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Unbelievable Ways To Manage Those Cravings!
Cravings for specific types of food are constant, recurring feelings that most people deal with, even those who consider themselves disciplined.
But it is a simple, biological fact that some times of foods can be addictive and lead to intense cravings. These cravings can lead to impulsive eating behaviors, consistent patterns of poor dietary choices, and we all know what eating bad food on a regular basis can do to our health. In moments of stress or exhaustion, when there is no more willpower fuel left in the tank, we give into the craving. We may feel guilty for a time, but of course, we’ll end up hungry again later, and the cycle repeats.
So what’s the way out of this problem? How do we eliminate the craving itself?
There are actually a bunch of ways. Below we’ve provided a list of actionable, practical steps you can take to nip cravings in the bud and take control of your eating.
1. Switch junk food with healthy snacks
Often, it is more effective to replace the unhealthy snack with a healthy one, rather than eliminating the snack altogether. Choose some blueberries or cherries instead of gummy fruit snacks. Try an apple instead of a cookie, or a small piece of unsweetened dark chocolate in place of a candy bar full of sugar.
2. Distract yourself
Engage in a project or task that demands your full attention and concentration, and you won’t have time to focus on your hunger. You will come to realize that when you do this, your cravings have a way of subsiding before you even notice. The specific kind of task you perform doesn’t really matter, as long as it demands your concentration. Puzzles, cleaning your house, or even video games will fit the bill. In fact, one study found that playing the video game Tetris led to a 25 percent decrease in food cravings among participants.
One explanation for this was the “Elaborated Intrusion Theory” which suggests that visualization of foods — that is, mental images — is a key component in the craving process. When one’s working memory is preoccupied with a task, it reduces the occurrence of cravings.
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3. Physical activity
Studies have shown that any physical activity, even something as simple as taking a walk, can reduce cravings and prevent you from overeating. One study showed that going for a 15-minute walk was all it took to eliminate cravings for chocolate among participants. Other forms of cardiovascular exercise release endorphins that stop cravings for a time. (It’s important to keep the type of exercise you’re doing in mind; resistance training with weights can actually have the opposite effect.)
4. Drink more water
Staying hydrated can have a strong influence in whether or not you experience cravings. Many times the feeling we’re trying to alleviate by eating is actually just thirst. Staying properly hydrated will prevent some cravings from ever occurring.
5. Plan your meals ahead of time
Try eating five or six smaller meals throughout the day. Schedule your eating in such a way that you won’t experience cravings for junk foods in the first place. When planning your meals, pick foods that provide plenty of nutrients and will keep you feeling full longer. Speaking of which …
6. Reduce stress in your life
Stress has all kinds of negative effects on your health, but it is also one of the prime triggers of cravings. Eating “comfort foods” is a common method of coping with stress. Chronic stress also increases your levels of cortisol, a hormone that contributes to weight gain and specifically to the accumulation of fat in the midsection.
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7. Eat more protein
Protein is an essential nutrient, and keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time than carbohydrates. Try having some eggs or a protein shake in the morning, and don’t be surprised if you don’t experience any cravings till lunch.
One study involving adult men found that increasing protein intake reduced cravings during the day by a whopping 60 percent, and the desire to snack during the night by half. Another study involving overweight girls in their teens found that when they ate a protein-rich breakfast, their cravings were significantly reduced, preventing them from overeating and helping them to lose weight.
8. Spinach extract
Spinach extract is a new nutritional supplement that can help eliminate cravings for foods. This unique supplement has the ability to slow down the digestion of fat, which elevates levels of hormones like GLP-1, which prevent the sensation of hunger.
Multiple studies have shown that taking spinach extract can prolong the feeling of being full and prevent cravings for hours afterward. One study on overweight adult females showed that spinach extract actually reduced cravings by up to 95 percent!
The ideal amount to take will vary from person to person, but the optimal range appears to be between 3.5 to 7 grams of spinach extract.
There are many ways to skin the cat when it comes to eliminating cravings to prevent overeating. One important thing to keep in mind: Pay attention to the kinds of foods you are craving, as this may indicate nutritional deficiencies you need to address. For example, sugar has addictive properties, but craving sweets might also be a sign that your body has trouble metabolizing carbohydrates. Cravings for red meat may indicate that you are deficient in iron. Write down the types of foods you crave and share them with your doctor, and he or she will be able to help you pick which of the above methods is best suited for you.