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Your food cravings are the biggest factor that can affect your ability to lose weight, and taking steps to control your cravings can go a long way in helping you stay healthy. If you find that you have been struggling with your food cravings or that you are driven to snack on junk food throughout the day, try these 11 craving crushers that can stop cravings as soon as you start getting them.
If you try 12 easy ways to stop your food cravings, hopefully won't have to reach for a snack every time you feel hungry, and even if you are only able to stop yourself from snacking a few times, the calories that you'll avoid can add up quickly
Drinking carbonated or plain water is one of best ways to avoid food cravings. Research has shown that a lot of hunger is related to dehydration, and when you stay hydrated throughout the day you are a lot less likely to rely on snacking. Even if water doesn't totally satisfy your urge to eat, you should probably drink more of it as most people are not getting the recommended amount of 8 glasses per day, and you'll probably eat fewer calories overall.
Grabbing a stick of gum can help curb your cravings, but try natural gum instead of gum sweetened with aspartame or sucralose. Those sweeteners can actually cause your body to release insulin and can cause other metabolic problems, and they are toxic. Try gum sweetened with stevia and there are several brands available now. Stevia is a safe plant based sweetener that doesn't cause any insulin resistance or other problems, and it can help you avoid snacking whenever you feel the urge.
When you see junk food you are more likely to snack on it, even if you aren't that hungry. Get it out of sight or lock it up far away in your cupboards so that you actually have to make an effort to get it. Better yet, get rid of it entirely if you can. You are much better off simply not having it in your home if you can live without it, and replacing it with healthy alternatives always a good idea.
Sometimes you are going to want to snack because it's not always a bad idea to snack. Snacking can help stabilize your blood sugar and help you avoid overeating when you do have a full meal. So keep plenty of healthy snacks around like whole fruit, nuts, avocados, hummus, yogurt and vegetables and snack on those whenever you feel the urge to eat. First try drinking water and see if it helps, but having a healthy snack won't hurt you and it is usually a good thing as it will prevent you from eating too many calories later on.
A lot of people don't eat enough protein, and it is recommended that most people should eat about 0.6 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. Most people eat a lot less protein than that, and as a result it can be very easy to become too reliant on carbohydrate rich foods that provide you with a burst of energy then a quick drop off that leaves you lethargic. Eating natural meats, seafood, nuts, Greek yogurt, and other high protein foods will keep you feeling full throughout the day and help you avoid relying on unhealthy snacks to stay full.
Just like protein, healthy fat breaks down slowly and can keep you feeling full during the hours that you can't eat. Good sources of healthy fat include nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios and walnuts, avocados, olives and olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish, flaxseed, and small amounts of organic butter from grass fed cows. Avoid consuming vegetable oils, margarine, and any packaged or processed fats which can cause inflammation and other harmful effects on the body; stick to natural sources of fat and you'll feel fuller and won't feel the urge to snack as much.
Green tea and several other types of tea like ginger tea can be effective at helping you control your cravings. Studies have found that people who drink green tea eat fewer calories per week than those who don't drink it, and this can be a result of the caffeine in green tea. Ginger tea can help you fight cravings and it can detox the body. Try out different types of tea like peppermint tea if green tea doesn't work and see if they help you with your cravings.
Coffee is well known to be an appetite suppressant because of its high caffeine content. You don't want to become overly reliant on coffee to control your cravings, as too much caffeine can cause side effects like heart palpitations and anxiety, but drinking two to three cups per day can actually be good for you. Coffee intake is linked to a lower risk of certain cancers like colon cancer, and drinking it regularly can definitely help you avoid the urge to snack with caffeine's appetite suppressant effect. If you find that you are sensitive to the caffeine, try green tea instead.
Going for a walk or doing light exercise can take your mind off of snacking, and it will force your body to rely on fat reserves for energy instead of food. Sometimes cravings are the result of being bored, and this is why going for a walk can be helpful. This way you'll burn calories instead of adding them, and in general you should try any physical activity that can keep you occupied before your next meal. That way when it does come time to eat you'll feel like you truly earned it.
Your body will crave energy and carbohydrates when you aren't getting enough sleep. Getting more sleep is one of the best ways to control your appetite and cravings, and recent research is really pointing to the significance of this. Be sure that you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, but if you need more sleep than 7 hours don't neglect your sleep needs. Nap whenever you need to recharge instead of grabbing a snack; you'll feel much healthier and energized and you won't gain weight from excess calories.
Aside from eating more fat and protein, you should increase your intake of foods that have a high fiber and water content. Basically, most fruits and vegetables fall into this category. Try to avoid the vegetables and fruits that are starchy such as bananas, potatoes, plantains and corn. Other vegetables and fruits are fair game, and their high fiber and water content will keep you feeling full and help you avoid the urge to snack on a high carb or high sugar snack. You can use natural dressings made with olive oil or coconut oil with your vegetables, and to make fruit more filling try making smoothies or adding it into organic Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Taking a few seconds to think about whether you are really hungry or not can help you ward off your cravings. It can be easy to pick up a snack or junk food when you're watching TV or not thinking about the last time you ate. If you ate recently, you are probably not really hungry and should try to wait it out and try some of the other methods of stopping your cravings. If it's been about about three hours since your last large meal, chances are that you really are hungry and should eat something. You don't need to time your meals out, but reflecting for a few seconds about whether or not you are really hungry can help you differentiate the need to eat versus the desire to eat.