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November 30

Mind tricks to beat food cravings


You have decided to maintain a proper and healthy lifestyle, you have gotten a meal plan with the help of a nutritionist/dietician/health coach but you still see yourself disobeying the meal plans, you see yourself eating what you are told to avoid; eating more than you should. I know how you feel, and so therefore, I mentioned a list of ways to avoid this. And by the way, this list isn’t exhaustive, feel free to add more.

When hit with a craving:

  • Visualise/create a pause button: isn’t it funny how when we are faced with situations we do not really like, we tend to easily use a “pause-button” in our minds to sit back and access the situation and make a decision. The same should apply with food cravings, when offered a food that’s not so good for you; you are presented in a party with a big glass of wine, try to make use of a pause button in your mind which helps you sit and assess the next decision and when you think of the consequences of your actions, you are more likely to make right choices.
  • Ask yourself, am I stressed out? When under pressure, the body releases a hormone called cortisol which signals your brain to seek out “rewards”. At this point, foods loaded with fat and sugar seem to come in handy. It has a lot to do with psychology, over time, the food gets registered in your brain as a solution to an unpleasant experience and condition.

To combat this, do the following:

  • Stimulate happiness, do something other than eating that will relax you, talk with someone, read a book totally unrelated to the stressor, gist with that lover.
  • If you find it hard to the above, or it’s not easily available, WAIT THE CRAVINGS OUT! This is just like battling any temptation; they always have an expiry date, when they no longer feel so strong, at this stage, you are close to conquering the urge.
  • Do not skip meals: skipping meals is a sure way to increase your food cravings. When you have a meal time table which you should have if you are serious about losing weight (you can get one here) you should try as much as possible not to miss any meal, when it’s time for lunch and you are at work, try to create just 15 minutes out of your time to eat what you planned for that day. The risk is, if you don’t and you continue with other activities, the body will eventually signal hunger and there are the chances you will eat what you aren’t supposed to eat.
  • When stocking your fridge, lunch packs, pack your snacks into bags of small sizes and keep the ones you aren’t eating away while bringing out one bag at a time. This way, you tend to get the feeling that you are eating ALL of something and then you get satisfied. Case scenario, 5 portions of rice is placed before you when in fact, you should be eating just 2 portions, there’s the likelihood, you will finish the whole 5 portions, but if just 2 portions is placed before you, you tend to get satisfied with it. The reality of this can be amazing!
  • You are in a party, a beer parlour, any gathering of any sort and they are eating a kind of food or drinking what you shouldn’t drink. It can help to move away politely.
  • Eating in smaller plates and what you do while eating: part of feeling satisfied as has been mentioned earlier is satisfying what you can see. Using smaller sizes of plates does help reduce the chances of eating more than you should. Also, if you observe yourself, you are more likely to eat more when sitting before a television. I know a lot of us are used to doing this, for some reason, eating while watching the TV increases our chances of eating more than necessarily. Albeit, serving foods in small sizes will help combat this.
  • In addition to this, it helps to ask yourself if you are a creature of habits. The way the brain works, if you are used to eating while watching a movie for example; even though you may have eaten to your satisfaction minutes earlier, it can help to stay away from the fridge or anywhere foods are kept while performing these activities.
try not to eat while watching the television
try not to eat while watching the television
  • GO NUTS!!! Eating nuts actually does help quench your cravings and dampen your appetite. But if you are react to nuts in any way, be careful the type and quantity of nuts you consume.
  • Eat a lot of proteins: proteins generally make you feel fuller, especially the lean ones like skinless chicken, low-fat yoghurt etc.
  • Brush your teeth: of course, this can only work when at home. Brushing your teeth, basically satisfies your brain that something has entered your mouth, if the toothpaste is flavoured, all the better!
  • Lastly, if you feel the cravings to eat something, it may be because truly, you are hungry and you need to eat something. So don’t starve yourself.


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