We’ve all had them. That rumbling we get in our stomach that triggers euphoric thoughts of eating something delicious. This is definitely not uncommon especially if you are currently dieting and in a calorie restricted state. Sometimes these cravings can be so overwhelming that they affect our clarity and our mood. If we give into these craving we will most definitely be sabotaging our weight loss efforts. So what can we do to better control these cravings? Here are my 7 tips on how to take back control and demolish those hunger cravings.
Identify The Craving & Don’t Immediately React
This is probably one of the most important things we can do to help thwart a hunger craving. We need to get into the habit of identifying what’s going on and rationally think it through. When you start to get a hunger craving stop and try to identify it. You need to tell yourself that this is just a temporary feeling and it will be gone soon. Most cravings won’t last more than a few minutes even though it can feel like hours once you are having one. So instead of reacting and saying “f” it, slow down your thought process and just take a breath. Realize that this uncomfortable feeling will be gone soon and you can carry on with the rest of your day without sabotaging your diet.
Eat More Nutrient Dense Foods
Eating more nutrient dense foods is another key to help combat hunger cravings. Foods that are more nutrient dense will help to keep you fuller, longer. So what do I mean by nutrient dense foods? I’m talking about foods that are either high in fiber, or higher in fats.
Foods that are high in fiber provide several benefits. First off fiber will expand when it gets to your stomach. It will help to give you that full feeling longer. Fiber also helps to slow down your digestive process which helps to regulate your blood glucose levels. This helps to prevent insulin spikes which puts your body into fat storing mode. Finally, fiber helps to raise good cholesterol levels and lower bad cholesterol levels. If you’re not getting in enough fiber be sure to add more into your diet. The recommended daily dose of fiber for men is 30-38 grams a day and for most women it’s 25 grams a day.
Fat is the most dense macronutrient which means a little goes a long way in helping to keep you satiated. It contains 9 calories per gram whereas protein and carbs are only 4 calories per gram. I’ll bet you’re wondeinrg: “But won’t eating fat make me fat?” This is a common misconception. Eating fat won’t make you fat. Eating too many calories will make you fat. Fats play a major role in hormone production and they can also provide energy when carbs are lower. Fats also help to slow down the digestion process like fiber so it also helps to regulate your blood glucose levels. Don’t be afraid to eat fat. As long as it fits into your daily macros you’ll be fine.
Eat Smaller Meals More Often
Eating smaller meals more often provides a ton of benefits but it will also help to control your hunger cravings. By planning out your meals in advance you are setting yourself up for success. Look around your office. What usually happens around 2-3 o’clock? I bet you’ll see most people going to the vending machine to load up on empty calories. But not you! You’ve brought enough meals and snacks to help get you through the work so. If you’re eating nutrient rich foods every 2-3 hours you will reduce the chances of hunger cravings because you’re providing your body with a constant flow of nutrients.
Eat Foods High In Fiber
We touched on fiber a little bit earlier in this article but it’s so important that it warrants its own bullet point. Fiber is great to help keep you full longer as well as provide many other health benefits.
There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber breaks down in water whereas insoluble does not. So the soluble fibers are the ones that help regulate blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol.
Insoluble fibers are the ones that help to keep you “regular.” Since they can’t be broken down they help push things along.
For more information about the different types of fibers and the benefits they provide click here.
Drink Water Immediately
This is a neat little trick that I recently learned. If you find yourself having a craving, first be sure to identify the craving and don’t immediately react. Next try to chug down 8-16 ounces of water. This will not immediately take away the craving but after a few minutes you’ll notice the craving to start to fade away and then your stomach starts to feel full. If the amount that you drank didn’t seem to fill you, have another glass. I know this seems obvious but it definitely works and helps ease the craving.
Take A Fiber Supplement
Do you see a pattern emerging? If you find yourself having trouble getting in fiber from food sources, try taking a fiber supplement. There are a ton of them on the market and they can come in powder or capsule form. This is an easy way to help you get in your daily fiber requirements as well as help you thwart your hunger craving. You can actually combine this with the drinking water tip. If you notice yourself having a craving, mix in a fiber supplement with the water and you’re guaranteed to help make yourself feel a lot more full. Hunger craving smashed!
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners Like Aspartame
I’m beginning to think that artificial sweeteners are the devil. Not all of them, but most definitely aspartame. Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener found in most diet soda. It’s 100x sweeter than cane sugar without the calories. This alone should be a red flag. When something seems too good to be true it often is. While aspartame doesn’t contain any calories the damage it has on the body is massive. Going into the dangers of aspartame are out of the scope of this article but know that one of it’s many side effects is that it can trigger food and hunger cravings, especially more sweets. Avoiding aspartame all together is a great way to help prevent any unnecessary hunger cravings.
Hunger cravings are totally normal and part of being human. The trick is knowing how to control them. They can be quite uncomfortable and overwhelming at times but just realize that those feelings are only temporary and will go away. Most cravings only last a few minutes and if you use the tips listed out above you will have a much higher success rate of not giving into those cravings and sabotaging your diet. I really hope you found these tips useful and try to apply them to your daily life. Have a great day!