If you’ve ever started a weight loss program, you know that one of the most important things you can do is to get a handle on your food cravings. There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of food cravings you have, and there are things that you can do in response to those food cravings to make it more likely that you’ll meet your weight loss goals. Being able to identify ways to control your cravings is one important step in your weight loss journey.
Researchers aren’t entirely sure what’s behind our cravings. That being said, many experts do suspect that our cravings are physiological. Our bodies crave specific nutrients contained in the specific foods that we crave. So, for example, if you’re feeling low on energy, your body is likely to crave carbohydrates.
There are psychological aspects to cravings that can’t be denied, as well. Cravings can come as a part of food addiction, or as a response to emotional eating. The most important thing you can do in terms of controlling your cravings is to try to identify where yours come from.
Here are some things you can do to control your cravings and stay on track with your weight loss:
- Respond to cravings with acceptable foods. Just because you’re craving potato chips doesn’t mean you have to eat potato chips. Instead of eating potato chips, why not try something else? Try some celery sticks, for example. If you can’t stomach the celery by itself, don’t dip it in peanut butter. Instead, try it with some fresh garden salsa. Identifying substitutes for your cravings is one great way to give in without compromising your weight loss.
- Go do something else. Get busy with a new project, or go for a walk. Separating yourself from the situation in which you’re experiencing the craving is one great way to break that craving. If you tend to want ice cream while watching TV, for example, record your favorite program and watch it later. Alternatively, put an exercise bike or a treadmill in your family room and watch TV while you exercise instead of eating ice cream.
- Tough it out. Sometimes, you just need to cowboy up and say “no.” You need to wait out the craving. You may find that, within just a few minutes, that feeling like you had to have a slice of chocolate cream pie actually vanishes on its own. It’ll be back, of course, but when it does come back you’ll need to exert your force of will again.