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Kimberly Tenner
December 7, 2016

How to Stop Cravings – What Can You Do to Avoid Killer Diet Cravings?

Unhealthy cravings have a past, present and future.

What you have done in the past affects your propensity to get cravings, what you do when a craving hits is important in controlling cravings, and the actions you take after a craving comes prevent the return of future cravings.

How to Stop Cravings

Let’s examine these three concepts on the timeline to help you learn to control and manage cravings.

Before Cravings Come

You should adopt these healthy living principles right away, as they help prevent unwanted cravings.

Eat Regularly

Members of the National Weight Control Registry recommend eating breakfast regularly and maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends. [1] When you go too long without food, you set yourself up for starvation, cravings, and failure. Maintaining a consistent eating pattern and keeping your body fueled throughout the day prevents these cravings.

Eat Protein and Fiber

Both protein-packed and fiber-filled foods help you feel full, and you are thereby less likely to crave foods you really don’t need. In one study on 35 women, fiber curbed hunger and reduced desire to eat in just 3 days. [2]

Get Enough Sleep

Researchers found 2 days of sleep restriction increased appetite for calorie-dense foods. [3] The answer is clear: get enough sleep to stop cravings in their tracks.

RELATED: See the Best Diet Pills that Help Fight Hunger

When Cravings Hit

Despite all your work to prevent them, cravings are still going to come. So, how should you react?

Replace What You’re Craving

You may find you’re craving sugar or fatty foods more than you should, and it’s taking a toll on your diet. Calm that craving by eating a similar food that’s more nutritious. For example, fruit has natural sugars that satisfy sugar cravings; instead of ice cream, opt for yogurt and fruit. A craving for fatty, salty foods could be ameliorated by eating a rich protein source like fish, chicken, or beans.

Drink Water

Wellness center founder Dr. Frank Lipman attributes many food cravings to thirst. [4] Before reaching for food, drink water instead.

Distract Yourself

Often cravings come because of emotional reasons. It’s important not to train your body to expect a certain food when you feel a certain emotion. Instead, relieve emotions by taking a walk, writing in your journal, listening to uplifting music, or talking to a friend. Or, keep your mouth busy by chewing gum. Give it time and your craving might give up on you.

Give in—A Little

Ignoring a craving leaves some people feeling deprived, which could lead to more cravings in the future. Dietician Kerry Neville suggests eating a little of what you’re craving, like a fun-size candy bar or a small cookie. [5]

After Cravings Leave

Once you’ve solved the problem of a craving, you want to take action to prevent its future return. Here’s what you do.

Slowly Cut Out Vices

SodaSome people prefer cutting out sugar and fats cold turkey. But for the majority of the population, eating a treat every once in a while is okay, as long as it’s in moderation.

Start small: choose something you can change about your eating pattern and decide how to cut back or cut it out. If you’re a soda-holic, start by drinking soda just once a day, then once a week, and then once a month.

If chocolate is your vice, remove chocolate from your home and commit to eating just one dessert when you attend parties.

Once you meet your goals, slowly cut back on another vice.

Seek Help for Emotional Problems

Food and emotion is closely intertwined. In fact, certain foods affect brain chemicals which release emotions. Sugars and starches, for example, release serotonin, which temporarily improves mood and lessens depression. [6]

However, these foods also lead to weight gain and poor health—which worsens emotional problems. That’s why it’s not a good idea to rely on these foods for comfort if you are dealing with depression or anxiety. Instead of a short term solution through food, seek medical and clinical help.

Use a Diet Pill for Support

Ingredients in diet pills can help you control cravings.

For example, the chlorogenic acids in green coffee bean modulate glucose release. The release of glucose into the bloodstream increases cravings for simple sugars and refined carbs, so green coffee bean helps reduce these cravings and control hunger. [7]

To find a list of effective and safe diet pills for women, click here.

Believe You Can Control Cravings

Remember, when you have a craving, you have the power to choose how to respond to that craving. A pattern of healthy choices arms you with the power to stop future cravings and live a healthy life.

References

[1] Rena R. Wing and Suzanne Phelan. “Long-term weight loss maintenance.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2005; 82 (1): 222S-225S. Available from: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/1/222S.short

[2] V. Kacinik et al. “Effect of PGX, a novel functional fibre supplement, on subjective ratings of appetite in overweight and obese women consuming a 3-day structured, low-calorie diet.” Nutr Diabetes. 2011; 1 (12): e22. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3302126/

[3] Spiegel K et al. “Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite.” Ann Intern Med. 2004; 141 (11): 846-50. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15583226

[4] Frank Lipman. “20 Ways to Get Sugar Out of Your Life.” Available from: http://www.drfranklipman.com/20-ways-to-get-sugar-out-of-your-life/

[5] “13 Ways to Fight Sugar Cravings.” Available from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/13-ways-to-fight-sugar-cravings

[6] “Understand Food Cravings, Brain Chemistry, and Body Weight.” Available from: http://www.balancedweightmanagement.com/Understand%20Brain%20Chemistry%20and%20Weight.htm

[7] Terry Lemerond. “Green Coffee Bean Extract for Weight Loss and More.” Available from: http://www.terrytalksnutrition.com/weekly-articles/2012/11-02/green-coffee-bean-extract-for-weight-loss-and-more-2/


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