53. There are also some sample meal plans in there. It was a long process, not a quick fix, but if I can do it, so can you!

cravings written in shells on the sand

Craving Chocolate

While many of us work painstakingly hard to maintain our weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising, sometimes it is easy to give in to temptation. Whether the enticement finds you by way of chocolate, French fries, or a Frappucino, everyone has his pitfalls.

What’s worse is that succumbing to food cravings can throw anyone’s routine (and pant size) off track; you have one day of “bad” eating, which then leads to “feeling fat” which in turn spirals into avoidance of exercise or the gym altogether (because surely everyone at the health club knows of the previous night’s Peanut M & Ms binge).

Whether you are enticed by fattening and waist-line threatening foods only once in a while (perhaps the holidays are your hazard) or it is something you fight every week, there are ways in which you can stave off that temptation so you can still like yourself in the morning.

Don’t Go On A Diet

You may be surprised that this makes the top of the list, but the reason for this is that a diet, really is deprivation, If you are trying to avoid all of your favorite food, you are much more likely to crave them. You are much more likely to NOT have food cravings, if you allow yourself small portions, of these foods, in moderation. The bottom line is that if you focus on making better food choices, you will most likely get fewer food cravings.

Just Give In

While this may seem counterproductive it is just the opposite. Sometimes nothing but the real thing will do. If you can’t get that slice of triple chocolate cake, out of your mind, then go ahead and have a small slice. If save up a few of your daily calorie needs and eat your food craving in moderation, you are more likely to stop the craving and most importantly prevent yourself from overeating.

woman longingly looking at a cupcake craving it

Sweet Tooth Healthy Snacks

If you find that the staff at your local pizza parlor, Chinese restaurant, or corner bakery, can call you by name, it may be time to put this strategy to use. When the impulse to get your favorite food hits, try to distract yourself with something non-food-related. Call a friend, jump on the treadmill, read a book, or try to accomplish something on your to-do list. You may find that when you return to where you were when the craving hit, you may be thinking that is not worth blowing your entire daily calorie count for.

Figure Out What’s Going On

While cravings aren’t always the results of emotional eating, for some people they are. If you feel that you eat to help you cope with your feelings, then now is the time to get to the root of what the problem is. Keep in mind that you will need to deal with the underlying emotional feelings before you can deal with the problems of your food cravings.

Brush Your Teeth

On the verge of blowing your calories for the entire week on your snack alone? Try brushing your teeth. Brushing with minty toothpaste and then flossing is a great way to ward off a food craving. Follow up by applying a refreshing and tingly lip gloss or balm. A clean, fresh mouth is sure not to want to comingle with the likes of potato chips, or cookies.

Take a Walk

Usually, when we want to blow our food intake by consuming enough calories to last us until the next millennium, it is rarely because we are hungry. Chances are it is because we are upset about something in our day (or in our life) and it manifests itself through the self-sabotage of an eating binge. If a craving comes on, you probably need to calm yourself; so breathe deep and collect yourself. Taking a short, relaxing walk can bring about the calm that you need to overcome that menacing desire to overindulge.

Drink Water

Not only will a refreshing glass of water help to make you feel full, but it will revitalize you and perhaps even give you a little extra energy- enough to take your mind away from the nagging craving that hounds you at that moment. The cool, thirst-quenching water will flush through your system and thus flush away with it your desire to eat all the wrong foods for all the wrong reasons.

Find a Role Model

Find someone whom you can aspire to be like physically. It could be a famous athlete, a personal trainer at the gym, or even a friend who keeps themselves in great physical shape. I’ve always admired Arnold Schwarzenegger and used him as a role model. Whoever it is, just think of someone so that when you find yourself in a pinch, about to take out an entire gallon of ice cream in one fell swoop, you can remember that individual who motivates you to stay healthy and in shape just by looking at them. One caveat, however: The goal is not to try to compare yourself or to be exactly like this individual so don’t make comparisons, but rather use their fitness and discipline as a means by which to motivate yourself.

Wait it out

If nothing else seems to work, then take heart and understand that the craving will eventually pass. While no one is saying it won’t be back, sometimes if you wait, it will simply go away. If you find that you can successfully wait until your food cravings pass, you will find yourself taking a major step on the path to healthier eating.

Remember it is not about never having another food craving again, and it is certainly not about being perfect. Doing so would mean never attending another Christmas party or celebrating another birthday with birthday cake again. It is simply about learning how to manage such cravings in a way that you can still maintain your health as well as your well-being, both physical and emotional.

For more ideas on how to keep your eating under control, check these out:

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