How often does Monday come around, you’re determined to start eating healthy…again, but that moment of the day when cravings happen arrives? Will you give in, or will you stop cravings today? Which one will it be?
I say today is the day where you have a fool-proof plan to reduce, resist, and flat out stop cravings! Yes, plural. I’m talking about the one at 3:00 p.m. and the one at 9:00 p.m. I’m not even mentioning the morning cravings!
If you’ve seen Lord of the Rings, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Like a little hobbit with hairy feet (sans the hairy feet for me 😊), I used to have “first breakfast,” “second breakfast” and “elevenses.” That was just to start the day. I wasn’t hungry, I was just conditioned to eat frequently, which often caused cravings.
But this past year, I started practicing Intermittent Fasting, improving my health, and losing weight. I found that I could effectively reduce or eliminate my cravings by following these tips.
Before we move on to the tips to reduce and resist cravings for weight loss, let’s identify how they strike you.
IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS TO STOP CRAVINGS
People, cravings are REAL. And guess what, women have cravings more often than men do. Does this surprise you?
But this isn’t only a biological response, there’s also a cultural component. In the United States, the gap between women and men when it comes to cravings is more significant. Women are also more likely than men to feel guilty after giving in to cravings.
This darn love/hate relationship with food!
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Learning to identify the moment when you most crave sweet or salty food is essential to effectively reduce, resist and stop cravings. Knowing the foods you crave most often is also key to success. Answer these questions:
- Are you a hobbit (like me), or do cravings strike you only one or two times a day?
- How often do you crave salty foods?
- How often do you want to indulge in sweet foods?
- Are you tempted by carbs?
- Do you try to resist cravings but feel that it’s too difficult, so you often give in?
- Do you feel guilty after you indulge in your craving?
- Ask yourself if you really want to indulge, or is it that you’re hungry or thirsty?
- Are you ready to reduce, resist and stop cravings for good?
Be honest and write down your answers so you can go back and adjust your responses as your habits change. You should be able to see a difference in behavior and weight after you start implementing these tips to reduce, resist and stop cravings.
10 TIPS TO REDUCE, RESIST AND STOP CRAVINGS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
When you go through this list, make an inventory of what you’ve tried, what has worked for you in the past, and which ones you are going to implement right away. Preventing or stopping cravings makes a huge difference when it comes to weight loss success and sustainability.
1. ALWAYS EAT HEALTHY AND YOU WILL CRAVE HEALTHY FOODS
Be real! I wouldn’t be writing this, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this if unhealthy cravings didn’t happen too often.
The truth is that if we always eat healthy, unprocessed foods, we’ll crave healthy foods. The desire also wouldn’t occur as often.
Don’t forget about the addictive nature of sugar and processed foods. This is part of where your cravings are coming from.
2. DRINK WATER
Water is refreshing and essential to health. It also fills you up and aids in weight loss. Why? Because it helps release the toxins that prevent us from losing weight.
Drink at least half your weight of plain or sparkling water every day. Caution: If you drink sparkling water, make sure it’s not full of sodium. Limit the “natural flavors” label too.
Spruce up your water with fruits, veggies, and herbs. Water with lemon and ginger, or cucumber and mint tastes delicious!
3. HAVE A LOW-CALORIE DRINK
I separated this one from water because I believe that it’s important to hydrate with pure and clean water first. All other drinks come second to me, regardless of how healthy they are.
The following are great options to consider. They all have many health benefits, they’re low-calorie or no-calorie and provide you with flavor when water will just not do.
- Tea – I drink green tea every morning while fasting. I sometimes drink it at night when cravings strike. It eliminates my cravings, or it fills me up. If it’s the latter, then I just need a taste or two to satisfy my craving, rather than binging. You can drink any type of tea you like, just don’t fill it up with sugar.
- Bone Broth – Aside from being very nutritious and aiding gut health, bone broth is very filling. This is a great one for when you crave salty foods.
- Kombucha – This fermented tea has easily replaced any cravings I ever had for soda. I buy a ginger lemon flavored one that has 30 calories per serving. Making kombucha is on my bucket list.
4. EAT FRUIT
Craving something sweet? If you’ve tried other tips and they don’t work at the moment, eat fruit. That’ll help stop your craving for sugar.
Some diets eliminate certain fruits, like bananas, or mangoes. Then you find yourself craving sweets and end up eating cake or candy.
I would say that a banana is worth eating if your alternative is cake. Yes, the baker just said that.
I eat blueberries and almond butter with cinnamon when I want something sweet. Delicious, you should try it!
5. EAT VEGGIES
Due to the high fiber load, veggies are very filling. You’re less likely to have cravings when you feel very full.
