Food cravings can be a nightmare if you are trying to watch your weight. There are many possible reasons for food cravings, including hormonal changes and stress. For someone on a highly restrictive diet, food cravings may indicate that your body is lacking in nutrients. It is very easy to succumb to the cravings and go on a binge-eating spree, only to feel guilty and slip into a vicious cycle, yoyo-ing between extreme dieting and binge eating.
Our body is an extremely smart mechanism. It works in-sync with our brain to send signals telling us to eat when it is lacking in essential nourishments. Sometimes these signals may be misinterpreted, leading us to over-eat, or eating the wrong nutrients.
Understanding how our body works is key to managing these uncontrollable cravings. Read on for some tips on how you can better control your hunger pangs and cravings!
1. Be sufficiently hydrated
People often mistake thirst for hunger and end up snacking instead of drinking water. If you experience random or sudden cravings, your body could be giving out mixed signals. Try drinking a full glass of water and waiting it out. You may discover that you were actually thirsty, and your cravings might go away shortly.
2. Have More Protein
Having more protein in your meals may reduce hunger pangs and prevent overeating as the day progresses. It can make you feel fuller and sated for longer periods of time, reducing afternoon and night-time cravings.
3. Don’t Skip Meals
During busy days, we may lose track of the time and start to skip meals, which causes us to go on a binge-eating spree shortly after. Remember to practice mindful eating by making sure we eat regular nutritious meals during any busy period.
4. Try Chewing Gum
Chewing a sugar-free gum can be a great way to distract you from snack cravings and manage hunger pangs. However, make sure that your gum is sugar-free or stick to ones that are less than 5 calories per stick.
5. Go For A Walk
Walking for at least 15 minutes may help to reduce cravings, especially high-calorie and sugary snacks. Exercise stimulates a part of your cognition that controls cravings, and improves your mood, which may impact eating behaviour. So, the next time you feel like reaching out for a snack, take a quick walk around your office or house!
6. Play A Quick Mental Game
Gamers rejoice! Playing mind games like Tetris, or Words With Friends can help you to manage your cravings. It acts as a distraction by focusing your attention on the game, rather than your desire for snacking. However, remember not to game excessively, otherwise it becomes another unhealthy habit. Instead, keep it quick so you can play during short breaks.
The next time you think about snacking, have a go at one of the above ways to reduce your cravings. Otherwise, you can reach for healthier options instead, and your body will surely thank you for it!
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