7 Ways to Curb Constant Cravings
You’re home alone. It’s midnight. You hear a sound coming from the kitchen.
“What could it be?” you ponder, cautiously making your way towards the mysterious sound.
It beckons from the pantry. You hear it getting louder. You open the door and BAM! It’s your constant craving telling you it’s time for a midnight snack.
These unrelenting desires to down a bag of chips or candy might not have the makings for a horror movie, but that doesn’t make them any less haunting. In reality, cravings can be incredibly difficult to ignore — especially if you’re trying to cut junk food out of your diet. But why is it that we long for those sweet-and-salty processed snacks that, in excess, are so bad for our health? Why is it so hard to block out the sounds of our constant cravings tempting us from inside our cabinets and refrigerators? And more importantly, is there any way we can put an end to them?
When mind over matter isn’t enough, there are some tactics you can use to keep cravings at bay. But first, we’re taking a look at what causes those incessant cravings in the first place.
What are cravings, anyway?
Food cravings can be defined as an intense desire for a specific food or beverage. Most of us have craved a particular food at one point or another, but the intensity and frequency will vary from person to person. Cravings aren’t inherently bad, but nonetheless, they can bring about unhealthy habits if left unchecked.
Constant cravings can be triggered by a number of different things that run the gamut from stress and anxiety to nutritional deficiencies. Here are a few of the most common factors:
- Stress and mood changes
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Hormone imbalances
- Lack of sleep
- Gut health
- Level of impulsivity (self-control)
- Regular consumption of addictive processed foods
Why We Get Constant Cravings for Certain Foods
It’s not uncommon to crave healthy foods here and there, but for the majority of people, constant cravings are associated with those fatty, salty, sweet, and highly processed foods. There’s a reason why these types of foods are extra irresistible: The companies that produce them designed them to be that way.
Processed foods, as the name suggests, are engineered to be extra delicious. They stimulate the reward centers in our brains, triggering the release of feel-good chemicals like dopamine that leave us wanting more. What’s more, these foods are often designed to “melt in your mouth,” which can send signals to the brain that you’re not actually getting enough food to feel full.
Why else does this happen? Some sources say evolution is to blame for these urges to consume foods with high fat and sugar contents. Millions of years ago, apes depended on the sugar found in fruits for energy and fat creation. Finding food wasn’t always easy or consistent for hunter-gatherers, so being able to store extra fat and energy for later was imperative to their survival. As humans evolved, we retained this biological need for these foods — even as food scarcity became less of an issue.
In today’s world, food isn’t just easily accessible, it’s fast, cheap, and available just about everywhere. There are fast food restaurants on every corner, food stands at stadiums and movie theaters, and even at non-grocery retail stores that stock snacks along the checkout line.
So, how do we avoid an unavoidable presence, and how do we curb our constant cravings? Here are a few ways you can keep them in check.
7 Ways to Curb Constant Cravings
For those who want to get a better handle on their cravings, here are a few actionable ways to take control.
1. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.
Sometimes hunger pangs aren’t really hunger pangs at all — they’re signals of thirst. If a craving strikes, try drinking some water before you indulge.
2. Meal plan ahead of time.
It’s easier to give in to cravings and swing by, say, a drive-through when there are no other options. By meal-prepping ahead of time, you can have quick, easy, and healthy foods on hand when hunger strikes.
The Crave Less Patch was designed to provide support for those looking to stay on track with their nutritional goals. This stick-on solution was formulated with science-backed ingredients that provide focus, boost energy, and reduce appetite so you can say “no” to foods that aren’t serving your health and wellness needs. It contains Garcinia Cambogia (also known as brindleberry) for weight maintenance, rockweed for a boost of vitamins and antioxidants, and green tea extract for natural energy.
4. Avoid buying tempting foods.
If you know there’s a certain food that you simply can’t resist, don’t buy it. If you know that it’s sitting in your pantry, you’ll be 100% more likely to eat it than if you left it on the shelf at the grocery store.
5. Integrate healthier, more nutritious foods into your diet.
When you start eating more nutrient-dense whole foods, you might notice something: Cravings for junk food start to dissipate. That’s because, in a way, your body is “detoxing” from those processed foods, and once they’re out of your system, the cravings tend to subside.
6. Try a healthier version of the food you’re craving.
If you just can’t stop thinking about devouring a particular food, try making a healthier version of it instead. Pizza, for example, is a commonly craved food. A lighter version could involve using a cauliflower crust (or even a tortilla) as the base, and then piling it high with wholesome vegetables and protein. A quick Google search will reveal countless recipes for healthy alternatives to your favorite comfort foods!
7. Be kind to yourself.
Remember that if you give in to a craving, it’s not the end of the world! It’s okay to indulge from time to time. Giving yourself some grace can be the first step towards building a healthier relationship with food — and with yourself.
Staying on track when it comes to your nutritional goals isn’t always easy, but with a few tips and tricks, you can take back control. So the next time you hear your constant cravings calling your name from the kitchen in the middle of the night, remember: You’ve got this!
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