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How to Avoid Cravings During Fat Loss Journey

Cravings- our one true nemesis when we want to lose body weight.

Having no control over cravings is one of the major and most common reasons why people face problems losing weight and keeping it off.

For those unaware, cravings are basically intense or uncontrollable desires for specific foods, which is much stronger than normal hunger (and much more satisfying as well!). The kind of food that people crave is highly variable. However, the most common include processed junk foods that are high in sugar.

These cravings can be quite unhealthy for your body, especially if you make it a habit to consume whatever you crave, every time you have a craving, without a second thought. Moreover, if you are determined to reduce body weight and/or gain muscles, and you find that cravings act as the villain of your journey, you can easily eliminate that evil power. All you need are some basic guidelines and of course, a strong willpower and determination to achieve your goal.

Things to do Avoid Cravings

Here, we list down some tips that will help you in avoiding cravings during your fat loss journey.

Drink sufficient water

Dehydration leaves your body longing for a burst of energy. It creates weariness, which causes cravings.

Many a times, when you suddenly crave something, you will find that your body is actually thirsty. You can check this by drinking a large glass of water at that time, and then waiting a few minutes to see if you still crave that food item.

Furthermore, drinking water before meals also helps reduce appetite, thereby boosting the process of weight loss.

Consume lots of protein

High protein diets are famous for weight loss. You need protein for the production of high-quality hormones that prevent blood sugar imbalance and reduce sugar.

Research says that eating more protein can keep you full and satiated for longer, reducing your appetite and so, ensuring that you consume fewer calories.

Moreover, ensuring proteins are a part of each of your meals will leave less space in your stomach for junk food, thereby helping you to fight your cravings easily.

Also, never skip breakfast. Breakfast helps you kickstart your day by regulating blood sugar levels early in the morning, which reduces cravings later in the day. For breakfast, try to have eggs in any form, since these are an excellent source of protein, and will definitely make you feel full the rest of the day.

A particular study showed that eating a high-protein breakfast every day has proven to reduce an individual’s overall cravings significantly, and also helped in weight loss. Furthermore, the desire to snack, especially at night, has also fallen in the case of some people.

Alongside a high protein diet, make sure to also consume foods that are high in fiber, since they are healthy and also a good source of energy. 

Some sources of good protein are eggs, chicken, fish milk, nuts, and paneer.

Eat fruits

The ninja technique to beat cravings is to replace them with something healthy. Whenever you crave junk food or something sweet, all you have to do is grab a fruit.

When it comes to fruits, it’s best to eat whatever you find is local and in season. All forms of berries and refreshing fruits like muskmelon and watermelon make for the perfect sugar fix that will thoroughly satisfy your sweet cravings, without making you put on any extra weight.

Eating fruits will not only defeat your cravings but also provide your body with lots of essential nutrients.

Furthermore, consuming a combination of fruits and nuts has proven to be a lot better as opposed to having fruit alone or even sipping on fruit juice. Choosing this combo during meals will provide your body with healthy fats and will keep you full for longer.

 Maintain a long-distance relationship with unhealthy snacks

If you are really willing to lose weight, do not stash up your room with unhealthy snacks at all. You can either get your surroundings completely rid of those things, or at least, keep them tucked in, far away from you.

Moreover, whenever you feel a craving, try to distance yourself from it. Remember- out of sight, out of mind!

You can go for a brisk walk or a shower or any other activity that shifts your focus and so keeps your mind off those cravings. A change in thought and environment has proven to actually stop the craving.

Some studies have also shown that chewing gum can help reduce your appetite and cravings as well. Chewing a piece of gum keeps your mouth busy, and can help reduce both sweet and salt cravings.

Plan your meals in advance

Many experts advise planning meals for the day or upcoming week beforehand. This eliminates the factor of spontaneity and uncertainty, since you already know what you are going to eat and are mentally prepared for it.

Therefore, if you do not have to think about what to eat for your next meal (which is something we think about 24X7, especially when on a diet), you will be less tempted and less likely to experience cravings.

Hence, try to plan your meals and prepare healthy options at home itself. You can always twist several recipes and add interesting flavors to your meals to beat the monotony in a healthy manner. You can also make your meals interesting by having satiating snacks, like a cup of curd, a handful of almonds, etc.

Avoid starving yourself

Hunger is undoubtedly the foundation of cravings. So, starving yourself to lose weight should not make it to your list of ways to be healthy.

Remember that only on an empty stomach will you daydream about your favorite food items. When you are hungry, you are much more likely to reach out for junk food or sugar. And in this way, you will actually gain weight in your plan of losing weight!

So, to avoid getting extremely hungry, it is recommended that you eat regularly. It is advisable to eat small and frequent meals throughout the day. Furthermore, you should keep healthy snacks like oats, popcorn, fruits or veggie sticks close at hand, too. By avoiding long periods of hunger in this manner, you can scare away your craving from showing up at all.

