Curbing Your Cravings: 7 Helpful Tips to Keep You Focused
Nothing entertains our minds more than the craving for food after a stressful day at work or a sweat-filled workout session at the gym. Catering for a range of different taste buds, and whether they desire sweets or savoury, there is a multitude of food and powders that we can snack on to satisfy our hunger cravings. According to a scientific study, we experience these cravings as the act of eating releases endorphins such as serotonin and promote feelings of pleasure and fullness.
However, this can lend itself to overindulging and can cause more severe health problems such as obesity and diabetes. So we must maintain a disciplined line between falling entirely off track and maintaining a healthy eating schedule. But, with so much temptation around us, it can be hard to remain diligent at times and even harder to motivate ourselves to get back into a healthy eating regime once we fail. With this in mind, we’ve created a list of helpful tips and tricks designed to help you stay on track and healthily curb your cravings.
Drink More Water
An often overlooked way of curbing cravings is by consuming water. Generally, most people mistake hunger for thirst because our thirst signals are weaker than our hunger signals by around 37%, as calculated by scientists. Distinguish whether your stomach pangs are hunger or thirst-related by drinking a glass of water first then waiting fifteen minutes. If the pangs are gone after those fifteen minutes, chances are you were probably just thirsty, but if the pangs are still persistent after those minutes have gone by, then we suggest grabbing yourself something to eat! We also recommend consuming at least two litres of water a day, which is recommended by UK health professionals, to further reduce the risk of confusing thirst with hunger.
Avoid Doing Your Weekly Food Shop While Hungry
Typically, one of the best ways to curb cravings is by avoiding doing your weekly food shop when experiencing feelings of hunger. Depending on individual lifestyles, we understand that not everyone can go to the supermarket whenever it suits them. For example, you may not live locally to your nearest convenience store, so it’s more beneficial for you to do your weekly shop straight after work or after picking your children up from school.
However, if you can decide when you go shopping, try and plan these outings after your evening meal or at lunchtime. Research suggests that going food shopping when we’re hungry increases the likelihood of purchasing food in excess and that high-calorie foods look more tempting than healthier alternatives. Ultimately this could lead to a possibly heftier shopping bill and a selection of foods that could be detrimental to your healthy-eating progress.
Eat More Protein Rich Foods
Out of all the main food groups, studies have shown that by far the most fulfilling is protein. Protein satiates you by reducing the amount of the hunger hormone ghrelin that your body produces while simultaneously increasing the level of hormones that make you feel full; peptides. So next time you feel hungry, instead of reaching for a sugary or salty snack, substitute it for food or powders such as;
- Hardboiled Eggs
- Spinach Powder
- Nuts, such as Almonds, Peanuts, Brazils, Walnuts, Cashews etc.
- Pulses, such as Lentils, Chickpeas, Kidney Beans, Black Beans etc.
- Meats, such as Chicken, Tuna, Lean Beef etc.
We understand that you might often reach for sugary/salty snacks if you lead a busy lifestyle because it saves you time. If time is a crucial factor, you could try increasing your protein intake through Whey Protein Supplements or delicious protein snacks, such as the range of products available from EatProtein. View their product offerings for various protein-filled snacks and shakes, tailored for all dietary needs and perfect for snacking on when in a hurry.
Carry Around Mints or Chewing Gum
If you struggle with hunger cravings and find that your daily snack allowance depletes in a short space of time, we recommend carrying around mints or chewing gum. Health professional’s link chewing gum to reducing hunger and curbing cravings because the act of chewing mimics the action of eating and can therefore trick your body into thinking you’re eating something more substantial. Likewise, mints are also in the same category as chewing gum; due to mint’s intense aroma, it’s a natural appetite suppressant that is useful for curbing strong cravings for food. Plus, a bonus is that mints and chewing gum are readily available, cost-effective, and require no preparation, so curbing your cravings is easier than ever.
Avoid Restricting Your Hunger
When actively trying to lose weight, we automatically assume that the best way to shake the pounds is by eating less and restricting ourselves. To an extent, this is true, but we mustn’t limit ourselves too much; otherwise, it can lead to bingeing and cause delays to our progress. When we experience a craving for food, primarily it is due to hunger, which is why it’s always wise never to skip a meal, eat regularly but not to the point where we’re overindulging, and to have healthy snacks like the ones listed above close to hand. Frequently ignoring hunger signs or extreme calorie restrictions make us more vulnerable to succumb to the urge of cravings.
Once we give in, it can be even harder to encourage ourselves to start afresh with our progress as we feel like we’ve already failed, leading to negative feelings like guilt and shame. You can avoid suppressing your appetite for too long by meal planning and sticking to set mealtimes. Over time your body will get into a routine and recognise when it’s due to be fuelled, which will help keep your cravings to a minimum.
Introduce an Exercise Routine into Your Life
Exercise and healthy eating habits go hand-in-hand, and one of the best ways to naturally curb your hunger cravings is by introducing an exercise routine into your daily life. Regular exercise reduces our appetite by causing a shift in our hunger hormones and promotes the increase of mood hormones such as serotonin, making us feel happier after a workout. Health professionals suggest that aerobic exercises are some of the best exercises to participate in to reduce your appetite. We recommend some of the following exercises;
Enjoy High-Calorie Foods in Moderation
Embarking on a healthy-eating journey can often mean cutting down on indulging in the foods that we love. However, we need to remember that we can enjoy all the food groups in moderation without feeling negative emotions after eating them, such as guilt and shame. Sudden withdrawal of these foods can lead to negative consequences, such as bingeing, so it’s wise to draw out a meal plan and find ways to incorporate the foods you love into days that you have calorie allowances or when you might engage in exercise. You’ll find that making allowances for high-calorie foods will allow you to enjoy your healthy-eating journey more and give you something to look forward to on days that you don’t treat yourself.