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Crush Your Cravings: 7 Proven Strategies to Overcome Food Temptation

Learn how to regain control of your health and lose weight without restrictive dieting and deprivation.


Most of us have experienced a food craving. That intense urge to eat a certain food. Sadly it is not usually carrots or kale that we crave! It is more likely to be foods that are sugary, salty, fatty or a combination of these. Reason being, when we eat these "hyperpalatable" foods, the neurons in the reward region of our brain start to fire, creating highly positive feelings...it is this pleasurable experience that makes us want to keep seeking these food regularly.


So how do we manage this?


Firstly it is important to understand that sometimes the best way of managing cravings is to honour them. Have the food you are craving, enjoy and move on.


However, if you feel your cravings are in control of you rather than you in control of them, having some management strategies can be helpful.


We often talk about "giving in" when it comes to food cravings. Most women will say they don't have enough self control or willpower. However, food cravings actually involve a complex interaction of a number of different factors including:


Accessibility of the 'hyperpalatable' foods

  1. Food marketing

  2. Stress

  3. Sleep

  4. Hormonal changes

  5. Medications

So you can see, when an issue is complex and we try to solve it

and as you will see, willpower is not the answer.


Before listing your tips below, add one last sentence that sums up your paragraph or offers a smooth transition to your listicle.


Tips for managing food cravings:


Tip #1 - Fuel up and crush cravings with fibre and protein


Meals jam packed with fibre and protein will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer. Aim to include protein at every meal and boost fibre by ensuring every meal includes some plants!


Tip #2 - Snack smart


Avoid choosing ultraprocessed snacks that are high in salts, fats and sugars as these types of foods can trigger the brain reward pathway and cause cravings to eat more. Choose filling less-processed snacks such as fresh fruit with nut butter, high protein yoghurt with a sprinkle of granola and wholegrain crackers with cheese.


Tip #3 - Timing is everything: use meal timing to manage cravings


Aim to maintain a regular rhythm with your eating patterns across the day. Skipping meals or underfuelling can lead to increased cravings (e.g. sugary foods/drinks for a boost of energy) and overeating in the afternoon or evening.


Tip #4 - Create a crave-free environment


Avoid the visual cues by placing treat foods out of eyeline in the home or in the office. Think containers that you can't see through at the top of the cupboard or at the back of the fridge. If you make the healthier options easier to access you will choose them more often.


Tip #5 - Stop the cycle: break habits to overcome cravings


Food cravings are sometimes more habitual than physical. For example eating a certain food (think chips or chocolate) while watching late night TV. Aim to 'unlink' the habit by replacing it with something else e.g. a hot drink or keep your hands busy and do some knitting! :)


Tip #6 - Mind over munchies


Feel a craving brewing? Practise mindfulness. Check in with yourself. A good statement to say to yourself is "I can have it if I want it, but what do I really need right now". This gives you permission to eat (we want to avoid the restrictive/deprivation mindset), but also provides a chance for you to identify what is actually happening. You might be tired / bored / stressed...perhaps some deep breathing, a short walk or a cuppa in the sunshine is what you acutally need.


Tip #7 - Find new thrills: kick cravings with alternative dopamine sources


Get creative and get your boost from walking, sunshine, meditating, dancing, laughing....


Will power is not the answer.


When it comes to losing weight and managing cravings, it is not laziness, lack of discipline or no willpower that's the issue. Dig a little deeper and have a look at whether there is room for improvement in any of the areas discussed in this article.


 

Not sure you can do it on your own?


You don't have to!


I'm Annie, a dietitian and health coach. I help busy women regain control of their health and their weight without restrictive dieting. If you are ready to step away from the yo-yo dieting cycle and make sustainable change using practical, easy to follow strategies, my 1:1 program might be a good fit for you. Book in for a FREE kickstart call (link here) to find out more.




 

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The information provided in this blog is for your personal or other non-commercial, educational purposes. It should not be considered as medical or professional advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking or omitting to take any action based on this blog. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises and assumes no liability regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. The information, opinions, and recommendations presented in this blog are for general information only and any reliance on the information provided in this blog/article/handout is done at your own risk. Any third-party materials or content of any third-party site referenced in this blog do not necessarily reflect the author’s opinion, standards or policies and the author does not assume any liability for them whatsoever.


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