When dieting, food cravings are something you’ll come up against at least once. Sometimes you think, “Just one snack won’t hurt” or “I’ll just have a little bite”. These calories can soon add up and hinder your diet. This can lead you to feel deflated and cause you to quit your diet. So it’s best to find solutions to dealing with them straight away.
What Are Food Cravings
Food cravings are the overwhelming urge you have when you really want a particular food. These are usually for junk foods full of fats and sugars and can occur a lot when trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet.
Cravings are one of the main reasons people stop dieting as they don’t know how to deal with them. I was one of these people, always giving up when I really wanted some chocolate or cake. I’ve got a bad sweet tooth but now I’m learning how to cope with the cravings and improve my health and fitness.
Why We Get Food Cravings
Some people believe cravings are the bodies way of telling us we need certain nutrients from the food we crave. However, research shows this not to be true as the foods we mainly crave are junk food full of fat, salt and sugar little nutrients.
It’s all in our heads. Cravings come from the parts of the brain responsible for memory, pleasure and reward. We usually associate foods to an activity or time. For example, if you always eat chocolate in the evening at the end of a long day while watching television. If you were to stop eating it to lose weight or even because you just ran out, then you’ll most likely end up craving it the next time you watch television in the evening.
We can also get cravings as a result of emotional needs. Many people comfort eat foods such as chocolate because it boosts the levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that contributes to wellness and happiness. So when you are feeling down you can crave food more as you want to boost your mood.
How To Deal With Food Cravings
Below are a few different ways to help reduce unwanted food cravings:
Dehydration can often be confused with hunger or food cravings. Drinking water when you have a craving may reduce it as you rehydrate your body. It can also reduce cravings as water is proven to reduce appetite as well. You’ll also gain the other benefits that come from drinking water, such as, improved energy levels and flushing toxins out the body.
Get More Sleep
Studies have shown that lack of sleep can end up with increased cravings and food intake. This is due to the sleep loss causing hormonal imbalance. However, getting more sleep proved to reduce the number of cravings the participants had and rebalanced their hormone levels.
As we now know, emotions can play a big part in food cravings. So, trying to reduce stress and improve your well being. If you are comfort eating a lot it may be a sign that you need to take some time out for yourself. Whether that be time for your self or time to see a friend, it’s important to take care of your well being. This, in turn, can reduce your cravings.
Replace Your Craving With Other Treats
If you find that no matter what you do you’re still not squashing or reducing your cravings, try finding low-calorie alternatives. These could be sugar-free or low-fat options, swapping to similar foods such as having dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate as it is richer and less may be needed to satisfy your cravings, or just having smaller portions of the food you are craving.
What Works For Your Food Cravings?
How do you deal with your food craving? Do you have other ways other than listed above? Let me know in the comments.