Over 90% of adults experience food cravings, according to the NCBI. The intense desire to eat junk foods is the worst enemy for anyone working hard to lose weight or lead a healthy lifestyle. Food cravings are always stronger than normal hunger, and they compromise good nutrition and your ability to maintain a healthy weight. And no matter how hard you try to resist, you’ll find yourself giving in. In most cases, people crave specific meals due to stress, boredom, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Luckily, there are ways you can control unhealthy food cravings. If you’ve been trying to overcome the impulses of consuming fatty and sugary snacks without success, here is a simple recipe for living a healthy lifestyle.
Photo by Maria Orlova
Manage Daily Stress
Negative emotions like anxiety and stress trigger cravings for sugar-filled foods. This is because when you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. This hormone signals the brain to demand rewards in the form of high carb diets. To reduce the uncontrollable desire to eat foods that might interfere with your health, manage your stress levels. You can do this by practising yoga, meditation, or taking a walk when you are anxious or distressed. For me, exercising followed by a nice warm bath always brings me back to a place to balance and helps to recharge and allows me to reflect and move forward week to week.
Avoid Hunger Pangs
Hunger increases the urge to eat sugary foods as a way to boost blood sugar and energy levels. So, avoid getting too hungry by planning your meals and snacks. That way, you are aware of what you’ll be eating during the day, hence eliminate the chances of grabbing unhealthy snacks. Make it a habit to take meals the same hour every day and plan for healthy snacking to prevent hunger in-between mealtime. Also, stock up on nutritious snacks in the house. Doing so prevents you from reaching out for chocolate or ice cream whenever you feel hungry.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge from time to time, but, having some tasty but healthy replacement snacks is vital.
Embrace The Power of Scents
As odd as it may sound, smelling delicious foods could help stop cravings. According to findings published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the longer you smell unhealthy foods, the less likely you’ll have an appetite for them. In addition to inhaling aromas from sweet snacks, try lighting candles that produce food scents. The warm fragrances of food candles reduce cravings because your liking for some foods reduces when you’re exposed to certain aromas. For example, walking into a room filled with vanilla’s pleasant smell will stop the urge to eat sweet snacks. It’s along the same lines as when you’re done eating pizza, and thus you’re done smelling it until you want it again.
Distracting yourself for about 20 minutes is another excellent way to break cravings. For example, you could call a friend or read a book to overcome the uncontrollable need to eat junk foods. Changing your surroundings, like going outdoors for a walk or gardening, can also help you stop unhealthy snacking. It is important to note that the ability to separate yourself from eating impulses gives you room to think carefully about sticking to a healthy diet. You’ll be able to notice that your urge to eat isn’t real hunger but cravings.
Controlling unhealthy food cravings might sound complicated, but it isn’t. There are simple ways to stop your desire for junk foods. Start by planning meals and snacks, distract yourself from cravings, fill your house with sweet scents, and don’t go hungry for long periods of time.