Cravings are inevitable. These science-backed healthy habits can stop food cravings for sugar, salt, and junk food.
It’s possible to beat food cravings
Once the thought of a juicy burger, chocolatey cookie, or any other food or drink comes to mind, it’s hard to forget about something so tasty.
It’s possible that your food cravings are trying to reveal something about your health. Still, although it’s OK to eat the foods you crave, it’s also OK not to want to indulge in every single delicious one. Here are some healthy ways you can stop cravings.
1. Play a game on your smartphone
Cravings typically last for 10 minutes so try to distract yourself with something simple like playing a game on your phone. In a study published in 2015 in Addictive Behaviors, volunteers reported that playing the video game Tetris reduced the intensity of their cravings for alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food, and activities such as sex and gaming.
Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery. It is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.
2. Take a walk
Research has shown that exercise reduces the urge for chocolate in normal-weight people. One study published in 2015 in PLoS One found that walking briskly for 15 minutes reduced cravings for sugary snacks in overweight people.
3. Imagine yourself eating
If you do give in to the urge to eat, a bit of imagination before digging in can help satisfy your craving sooner, according to a review of studies published in 2016 in Social and Personality Psychology Compass.
When people imagined eating 30 M&Ms before being allowed to eat as much of the real candy as they wanted, they tended to eat fewer than people who imagined eating just three M&Ms ahead of time.
The theory is that by picturing yourself chowing down, you feel like you’ve already eaten and you’ll feel you’ve had enough sooner. You could even whip up one of these delicious treats dietitians eat to beat their sugar cravings.
When you’re stressed, the hormone cortisol floods your system, triggering the urge to eat foods high in fat or sugar. If you find yourself reaching for food to deal with stress, try taking a few moments for meditation.
A review of studies published in 2014 in the journal Eating Behavior suggests that mindfulness meditation can decrease stress and make it easier to resist binge eating.
5. Make a fist
Weirdly, tightening your muscles could give your willpower a boost.
In a review of studies published in Journal of Consumer Research, participants who clenched their fists, tightened their biceps or calf muscles, or stretched their fingers while making food choices picked healthier foods than those who didn’t.
The researchers say firming your muscles while trying to exert self-control could strengthen your resolve.
6. Cut yourself a break
Giving up junk food produces similar withdrawal-like symptoms as drug addiction.
Researchers asked 231 adults to report what happened when they reduced the amount of highly processed foods they ate in the past year.
The study participants reported that sadness, irritability, tiredness, and cravings peaked during the initial two to five days after they quit eating junk food, but then the negative side effects tapered off.
7. Take a power nap
Cravings sneak up when we’re tired. Focus on the fatigue: Shut the door, close your eyes, re-energize. In fact, a good night’s sleep, will help banish those sugar cravings, in particular.
A study published in 2017 in Sleep Medicine found that slightly sleep-deprived participants who got just 20 minutes of extra sleep ate an average of nearly 10 fewer grams of added sugars each day compared to those who didn’t make any changes to their sleep schedules.
Aside from tiredness, here are the 8 other feelings you mistake for hunger.
8. Get minty, fresh breath
You could try brushing your teeth or gargling with mouthwash: When you have a fresh, clean mouth, you don’t want to mess it up. Plus, most foods don’t taste great after using a minty toothpaste or mouthwash.
9. Plan out your cravings
Try to map out time in your day to either indulge in a craving or find a way to avoid it. If you can’t walk by your favorite pizzeria without buying a slice of cheese pizza, then find a new walking route.
Or if you know you’ll be face-to-face with an irresistible birthday cake, allocate enough calories to fit it into your overall tally for the day without going overboard or feeling guilty.
One last thing… you should try this odd “carb trick” that burns up to 1 pound of belly fat per day…
“All this by Flavor-Pairing?” I asked.
I met an old friend for lunch last month and I was super impressed with how good she looked.
She said, “It’s not so much about the Flavor-Pairing, but more about how it re-awakens what the Japanese call, ‘the weight loss doubling molecule’ which signals 22-hour a day fat-burning effect in the female body.”
Even though I was skeptical, I’ve been struggling with my weight over the last few years, so I gave it a shot and watched the same video she did.
Well, it’s only a couple weeks later and you know what they say about how “you can’t transform your body overnight”…
They’re right – it actually took me 16 days to lose 22 pounds.
Now it’s my girlfriends asking ME what I’M doing differently 💅