Identify the reason. If you really want to solve problems permanently, first get to their roots.
First things, first. Cravings may occur due to anxiety, loneliness, or even stress. Find out what makes you reach out for that chocolate bar, and deal with the problem quickly.
Shop not on empty stomach. Shopping for food when you are hungry will ensure that you reach out for calorie-laden nutritionally-poor snacks. When you are really hungry, your brain is on the “I-need-energy-now” mode. This makes sure you buy foods that provide instant energy, i.e., refined/processed food. What’s more, you also end up hoarding too many calorie-dense foods, by reaching out for them anytime at home. So, make sure you shop on a full stomach. Also, take a shopping list which allows you to buy more healthy food. Stick to the list.
Don’t diet hard. I have never understood people who starve themselves for days on end, and suddenly decide they were being unfair to themselves. They go all out, and binge. How is this going to make you healthy?
Dieting should be about options, not restrictions. Dieting is also not just about losing weight, but correcting old patterns of eating. After all, if your food habits don’t change permanently, how will you change the way you look permanently? Eat your favourite foods in moderation, and stop eating just out of habit. Eat only when you really want to.
Stop gaps. If you are in the habit of eating just 2-3 meals, in a day, you definitely will find yourself eating more helpings at these meals, and also reaching out hastily for fast-food options. It is best to snack on healthy foods like low-fat yogurt, or fruit salad, or soup, in-between meals, so that there are no long gaps that compel you to reach out for that “extra” something.
Plan ahead. Eat according to the next three hours. If you have eaten your breakfast and left home, and you know your lunch is going to be delayed, don’t order dessert with lunch! Carry a fruit with you and eat it when hunger pangs are just about to begin. This will help raise your blood sugar levels for the next 1-2 hours, and prevent you from overeating at lunch, or after.
Supplement. If you find yourself low on energy from time-to-time, it shows that you may be low on haemoglobin. You may need an iron supplement. This is not all. Excessive craving for sugar may also emerge due to deficiency of the mineral, chromium. Take a chromium supplement in consultation your therapist. This will help deal with your cravings effectively.
Hydrate. Most often, we mistake thirst for hunger. Make sure you drink at least 10-12 glasses of water in a day. Also, always keep a small bottle of water handy. This will prevent dehydration and that-empty-stomach feeling.
Nurture a hobby. Many a time you may find yourself reaching out for food just out of boredom, because you may not have anything worthwhile to do! Nurture a hobby that mentally stimulates you, and keeps you occupied. With this, you will have less time to think about food.
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