Even a healthy diet doesn’t eliminate all cravings. The desire for a chocolate bar, a high-calorie cappuccino and other high-sugar, high-fat items doesn’t disappear overnight. But cravings can be managed, and with more than just ‘sheer willpower’, important as that is.
Do Not Skip Meals
Some people diet by simply foregoing meals, such as breakfast or lunch. But that ‘all or nothing’ approach guarantees cravings. The overall calorie intake needs to be lowered for a successful diet. But achieving it by skipping meals also leads to several other potential problems, including wild blood sugar swings and nutritional deficits. Those signal the body to crave what it lacks, which makes dieting that much harder.
Help yourself resist those cravings that do occur by keeping only healthy diet items around. A chocolate bar that is at the store a few miles away is a lot easier to resist than the one in the pantry. A jar of peanut butter kept in the cupboard is not the ideal way to test your willpower.
Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Instead, keep a supply of fruits, carrots and other items on hand at all times. Trail bars and other snack-style foods are fine, provided they don’t have high quantities of sugar or saturated fat. Some are designed with just that for hikers who need a quick energy burst on the mountain. Make sure they’re low calorie, low sugar and low fat.
Drink Lots of Water
Don’t skip on water. Take care not to over-hydrate, since that can be injurious to health, especially on very hot days. But dehydration produces signals that are similar to hunger. Keeping your body well watered leads to minimal cravings for food, especially sweets. Beware bloating, but a slightly full feeling from water reduces food cravings.
Be sure to eat a balanced meal before you shop for groceries. It will be difficult enough to resist that attractive package of goodies as you pass by it walking down the aisle. Give yourself every assistance by not being hungry when you see it. If necessary, take along an apple or some dried fruit to help you resist temptation.
Sometimes ‘cold turkey’ on all ‘goodies’ is the best way to go. But, for many, total forbearance leads to hugely increased cravings. You’re almost daring yourself to give in. Keep those cravings under control by indulging yourself with small portions of those things you love. An ounce of dark chocolate isn’t going to ruin your diet. In fact, it can be a part of a healthy one, since it contains antioxidants that are actually beneficial.
Moderation Is The Key
But do whatever is necessary to keep the quantity under control. Moderation does no harm and often produces the best result. Telling yourself ‘just one more’ over and over again undermines your efforts toward your goal.
Last, but far from least, keep your eyes on the prize. Remind yourself daily why you are making the effort to diet. You may want to lose weight, achieve fitness, create a better image, feel better about yourself, gain overall good health or all of the above. Imagine yourself achieving them. Realize that giving in puts you farther away from your goal and your cravings will tend to decrease.