Feel-good brain chemicals can be your downfall when it comes to cravings.
It’s those feel-good chemicals that lead men and women down the destructive path of giving in to those cravings.
In one study, 91% of women said they have experienced strong food cravings. Our surveys estimate 100% of young women and 70% of young men had food cravings within the last year.
Humans have also been shown to produce opioids – the same chemically-active ingredient in narcotics – through the digestion of excess sugars and fats.
Learn More: Get Help with Your Food Cravings with TrimUltra
Pleasure goes right along with all those cravings and makes them that much harder to resist. So what can you do to stop your food cravings from killing your efforts to lose weight, get in shape and improve your overall health?
How to Stop Food Cravings – 12 Ways to Stop Food Cravings
Plan on Giving In
Completely depriving yourself of those sugary or salty foods you know aren’t good for you is almost a sure-fire way to set yourself up for disaster. When most people cut something out, they end up binging later.
Some experts recommend allowing 20 percent of your calorie intake to go toward giving in to those food cravings. This way you’ll satisfy your cravings without feeling deprived, guilty and without ruining your progress toward improving your health.
Be More Aware
Whether you do something like collecting your candy wrappers instead of throwing them away, or something else, be aware of how much you’ve eaten when you do give in. This can help limit the number of times you over-indulge and really do damage to your progress.
Choose to Really Indulge
In many instances when you are trying to satisfy your sweet tooth, you just can’t get the satisfaction from bland, low-priced foods. Try a more gourmet version for more intense, richer and more satisfying flavor. Eating more intense, gourmet foods will help you be more satisfied for less.
Write Down and Keep Your Goals Present
When those cravings hit, read through your health and weight loss goals and then ask yourself if giving in to your cravings is worth taking a step back on reaching those more important goals you’ve set for yourself.
Pay More Attention to the Foods You’re Already Eating
Distractions destroy your chances of really enjoying your food. Whether it’s watching he TV or surfing the Internet, those type of distractions force you to feel less satisfied and can be the cause of cravings later on.
Turn off the TV while you eat and get off the computer, you’ll be more satisfied with the foods you already eat.
Stop Using Artificial Sweeteners
Recent studies have shown those no-calorie sweeteners, which a lot of people think are healthy, can actually lead to more cravings and cause people to choose higher-calorie foods.
Artificial sweeteners have been shown to reduce the body’s ability to regulate calorie intake and in one study even led to weight gain. Neuroscientists at Yale University’s school of Medicine found artificial sweeteners leave the brain craving high-calorie foods because they don’t satisfy sugar cravings.
Certain artificial sweeteners have even been linked to increased blood sugar levels and reduced insulin sensitivity.
Stimulate Your Happiness
When you’re stressed those cravings may come as a result of your brain seeking the dopamine released by sugary, fatty foods. Instead of giving in, listen to music, dance or do something else to stimulate your happiness.
Cravings have shown they don’t just intensify if left unsatisfied. If you can withstand the initial craving and peak, you can withstand the craving altogether. Distract yourself with something else and you should be able to wait your cravings out without giving in.
Get Enough Sleep
Even just a few nights of missing adequate sleep can cause appetite hormones to rise while satiety hormones drop. Lack of sleep can leave many people mire susceptible to their food cravings. Some studies show a lack of sleep can increase your cravings for starchy foods, cookies, potato chips and bread by 45 percent.
Break the Habits
Eating buttery, salty popcorn during every movie you watch may be normal behavior in every movie theater across the country and letting go of that can cause a fear response in brain. That response immediately goes away when you taste the popcorn. But instead of giving in because it’s a habit, try doing something different even eating a salty, but less calorie heavy snack before the movie. The same routine of replacing ice cream with something else sweet but less calorie-ridden if your habit is eating ice cream every time you have a rough day.
Track Your Cravings
Keeping track of when cravings hit, the emotions you’re feeling when they hit, the foods you crave and what and how much you ate can help you recognize patterns. As you recognize the patterns, you can work to correct the problems and move toward overcoming the cravings.
Avoid Getting Too Hungry
As much as this has been repeated by nutritionists, trainers and doctors, skipping meals and refraining from eating still happens much too often. The problem with skipping a meal is you end up so hungry, you often overeat to compensate. And that overcompensation usually comes in the form of quick fix, high calorie foods.