When you are trying to clean up your diet and lose weight, it can feel like there are tempting traps around every corner!
Why is it that as soon as you start to eliminate less than healthy foods from your diet, your desire for those foods goes through the roof?
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There are lots of things at play when it comes to food cravings. Sometimes, a food craving is your body’s way of telling you that it needs an important nutrient. For example, if you find yourself craving chocolate, your body may be looking for magnesium. Similarly, your food cravings may be linked to your gut bacteria. When you fill your body with packaged and processed foods, you are feeding the “bad” bacteria in your gut which can lead to a host of health problems, including cravings for the foods that “feed” and allow this bad bacteria.
Then, of course, there is the brain. Our bodies and our brains have real, chemical and hormonal responses to the foods we eat. When we fill up on sugary or fatty foods, we trigger the reward centers in our brains, releasing dopamine into the body which makes us feel happy and blissed out. Trouble is, before long, we have to eat a greater quantity of these foods to get the same “high.” Not good when you are looking to lose weight!
So, how do you break the cycle? How do you take control of your eating habits?
Well, you work at it! Like everything else in your body, the more you use your willpower, the stronger it will become. That’s right, you don’t have to have white-knuckle your way through life! With these simple tricks, and a little bit of sticking to it, you will go from believing that that coffee shop donut is the only thing worth eating in the mornings to not even giving it a second thought! Whether you are ravenous when you have low-blood sugar or eat when you’re sad, these tips will help you gain some control and perspective.
1. Eat smaller meals, more often
Food cravings are even more difficult to fight when you are already feeling hungry. Get out ahead of that feeling by eating smaller meals, more frequently. When you wait too long to eat, your blood sugar bottoms out which can not only leave you feeling hangry, it can completely annihilate your best intentions! Studies have found that low-blood sugar levels have a negative impact on your decision making ability! So, keep things stable by eating a small, balanced meal every 3 to 5 hours. When reaching for snacks, aim to have a mix of carbohydrates, with lean protein and healthy fat. For creative, tasty and balanced snack and meal ideas, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan!
2. Eat with your other hand
That’s right, if you normally hold your fork, spoon, or food in your right hand, make a switch to your left. On the surface level, using your non-dominant hand will slow you down and force you to focus on your food. This level of focus and mindfulness will allow your brain the time it needs to receive fullness cues from your stomach, preventing you from overeating. What’s more, studies have found that when people practice a particular type of impulse mastery, they get better mastering their other impulses as well.
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3. Weigh yourself regularly
Who doesn’t like to see results on their weight loss journey? Seeing that number on the scale start to fall can be a truly powerful and motivating experience. It can also help keep you on track. This doesn’t have to be a daily practice, just once a week should be enough. This type of check in will allow you to see if your weight starts to creep back up. But don’t allow yourself to get frustrated or discouraged if you aren’t seeing the numbers you’d like. What you are wearing, the time of day, how much water you’ve had to drink and even your menstrual cycle can impact your weight. Simply use it as a guide. To stay motivated, break down your goal weight into smaller goals. Set the goal for 5 pounds. Once you’ve reached that, aim for another 5. You are more likely to stay on target with smaller, manageable, achievable goals.
4. Elevate your mood
Are you someone who reaches for food when you are feeling sad? You’re not alone! More than half the time (75% of the time, to be exact), when people overeat, they are feeling down. You don’t have to solve all your troubles but a simple elevation in your mood could be enough to prevent you from diving neck deep into that tub of ice cream. You bolster your willpower when you bolster your mood. Try throwing on your favorite song and having a dance party. Watch a comedy, call your buds. Have a giggle! There is a reason people watch cat videos, right? Heck, smash a short workout! By the time you complete these steps, you’ll not only feel better, your urge to eat your feelings will have passed!
How do you keep your willpower on track? Share your tips with us!