7 Super Effective Ways To Kick Food Cravings To The Curb

When it comes to eating healthy, your mind doesn’t necessarily do you any favors. Heck, you could even say that it works against you completely. After all, when an irresistible hankering for some hot, salty fries creeps in or the need for a warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookie strikes, what’s the cause? That’s right, it’s likely the pleasure and reward centers of your brain.

While you may be secretly hoping that cravings aren’t all in your head, and maybe there are some nutritional needs that pizza fulfills after all, that isn’t exactly the case. In fact, food cravings are often spurred on by stress, dehydration, lack of sleep and hormonal imbalances—which sounds like an average Tuesday for most of us.

Now if everyone craved broccoli, it wouldn’t be an issue. But the most common cravings are for those foods that don’t do your waistline—or health—any favors: foods high in fat, sugar and salt, like cookies, chips, pizza and pastries. So, what are you supposed to do when a mouth-watering craving strikes? For starters, put down the buttery, soft, blueberry muffin, then try one of these quick tricks:

1.    Distract yourself. When the alluring vending machine is calling your name, try using mental imagery, coloring a picture or playing a game on your phone. All of these activities are visually stimulating (no more imagining food), and they redirect your focus to the here and now. 

2.    Get moving. During stress-filled days, indulging in your absolute favorite food may seem like the perfect pick-me-up. But instead of giving into that tempting craving, try getting up and going on a quick 15-minute walk. Not only will this help redirect your attention, it will also spur on the release of feel-good hormones (aka: endorphins) and give you a boost of energy.

3.    Take a whiff. It’s one thing to be longing for a juicy burger after a TV ad, but to encounter the savory scent of a cheeseburger first-hand, now that’s tough. So when you’re faced with those real-time food aromas, take a whiff of your favorite perfume or oil (like jasmine) to help counteract it.

4.   Quench your thirstYou’ve likely heard that dehydration is one of the most common culprits behind snacking and those pesky food cravings. Unfortunately, though, drinking a bunch of water (while important) isn’t necessarily satisfying. Instead, try reaching for a flavored beverage, like fruit-infused water, coffee or tea. And make sure to avoid artificially-sweetened refreshers as this may only worsen cravings.

5.    Get some rest. When the unavoidable afternoon slump strikes, what are you supposed to do? Sometimes a salty snack seems like the only way to keep your eyes open and your energy up. But instead of reaching for a tasty treat, try putting your head down and closing your eyes for just 15 minutes. Even if you don’t sleep, this can be a great way to relax and recharge. 

6.    Revisit your meals. Just because cravings are largely mental, doesn’t mean that you aren’t actually hungry, too. Make sure to keep your tummy satisfied by making the most of breakfast, lunch and dinner. That means filling-up on health-filled, nutritious items. For instance, foods filled with protein and fiber will help to keep you fuller for longer, as well as energized. Take that, afternoon snacks!

7.    Ask the experts. Try as you might, it isn’t always possible to prevent food cravings. But that doesn’t mean you can’t diffuse them as they pop up with helpful tips like these. However, if your cravings just won’t quit, GMC’s Nutrition & Weight Management experts can provide the resources you need to make better food choices. Start feeling your best today by setting up a nutrition consultation.

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