When it comes to food, many of us struggle with frequent, overpowering cravings. Carbohydrates, dairy, and sugar are often the top offenders when it comes to tempting foods. If you fail to resist your cravings, it can lead to unhealthy dietary choices, unwanted weight gain, and lack of energy.
Fortunately, successfully battling food cravings is possible when specific, proven tips are utilized. See the list below for the top five ways to fend off the desire for unhealthy foods. Many of the tips are easy to incorporate into your life as well as almost free.
1. Stay Hydrated
One of the most important, and also the easiest, ways to eliminate food cravings is to stay adequately, consistently hydrated. The body, if dehydrated, will sometimes confuse thirst for hunger.
Water is proven as a crucial step in reducing appetite and the desire to eat. To ensure you are actually hungry, not just experiencing cravings due to thirst, try drinking a large glass of water prior to all meals and snacks or when experiencing a craving. Make it a habit to regularly reach for a glass of water throughout the day and aim for a total of 7 – 8 glasses.
2. Get Enough Sleep
By prioritizing sleep, the body is better able to fight off unhealthy cravings. According to the National Institutes of Health, during sleep, the body produces two key hormones involved in hunger and appetite control. Leptin, an appetite suppressor, is increased during sleep while grehlin, an appetite stimulant, is decreased.
Clearly, if this delicate balance of hormones is disrupted by inadequate sleep, choosing healthy foods will suddenly become far more difficult. Alternatively, by getting at least 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, leptin and grehlin will be produced in the proper amounts and automatically assist you in combating unhealthy food urges.
3. Seek out a Health or Wellness Coach for Assistance
Health and wellness coaching can offer key support when it comes to improving your overall health. A professionally trained coach provides personal assistance, accountability, guidance, and, most importantly, support.
These coaches possess a wealth of information when it comes to successfully beating cravings and achieving goals and can play a key role in obtaining optimal health. Benefits of working with a health or wellness coach include a convenient schedule planned around your life, personalized nutrition plans and tips, and assistance in tracking and measuring your progress.
4. Find a Healthy Outlet for Emotions
Often, cravings can be attributed to a variety of emotions from happiness to boredom to sadness. It is essential to find an appropriate outlet for these emotions rather than turning to food. For example, try taking a relaxing walk, pampering yourself with a long, hot bath, or getting lost in an exciting book.
Additionally, when at a celebration or social event, aim to focus on the socializing aspect rather than the food. By staying distracted with mingling or dancing, food will move to the back of your mind.
5. Always Include Protein in Your Breakfast
Protein is a crucial nutrient, required by every cell in the body, and plays an essential role in reducing cravings. The Nutrition Journal completed a study on the role of protein in the diet, specifically at breakfast, and concluded that including protein at the start of the day resulted in significant reduction in food cravings.
By incorporating one or more of the habits listed above, your ability to conquer cravings and instead choose nutritious foods will be greatly increased. What are some of your favorite ways to battle the yearning for unhealthy foods?
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. The information in this article is credited to Balance of Nature who suggests working with a health and wellness coach.