10 Things to do instead of giving into your cravings

Often when we diet or need to lose weight we crave foods that are not good for us. Foods high in fat, sugar, salt, and chemical additives. We want chips, ice cream, cake, cookies, candy, frozen dinners, and baked goods. Often we eat more of these foods than the recommended serving because we are hungry and the cravings take over.

The reason we crave sugar is our senses are wired for it. Sweet is the first flavor your taste buds recognize. It triggers a chemical in the brain that makes us feel good. It is serotonin. Sweets taste good and often make us feel more relaxed. That is why we often eat more than we should. Below are some tips to help you curb your food cravings.

Eat Every Five Hours and Eat Healthy Foods that Satisfy Your Appetite

Its mid afternoon and you are starving for something to eat. Try some nuts, crackers with peanut butter, a piece of fruit with yogurt, granola mix, veggies with dip, or popcorn. These snacks are healthy and satisfy your hunger. They will help you make it to dinner time without eating the wrong foods. They keep your blood sugar stable and curb your food cravings. These snacks make it easier to lose weight more effectively.  Even a few pretzels or tortilla chips with salsa can do the trick.

Control Sugar Cravings

Allow yourself a cookie, slice of cake, serving of ice cream occasionally. Don’t buy in bulk buy in smaller portions to control over eating.  Dip fruits in melted chocolate strawberries, bananas, berries and pineapple. This is combining two craving at once but eating  in moderation. Chew gum with sugar when you get a craving this often helps.  Reach for a piece of fruit whole or sliced your can combine it with yogurt for a great snack.

Eat More Whole Foods Less Processed

Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, leans meats and poultry, whole grains, seafood, and dairy products. This means food you have to prepare and cook yourself.  Eat protein daily because it helps you curb your hunger pangs. A meal with protein, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fruit is a healthy meal. Frozen dinners have often too much sodium and fat and chemical preservatives. Read labels before purchasing.  A good rule of thumb is to read labels carefully before buying processed foods avoiding those with too many additives, sugar, salt, and fat.

Plan Your Meals

Design a list when you go shopping and plan your meals ahead. Have an idea of what you want to make and eat. This often keeps you on track and from eating the wrong foods. Stock your pantry with healthy snacks and food. Whole grain cereal, nuts, seeds, whole grain pasta, brown rice, low sodium soups, canned tuna, salmon, sardines, clams are all good choices. Making a meal plan gives you a chance to try a new recipe or low calorie dessert.

Keep A Food Dairy

Write down what you eat, when you eat, and how much you eat for a week. Note whether an incident or person made caused you to eat because of an emotional reaction. When you keep a food diary for a month you will begin to see patterns between food, mood, and over eating. It can give you insight and help you control the problem more easily.

Manage Your Stress With Exercise

Develop an exercise routine to manage stress daily. Exercise is an important part of dieting and managing food cravings. Walking, biking, working out at the gym, swimming make you feel good and often distracts you from your cravings. When you have a food craving go take a walk, do some gardening or housework. You will accomplish something positive and help curb those food cravings.

Get Support and Fight Boredom

When you diet it helps to have a group of people or a friend in the same boat. Often you can help each other out with meals and exercise.  Attend a support group for dieters call a friend when you get food craving to talk, or talk with a family member. There are even some online support groups that help dieters with bulletin boards and chat groups. Fight boredom by having a hobby like reading, knitting, quilting, gardening, or collecting. Volunteer your time at a non-profit to help others.

Drink Plenty of Water and or Seltzer

Drinking more water or flavored seltzer with no sodium or sugar helps curb hunger.  An 8 ounce glass of water or seltzer will make you fill full longer. Add some lemon, lime or orange slices for added flavors.  Keep a bottle of water handy when you work or exercise to keep those food cravings at bay.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is way to help the body learn to burn fat instead of sugar. One technique is to skip breakfast and only eat lunch and dinner.  You may need to do this several week to months to switch the body to the fat burning mode. Check with your doctor before trying this technique to make sure it does fits into your lifestyle.

Leave Products With High Fructose Corn Syrup on the Shelf

Read labels on processed foods and leave baked goods, frozen and canned with high fructose corn syrup on the shelf. Studies show that this additive make  you want to eat more not less.  This means more cookies, cake, pies and processed foods that use it. It does not help food cravings it make them stronger.  The more you eat the more you gain.

These are some tips on how to lose weight and handle food cravings. Weight loss is not easy and finding ways to handle food cravings is a way to succeed and reach your goals. 

By Joan Russell

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