Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tricks to Help You Curb Your Food Cravings

Food cravings. They can attack us all; from the 5-time marathon runner to the newly-recovering couch potato. Food cravings are unavoidable, and to deny their existence will make you more vulnerable when they attack. The best thing to do is to have strategies in place to combat them and to meet them head on. Here are some great tricks to curb those cravings. Post them on your refrigerator and you'll be sure to slay the monster.

Stop Cravings Before They Start.
Prevent cravings by making sure you're eating small, well-balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. As a matter of fact, if you're eating whole foods every 3-4 hours, your belly will stay relatively full and your blood sugar level. Without dangerous dips in your blood sugar, you're less likely to crave quick fixes like simple carbs or bad fats.

Did you know that sometimes what our brains register as hunger is actually our bodies trying to tell us that we're dehydrated? The next time a craving hits you out of nowhere, make it a point to drink a full glass of water.

Distract Your Taste Buds.
Sometimes cravings hit because you're stressed or bored and your mouth needs something to do. A great trick is to pop a piece of gum or a breath mint. The burst of flavor will refocus your palate and nip that craving in the bud. Usually when your mouth is already full there's no room to want anything more.

Don't Eat. Act.
Sit down and make a list of 10 things that you can do instead of succumbing to your cravings. Keep the list close at hand and refer to it often. It may sound cheesy, but it's a great weapon against those pesky cravings. Your list might include going for a walk, taking a quick shower, playing with a pet, or chatting with a loved one. The point is to focus your attention elsewhere and recondition your mind to crave something more active instead of the food you don't need.

Rule Your Cravings with an Iron Fist.
Sometimes it's less about craving a particular food and more about general impulse control. The next time you are hit with a diet-busting craving, clench your fists as you tell yourself that you will not indulge. Research has shown that the physical activity of clenching your fists can help you assert control and be conscientious in your decision making.

Remember: Sharing Is Caring...For Yourself
If you just can't resist a piece of cheesecake or that bowl of ice cream, try splitting one serving with a friend. There are three reasons why this strategy halts the damage cravings can inflict on your fitness goals. First, you'll get a satisfying taste, preventing you from feeling deprived and possibly opening yourself up to a dangerous binge later on. Second, by splitting the portion you instantly cut down on the calories and bring your treat down to manageable levels of sugar, fat, and sodium. Lastly, you get instant support in your healthy decision from your like-minded friend. Just make sure you and your cravings-buddy split a single portion - not an entire extra-large everything pizza. 

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