Pinterest is full of recipes for chips made of veggies, like zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes, kale, and much more. Make some to have on hand for those salty or late evening cravings.
6. SHARE WITH AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER OR GROUP
When you have an accountability partner or group, it makes accomplishing your weight loss goals so much easier! You can read more about it in my Weight Loss Accountability: Why You Need It And How To Get It post.
Check in with your accountability partners to immediately stop your cravings. Let’s say you post online about your craving in an accountability group. You immediately have several people jumping in with encouragement, support, and tips to reduce temptations and stop cravings. A personal accountability partner can do the same.
7. GO FOR A WALK
I’m not talking about walking to the store in the corner to get some chocolate, lol!
Going for a walk, or any other form of light (or heavy) exercise gets your mind off the cravings. Sometimes it encourages you to resist the temptation because you feel accomplished.
You may not want to destroy your workout effort by eating poorly. Has it ever been easier for you to resist temptations when you’re working out consistently or simply more active? Give it a try.
8. FIND A DISTRACTION
Do you ever notice that on very busy days you don’t even get cravings? It’s a mental thing. You are so distracted that eating food is the last thing on your mind.
So, ask yourself if your craving is truly hunger or thirst. Identify what emotions you’re feeling at the moment. Bored, stress, sad, emotional, joyful, excited?
Sometimes just focus on your emotion, rather than trying to suppress it with food. Other times find another distraction to fight your cravings, like a movie, TV, music, drawing, reading, or any activity you can get lost in.
9. NEGOTIATE WITH YOURSELF
Cravings, even hunger, eventually pass. Tell yourself you’ll eat it later, or tomorrow, in return for a personal reward that is not food related. If you still want it later or the next day, see if you can negotiate with yourself again.
Are you a checklist person? Mark a calendar to see how many consecutive days you can go without giving in. After a while of consecutive checks, you may not even crave it anymore.
You have so much power and potential! Own it. Mindfulness and meditation provide relaxation, emotional healing, and the opportunity for you to focus and realize that potential.
This is a longer-term solution to emotional eating. But it’s definitely worth it because it changes your choices at a deeper level. It’s far-reaching, well beyond your cravings at the moment.
IT’S OKAY TO GIVE IN TO CRAVINGS SOMETIMES
Drop the guilt.
I know, much easier said than done, agreed. But drop it. The guiltier you feel, the more often you’ll find yourself with an irresistible craving.
This post is about tips to reduce, resist and stop cravings for weight loss. If you want your weight loss to be sustainable, don’t deprive yourself so badly that you’ll binge when you’re off the “diet.” Then you’ll gain all the weight back, and more.
If you indulge in your craving without feeling guilty, then you might just accomplish the feeling of satisfaction you need to move on.
Age doesn’t matter, we’re like teenagers that are more interested in doing something when it’s forbidden. So, change your mindset around it and don’t put so many limitations on what you eat.
Focus on what you can eat instead.
Make a list of healthy foods that you REALLY enjoy. If you don’t think you have any (I doubt it), then make a list of healthy foods you want to try.
In high school, I didn’t like green tea because it didn’t have sugar in it. For graduation, I went to Japan for three weeks to visit my best friend. I drank green tea because I thought it was impolite to refuse anything I was offered. After three weeks, I came back home loving green tea. I drink it every day now.
BE PREPARED AND COMMIT TO TRY EACH TIP TO STOP CRAVINGS
When cravings inevitably strike, the most effective way to not give in is to prepare. But you don’t really need preparation for some of these tips to reduce, resist and stop cravings.
You can achieve your weight loss goals by committing to trying each one when temptation strikes. If one doesn’t work, try another one, until you achieve your goal.
- Eat healthy in general to reduce overall cravings.
- Join an accountability group or find an individual accountability partner. Share how you feel with them.
- Stay hydrated, drink a lot of water throughout the day.
- Drink tea, bone broth or kombucha around the time that you know your cravings will begin.
- Eat fruits for sweet cravings
- Eat veggies for salty cravings.
- Be active or schedule a mini workout near the time when you most want to indulge.
- Know and participate in activities that distract you.
- Negotiate with yourself.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation.
Before I go… Don’t give up, you can do this! You have more power than you realize.
Also, never forget to drop the guilt. If you indulge in your craving, enjoy it! Make sure you’ve satisfied it, and move on.
Comment below to let me know which of these tips you’ve tried, and which one works best for you.
Want a list of healthy substitutes for sugar and flour? Hint: these can give you better options when you’re craving “not-so-healthy” foods.
Sign up for the FIT and HEALTHY Conversions Cheat Sheets below and you’ll get a handy tool to keep you on track.