How to control your cravings whilst on a diet

The #1 issue people have with diets is being able to stick to it. People set themselves tough goals and unrealistic meal plans. Instead of thinking of it as a diet, think of it as a health change and a way of life - not a strict ruled eating structure.

So, this is rather hypocritical of me since I went off the rails and piled on the pounds  over christmas - but if you're finding it difficult to stick to your 'new year, new me' diet for longer than a few days, you're in the right place. I've gathered some techniques that I use to curb my cravings and to keep me headed in the right direction.

1. Intermittent fasting - eating in 8 hour windows
Fasting for 16 hours and then only eating within a specific 8-hour window. For example, only eating from 12PM-8 PM, essentially skipping breakfast. By cutting out an entire meal each day, you are consuming fewer calories per week – even if your two meals per day are slightly bigger than before. Overall, you’re still consuming fewer calories per day

During the “fasted state” (the hours in which your body is not consuming or digesting any food) your body doesn’t have a recently consumed meal to use as energy, so it is more likely to pull from the fat stored in your body as it’s the only energy source readily available.

Burning fat = win.

2. Hot lemon water
Every morning, I squeeze a fresh lemon and mix it with a cup of boiled water. The flavour is perfect for a sweet tooth and it also supplies me with a burst of enegry, leaving me feeling revitalised. Lemon water assists with weightloss and helps aid digestion - it's a great metabolic booster. I also find myself drinking lemon water when i'm hunrgy between meals - sometimes being dehyrated can be mistaken for hunger, so lemon added to the equation also adds some flavour.

3. Take photos of your food
After discovering this point online and reading into it, I decided to set up a fitness instagram account (@hannahggettingfitti) for the sole purpose of posting my meals and using it as visual diary. I find posting these online knowing that my followers can see, adds a fraction of pressure to keep to my diet as I will feel judged if I go on a sudden binge and off track into the wrong direction. It honestly does help with the cravings issue - if you're eating something you shouldn't be... you will still need to post it.. #wallofshame

4. Drinking a big glass of water before each meal
Studies suggest drinking 500ml of water 30 minutes before eating a meal, however I tend to have one big glass of water just before.. it seems to prove more effective for me.

As mentioned already, dehydration can sometimes be confused for hunger, so ensuring you're hydrated before commencing your meal should mean that you'll be left feeling full and satisfied after your meal - sometimes too full to finish your meal! This means you'll be less likely to break your diet.

5. Black coffee
If you're a coffee lover, black coffee probably doesn't sound too appealing to you. Honestly, give it a try - after a good few cups you'll begin to love it and never go back.

Black coffee is a great metabolic booster. I find it perfect for when I have cravings between meals, low energy levels or if I need some flavouring other than water entering my system.

Too much coffee is a bad idea, so drink in moderation. Black coffee has so many health benefits!

6. Eat
Hunger can of course be apparent for a reason - perhaps you're not eating enough. It's important to eat enough lean protein, fibre and fruits whilst dieting as these are the top components that will leave you feeling satisfied for longer!

The fructose component of fruit works to refill liver glycogen and those who include a moderate amount of fruit in their weight loss diets often report feeling a lot less hungry.

Fiber slows gastric emptying, the rate at which food leave the stomach.  By keeping foods in the stomach longer, a high-fiber intake keeps you full longer. Eat those veggies.

7. Get enough sleep
Uh yes i'm stating the obvious. Think about it - if you're awake for 24 hours of the day, you're going to be eating a whole lot more food than you would if you were to get a sufficient amount of sleep. If you've eaten enough food and are finding yourself still craving, maybe have a nap or get an early night!

7. Tap your forehead
You’ll look weird, but it apparently works: A study presented last year at the Obesity Society Annual Meeting found that tapping your forehead for 30 seconds can decrease the intensity of a craving, as well as blur the image of the food you crave in your brain. HMM.

8. Avoid bad sugars for a week
Cut out any form of bad sugar (meaning sweets, cake, unhealthy cereals) for a week. After a week your cravings for these kind of foods should decrease greatly and be almost non-existent. I know, it's hard having that one sweet treat! It is all about balance, and there's no need to restrict yourself completely but for one weak allow your body to rid of the cravings for these processed sugars.

These are just some suggestions, they may or may not work for you but it's worth a try!

Instagram: hannahggettingfitti

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