When it comes to cravings, just like any other discipline, the battle happens inside the mind. You make a difficult decision whether to eat that greasy, fatty food you crave or stick with the lean, green fruits and vegetables. There are a lot of factors surrounding you in your daily life that actually makes your cravings worse. Your habits can also intensify your cravings, making it more frequent, and frustrating.
Here are the major mistakes you should avoid to prevent your cravings from winning that battle:
1. Skipping breakfast
Maybe you are in a hurry because you are running late for work, or maybe you’re just not hungry in the morning. So you skip breakfast. But this is actually a big mistake. Did you know that 350 calories and 13 gram protein is enough to reduce your cravings for savoury foods and sweets? Protein promotes the production of dopamine, a neurochemical in your brain that helps you manage cravings. You can get that 350 calories and 13-gram protein through breakfast.
2. Eating larger servings
You think about giving in to some of your cravings. You choose to eat brownies and you put three huge slices on your plate.
Giving in to cravings every once in a while is ok, but taking in big servings of it is not good. Studies show that eating half a slice of brownies can give you the same satisfying feeling as eating three large pieces. Eating half a slice reduces your calorie intake as well.
The trick is, put half a slice of brownies on your plate, savour each bite, and take up to 15 minutes to finish it, by then the craving for more will be gone.
3. Not eating anything when you crave
When you have a craving, don’t ignore it and suffer. Punishing yourself will only make you binge later on. Fill your stomach with a healthier alternative. If you are craving for candies or chips, get a sweet slice of strawberry or pistachios instead.
4. Not knowing the cause of your craving
If you don’t know the real reason for your craving, you just can’t stop digging into those chips. Get a journal (this could be on your mobile device) and jot down the emotion you get when you crave for food. It might be stress, anger, loneliness, etc. This way, you can tackle the real reason instead of letting it out through eating.
5. Not pairing healthy food with the unhealthy one you crave for
Again, you can give in to your craving once in a while. Otherwise, you will binge and cheat yourself into eating the food you crave in abusive amounts later on. When you eat the food that you think you want, pair it with healthy one. Just make sure there are more healthy food than the ones you crave for. If you were craving for french fries for example, pair it with romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes. Chug down a freshly squeezed pineapple with carrot juice to finish the meal.
6. Incorporating delicious treats with guilt
Looking at a delicious piece of cake as a sin instead of a blessing can make you eat more of it. According to studies, when you incorporate guilt with the food you crave, you will try to ignore the thought of guilt, which is a natural defense mechanism of the mind. This will only make you obsess over it.
7. Using will power
Massive bombardment of motivational thoughts to avoid eating what you crave doesn’t always work. This will only make you feel like a failure when you give in once in a while to your craving. Distraction is better. Get yourself busy with exercise and other recreation to reduce cravings.
8. Keeping temptations around
You don’t have to fight that mental battle everyday. Hide the unhealthy foods that you usually crave for. Or better yet, don’t have them inside your pantry at all.
Some of the worst things happen for the best intentions. Dieting can only make you binge later on, according to studies.
10. Staying on social media sites
If you linger on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook, it is more likely that you will stumble upon some online food blogger that posts images of delicious foods that are high in calories, cholesterol, fats and other unhealthy substances. If you see these images, you will definitely crave for these foods.
Article Credit: Eva Magno