We have all been there: You are on a caloric deficit diet because you want to lose fat and start your day with a healthy, protein-rich breakfast. Then, in the afternoon, you ate a bowl of veggies alongside boiled chicken breast and green salad. But then those little cravings kicked in, and you think since you ate clean all day, a bar or two of KitKat won't do any harm. It is evening now, and you have fried momos and noodles. By night, you are completely out of order and finish your day in front of the TV, sitting on your couch and eating a big bag of potato chips. And when you go to bed, guilt sets in, and you decide that you will do better tomorrow and control your cravings, but it is the same story all over again.
You are not alone in this internal battle of resisting and giving in to the cravings. It happens with most people on a diet, and everyone has their struggle to fight it through.
This article brings you five easy tips and tricks to tackle your food cravings and avoid eating food that does not conform to your fitness goals. But before that, let us have a quick look at what causes food craving in the first place?
Why Do We Crave Unhealthy Food?
While your stomach may appear to be the source of your food cravings, your brain is the primary culprit here. Fatigued, stressed, anxious – how you are feeling can also influence when cravings arise. Certain foods and lifestyle choices can affect your neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that transmit impulses throughout the body. Though eating can provide some people with comfort, the food itself can affect your mood: Carbohydrates, for example, can help you relax by raising serotonin levels. Leptin and ghrelin, a pair of highly effective hormones, are responsible for informing the brain when hungry and whether to store excess calories as body fat or utilize them for energy. When your blood sugar levels drop, your ghrelin levels rise, making you hungry and desiring something to eat. But how do you define unhealthy foods? While healthy fats are okay for some, it’s intake has to be monitored for another. Let’s help you get started with some of the myths that exist around food habits that you can easily strike off or on. Read our article, 5 Biggest Nutrition Myths Busted. This will help you get the basics on food right and also help you sort a food plan according to your liking.
How to Tackle Cravings?
Every food has a place in a well-balanced diet if consumed in moderation. However, if you feel that it is time to control your food cravings because they interfere with your fat loss or other health-related goals, implement these five recommendations in your everyday life.
Keep Unhealthy Food Items Out of Your Reach
If you crave certain food items like candies, bars, cookies, etc., that is basically just empty calories having no nutritional value; then you should try to keep it out of your reach or avoid buying it in the first place. It is much easier to give in to your cravings when these things are within your reach and easily accessible. Instead, try keeping these food items at a place in your house where you need to make an effort to reach out for them. This works because cravings are generally impulsive, and if you don't find these food items within your reach and sight, your brain can talk you out of it. The idea here is to wait out your impulsive cravings, and you will find yourself consuming way fewer empty calories through the day.
Drink a Glass of Water
Often, your body misinterprets the signals from the brain, and what feels like cravings might be a sign of thirst. Therefore, whenever you feel like craving something unhealthy, drink a big glass of water and wait for a couple of minutes. Even if the craving doesn't completely go away, the fullness of your stomach will make it less intense.
Have a Protein-Rich Diet
Protein is the building block of your body and helps in building lean muscle mass. But did you know that protein can also help you burn fat and keep your cravings at a minimum? Yes, protein helps your body to feel more satisfied for a more extended period. According to research, overweight males who increased their dietary protein intake to represent at least 25 per cent of their total calorie intake reported a significant reduction in food cravings.
Protein may be especially helpful at breakfast. It was found those who ate breakfast with a high protein content had fewer cravings for savoury foods. Therefore, make sure to optimize your breakfast by adding complete protein sources and having a decent amount of protein in all your meals.
Take Frequent Meals
This means that you should plan your meals so that you don't get hungry. The hungrier you become, the more likely you will succumb to that intense craving. So please don't wait until it's almost too late to look for solutions. Instead, schedule your meals ahead of time and keep a nutritious snack on hand if you are prone to food cravings. To maintain a consistent blood sugar level, it is advisable to consume multiple small meals every day, such as three main meals and two snacks. This way, you won't experience sudden food cravings in the first place.
If a craving arises, distract yourself with something else until it disappears. For example, workout, take a walk around the street, call a friend, or just play a game on your mobile phone - anything to keep you busy and your mind off food for a few minutes. Then, after 30 minutes, if you're still hungry, enjoy a little healthy snack.
The Bottom Line
These tips can surely help you steer away from those impulsive cravings for good. Also if you feel by resisting some food you are missing out of some particular mineral that is needed in your body and you are in doubt, then just turn to Epicvita’s Maximult which is a multivitamin. It has all the essential vitamins and minerals you need for a complete and healthy immune system. Maximult is available for Men and Women. That said, sometimes, it is okay to give in and enjoy yourself a treat to keep you motivated. The problem arises when you overindulge and start binging. That is where you need to remember your fitness goals and the reason you started this in the first place to keep you going.
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