Food cravings are dieters worst enemy. All day you followed your diet up to the letter and in the evening it goes wrong. Hunger is the main cause of food cravings, but there are other elements that can make it worse. Because prevention is better than cure this article suggest ways to prevent these cravings. Since there is a lot to say about food cravings we split the article up in two. This is the first part, the second one can be found here.
#1: Eat at regular time intervals
The signal of hunger is sent to the brain when the blood sugar drops under a certain level. The longer you wait before you eat, the harder your body will scream for food. By eating at regular time intervals you can prevent this from happening. Separating your total intake into smaller meals, every 3-4 hours is a good way to keep your blood sugar level stable.
#2: Understand what triggers your food cravings
Food cravings are often triggered by other factors than hunger. A lot of people eat because they need emotional comfort, feel bored or as a reward for success. If you don’t know what triggers your food craving it can be helpful to keep a food dairy and find out. Don’t only write down what you ate and drank but also why and how you felt. Once you know what triggers it you’ll have a better idea of what you need do to prevent it. For example, if you tend to crave for popcorn when you watch a scary movie, go for a comedy instead. If you’re bored at home and open the fridge out of boredom, be aware of it and find something else to entertain you.
#3: Make sure you get enough sleep
Some people have sugar cravings in the evening because they lack sleep. They wake up early, work and train hard and in the evening push it a bit more to finish some extra work. They crave something sweet because sugar keeps them running through the small hours. These people are better of going to bed a bit earlier. A good night sleep will make them feel better in the morning, make them more productive, improve their recovery from trainings and prevent them from eating thing they would later regret.
Solution #4: Stir away form a sugar addiction
Sugar craving can be a result of sugar addiction. If you can’t imagine your life without a desert after every meal, without sweetening your coffee and unsweetened yoghurt and oats are unbearable for you- you might be addicted to sugar. It’s not your fault! The food industry encourages sugar addiction by adding sugar to almost every product. Check the ingredients list on everything you eat (yes, also tomato sauce and smoked fish, you’ll be surprised to see what is in there) and try to reduce your overall sugar intake. If you’re brave enough – try the 10 days of no added sugar challenge. The first 48-72 hours are the most difficult but after that you’ll discover the new flavors in everything you eat.
#5: Don’t be too hard on yourself
Some people on a diet are just too hard on themselves. It’s not because you allowed yourself to eat a piece of chocolate you were not supposed to, your diet is ruined. It is normal to have ups and downs and a good diet doesn’t need to be 100% perfect – it needs to be consistent. Cut yourself some slack once in a while.
Read more about how to make yourself a healthy diet in “Making weight & Everything Else”