Choose healthy meals filled with a variety

Hunger and a lack of key nutrients can both cause cravings. Therefore, it is important to eat proper meals at mealtimes, so that your body gets the nutrients it needs. This will ensure that you do not crave unnecessary things afterward.

Furthermore, if you find yourself in need of a snack between meals, you should make sure that you choose something healthy like whole foods, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, or seeds.

Additionally, eating the same meal each day can also make you crave junk food more often. Therefore, it is necessary to make changes to your meal often and add a variety of options.

Reduce your stress levels

Stress, along with sadness and boredom, is said to induce food cravings and influence eating behaviors.

When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol, which is a stress hormone. This boosts your blood sugar levels while simultaneously suppressing insulin, thereby stopping blood glucose from reaching the cells, causing the body’s cells to feel hungry. As a result, you feel more hungry and crave high-calorie foods.

This is said to be a more powerful trigger in a woman. Studies have shown that a woman under stress eats significantly more calories and experiences much more cravings than a non-stressed woman.

Overall, stress can make you gain weight, especially in the belly area.

You can easily try to minimize stress in your everyday life by planning ahead of time, meditating, and generally slowing down. You can also practice breathing exercises to reduce stress or watch movies that distract your attention from stressors and take your mind off binge eating.

Furthermore, if you know you have a stressful day ahead, it is recommended to keep a handful of nuts with you to munch on every time you feel a craving hitting you.

Get adequate sleep

Sleep deprivation alters your body’s normal hormone balance, by raising the hunger hormone ghrelin and lowering the hunger-suppressing hormone leptin. This combo causes your body to crave a burst of energy and directly leads to poor appetite regulation and strong cravings.

Case studies have proven that sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to become obese, compared to people who get enough sleep. Therefore, getting quality and adequate hours of sleep is said to be one of the most powerful and easiest ways to prevent your cravings from showing up.

So, sleep on time, wake up on time, and eat meals at the same time every day!

Avoid going to grocery stores when hungry

Grocery stores are probably one of the worst places to be in, when you are hungry or craving something.

Not only do they give you easy and unlimited access to pretty much any food you can think of, but they also display the unhealthiest foods at your eye level, literally serving you calories on a silver platter.

So, the best way to prevent cravings from happening at the store is to ensure that you shop only on a full stomach.

Furthermore, you should take caution when you are outside, hungry, and crossing a vending machine. Stay away from streets with junk food selling joints, food trucks, etc. Therefore, if you have to run an errand outdoors, it is wise to grab a quick meal beforehand and go!

Try spinach extract

Spinach extract is a supplement available in the market these days, which is made from spinach leaves. It helps delay fat digestion, which increases the levels of hormones that reduce appetite and hunger.

Studies show that taking 3.7–5 g of spinach extract with a meal can prove useful to reduce your appetite and cravings for several hours at once.

However, it is best to consult your doctor and learn whether these supplements are the right choice for your body, before purchasing these.

Learn and practice mindful eating

Mindful eating is all about practicing mindfulness in relation to foods and eating. It teaches you to develop an awareness of your eating habits, emotions, hunger, cravings, and physical sensations. It also ensures that you know how to distinguish between your cravings and actual physical hunger, in your everyday life. In this manner, the technique helps you choose your response carefully and after lots of deliberation, instead of acting impulsively (and/or thoughtlessly), like you might have done otherwise, and regretted later.

Furthermore, eating mindfully also involves being present while you eat, i.e. slowing down and chewing thoroughly. This ensures that all your senses are active and conscious while you eat. Additionally, mindful eating also advises against distractions like watching the television or using a smartphone while you are eating.

Binge eating while binge-watching a show can turn unknowingly out to be your worst enemy!

Cravings are nothing short of a ticker in your brain that goes on and on till you satisfy it. But they are not something to stress about, especially if you are someone who has just begun their fitness journey. Do not be too hard on yourself if you are unable to abide by all the listed guidelines. Give your body (and stomach) some time to adjust to the diet. Instead of wolfing down your favorite pizza completely, try going for one slice (or maybe two if it looks completely irresistible) and discarding the rest. Start small, and then go up, one step at a time.

And always keep in mind that being aware is the key. If you are mindful of your cravings and their triggers, you can easily avoid them and choose healthy instead. For instance, if you crave something sweet (despite being mindful and following all the tips mentioned above), you should will yourself to pick up a sweet apple or a banana, instead of a bar of chocolate! These tiny little sacrifices will go a long, long way.

Lastly, remember to indulge in your cravings once in a while to keep your body happy. You deserve a cheat day!

We hope this article was helpful for you and helps you fight the cravings monster, once and for all!

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