Managing Food Cravings Better
We all experience food cravings, but when we want to lose weight, these cravings can derail our efforts and makes us feel guilty. Though it's not easy to control when it comes to food cravings, we can still manage them better if we know the answer to these questions.
What are food cravings, and why do I get them?
Food craving is when you have a strong desire to eat which does not get satisfied until you get that. Food cravings come suddenly, and you want to satisfy it instantly. You can have the craving of any food, but mostly it is of junk foods and processed foods high in sugar, salt, and fat. Reason to these cravings can be many like the imbalance between hunger and fullness hormones (leptin and ghrelin), lack of sleep, low nutrient diet, drinking less water, stress, mood swings and many more.
To control my cravings for junk foods seems impossible. What should I do?
- Do not eat immediately; give yourself 15 - 20 minutes- be mindful. Tell yourself it’s not actual hunger. Distract yourself by engaging in some activity like doing some physical exercise- yoga or walk or talking to your friend etc. believe it will pass.
- Eat your 3 meals regularly. Do not skip any meal because otherwise your mind will keep sending you thoughts of different foods, and at the end, you will end up eating much more calories than your meal.
- Do not overthink about food cravings. Try substituting it with healthier options that have vitamins, minerals and fiber, like if you get an intense craving for sweet then try fresh or dried fruits, dates, homemade sweets made up of whole wheat or milk and some natural sweetener.
What kind of foods should I eat to reduce my food craving?
Eat foods rich in fiber, as fiber gives you a feeling of fullness without adding calories to it. Fiber-rich foods give bulk to your food, and you will not feel like eating again and again.
- Eat slowly – it takes some time when your body realizes that you are full. Also, before taking the second serve think for a minute that whether you need it or not.
When I go for grocery shopping, all I want to pick up is fast food?
- Check your grocery list - Do not buy the food you crave at first hand because when your choicest food is kept in the kitchen then you tend to eat more and you will keep getting cravings more often because you know it’s there.
- Read labels before buying. It helps you in making informed food choices towards choosing good nutrition and health. This will also tell you about the amount of calories the food is providing.
Is there any relationship between lifestyle and food cravings?
- Get enough sleep. When you do not sleep enough, then to give you the energy boost your body may crave for junk foods and processed foods high in sugar and fat.
- Exercise regularly. As it not only helps in burning calories, but it may also strengthen your brain’s ability to resist high-calorie foods.
- Do mindful eating – while eating do not indulge in other activities like watching tv, talking over the phone etc. as this will not let you enjoy the food, you will not be satisfied and get the food cravings more often.
- Try following an eating schedule- means eat at the same time every day and at the same place preferably.
I feel guilty after indulging in fast food. What should I do?
Do not live in guilt. Allow yourself a little of your favourite food occasionally. Remember it’s the quantity and frequency which matters not the food. Moderation should be key when you want to indulge in such foods.
Knowing about cravings matters as it makes them much easier to avoid. Following the above simple tips and eating a balanced diet rich in fiber with healthy eating practices decreases your chances of binge eating and helps manage your food cravings better.
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