One of the most challenging elements of trying to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle are the constant cravings for unhealthy food.
But it is these constant cravings for unhealthy foods that can stifle our best intentions to improve our lives. So, is there a way to lose the excess weight that is holding us back from living our best life?
First and foremost, the worst plan to utilize is cutting out food cold turkey. Ultimately this will lead to extreme hunger, causing your survival instincts to kick in. You could end up bingeing and putting on more weight than before.
Because this is a common problem, many doctors, scientists, and experts seek to find viable solutions for people who need to become healthy. Below we list many of these solutions for you to consider:
Lower Your Carb Intake
The Journal “Eat And Weight Disorders” published a study revealing that reducing carb intake reduces your cravings for them. Obviously, this is contrary to what you might assume.
Remember the rule of “everything in moderation“. Your body does need some carbohydrates to be healthy, especially if you are incorporating exercise into your new healthy lifestyle. Simply cutting back is key.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber intake can help you feel fuller for longer. The secret to avoiding gas and bloating from increasing fiber in your diet is to start slowly. Drinking water can also counter any adverse effects.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is what slows down digestion. Foods which contain soluble fiber include most fruits, peas, beans and bran.
Increase Lean Protein Intake
Protein has an excellent reputation for reducing hunger cravings for long periods. However, if it is not lean protein, you will not lose weight.
Examples of lean protein that you can add to your diet include eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, and lentils.
Eat Balanced Meals
We often hear that we should cut out processed foods and instead create balanced meals. However, many times we don’t know exactly what “balanced” means.
Our body needs nutrition derived from the five food groups. These groups are made up of protein, fruit, grain, vegetables and dairy. Half of your meal should contain a whole fruit and a variation of vegetables.
A quarter of your meal should be whole grains, as well providing a handful portion of protein and a cup of dairy to make up the other quarter.
Try Water Before Fulfilling a Food Cravings
Many people mistake thirst for hunger. Furthermore, this can be a problem when we eat when we need to drink as we can become dehydrated.
Next time you feel hungry, try instead to have a glass of water. If the hunger does not dissipate, then have some healthy food. If it does, then it is a clue you were just thirsty.
Choose Low-Calorie-Density Foods
Did you know that some foods burn more calories while you are digesting them than they actually contain? Certainly, living on such foods alone would cause malnutrition. However, these kinds of foods make the perfect in-between meal snacks!
Low-calorie-density foods include celery, tomatoes, Granny Smith apples, cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumber. Additionally, chilis increase your metabolism due to containing capsaicin. So spice up your meals to enjoy the benefits!
Get More Sleep
When you are tired, you lack energy. Consequently, when you lack energy, your body demands that you provide it with energy. Ultimately, this can lead to unnecessary, unhealthy eating.
Researchers from the University of Warwick Medical School undertook a sleep study to examine the connection to obesity. These researchers concluded that you are 55% more likely to develop obesity if you don’t get the correct amount of sleep, which includes sleeping between 7-9 hours.
Become Mindful of What You Eat
There are two types of hunger. One is called homeostatic hunger, and this is when the hormone ghrelin rises to alert us to our body’s need for nutrition. Usually, this will be signified by a grumbling stomach.
The second type of hunger is called hedonic. This kind of unhealthy hunger is similar to that which a drug addict has for substances. For example, this is particularly the case for sugar cravings, as sugar increases our serotonin levels and makes us feel good.
Much of our excessive eating can be termed “comfort eating“. What this means is that we sometimes are only eating to get a pleasure hit. We often do this more in times of stress or sadness.
Seek to achieve “pleasure” from non-food experiences. You could, for instance, listen to music or watch a comedy program to release extreme pleasure hormones in your brain. Undertaking between 10-30 minutes of exercise will also give you a hit of happy endorphins. Additionally, even just going outdoors to get some sunshine will provide you with a hit of serotonin.
Other Handy Tips
If you have attempted all of the suggestions we have mentioned, and are struggling to kick the craving habit, you could also try these further handy tips:
- Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach!
- Brushing your teeth can make food seem less desirable.
- Chewing gum can trick your brain into thinking it is busy eating.