I don't know about you, but the very word diet seems to sabotage my best efforts. In theory a healty diet is good, but our best laid plans go awry when we find ourselves craving foods we shouldn’t. Cravings are so powerful that I often give up on my new healthy eating plans altogether.
If you’re trying to lose weight or get healthy, here are some tips to reduce those annoying cravings.
1) Don’t Try to Cut Out Too Much
Trying to cut out all of your favorite foods in one go makes it a lot harder to fight the cravings. Instead, make changes gradually. It takes time, but you can get used to going without certain foods or drinks. I started by cutting down on sodas. I still treat myself once in a while, but I have gone from drinking two or more cans a day to one or two a month.
2) Drink More Water
If you’re feeling hungry then try downing some water. Studies have shown that water can help fill you up and reduce cravings. In fact, we often think we feel hungry – but it's actually dehydration! If you can’t stand the taste of plain water, try drinking flavored water or tea.
3) Don’t Keep Unhealthy Foods in the House
It will be a lot harder to give into cravings for foods you don’t have around! The best way to avoid impulse buying is to create a shopping list and stick to it (it helps too, if you don’t go shopping when you’re hungry!) This also applies to eating out too – have a plan for healthy alternatives to your favorite meals before going to the restaurant.
4) Make Small Changes
Even if you’re not buying unhealthy treats anymore, you still need something to snack on! So try substituting your favorite snacks for healthy alternatives (e.g. by eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.) Also be sure to keep lots of veggie and fruit snacks around (e,g, carrot sticks, celery, grapes, berries, etc.) This means you’ll be able to snack, without derailing your new healthy eating.
5) Give In Every Now and Again
A lot of these tips have started with the word “don’t”. The truth is, always concentrating on what you can’t do will leave you feeling deprived and frustrated. So understand that it’s perfectly OK to give into that sweet tooth every now and again. Give yourself a cheat day every week or two where you can eat whatever you like, guilt free!
Moderation is the key to everything, even dieting. Give yourself permission to eat some birthday cake or a piece of pizza or whatever your favorite food may be, just eat less. Portion control is your best weapon to keep cravings at bay. This all or nothing attitude we take towards dieting is really destructive. When the inevitable happens and we give in to temptation, we then go overboard and eat everything we have been depriving ourselves of.
I have gone overboard more than once this summer. Those cravings got the better of me and I felt like I failed and ate way more than I should have. So, I now have this list posted in my kitchen to help remind me to keep going. Keep making those small changes and keep moving forward. And to give myself permission to splurge every once in a while.