Are your food cravings in control”or do they control you? If it’s the latter, welcome to the club. The science behind food cravings is hotly debated. Some experts claim that cravings for fat-, sugar- or sodium-laden foods are a result of our social conditioning and should be ignored. But others argue that stopping yourself from indulging may trigger binge eating later on in the day.
No matter what’s triggering your cravings, here are three tips to keep them under control.
1. Choose Your Battles
If you didn’t have the willpower to ignore a yen for pizza last night, don’t beat yourself up. A 2007 study at Tufts University showed that participants who occasionally gave into their cravings still lost weight. According to researchers, allowing yourself to have the foods you crave, but doing so less frequently, may be one of the keys to successful weight control. And when you do indulge, go all out: savour a single, decadent chocolate truffle instead of downing an extra-large Kit Kat bar. Treat yourself to the best quality you can afford so it feels like a worthwhile indulgence.
2. Steady As She Goes
Keeping your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day is the best way to curb cravings. Don’t skip meals, and include a healthy protein like fish, tofu or turkey at each meal to keep you fuller longer. At work, plan ahead: keep snacks like almonds, yogurt or protein bars near your desk so that you don’t get to the point of starvation and succumb to the vending machine. If it’s sugar you’re into, adopt an apple-a-day policy, which will not only help to keep your blood sugar steady, but also provide a daily dose of fibre.
3. Plan a Distraction
Since many cravings can be triggered by emotional ups and downs, one of the best ways to combat them with an activity that keeps you active, distracted and out of the kitchen. Seek out a hobby, take time to see friends or head outside for a walk in the park.
Always consult with your medical practitioner before commencing any new diet program.