One of the hardest parts of losing weight is learning how to stop food cravings. Exercise comes easy for most people, it’s the dieting that’s hard. Unfortunately, your diet is responsible for about 80% of your success. You can work out until you’re blue in the face, but if your diet isn’t planned out right, your dreams of that perfect body will always seem out of reach.
The mind is very powerful, and it can easily convince you to derail your diet. Changing your lifestyle is a true example of how you need to take control of your mind and body to be successful. If you let your mind control you, you will never reach your goals. Have you ever wondered why food is so addicting? It will affect your body and mind in ways you never thought possible.
So then, what are some ways that we can take back control of ourselves to keep us on the right track towards success?
Fiber helps to fill up your stomach so that you have a feeling of being full. It also slows down digestion. This helps two-fold. First, it keeps food in your stomach longer. The longer food stays in your stomach, the less likely you are to want to eat again. And second, it slows down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. This is imperative in keeping your insulin hormone low so that fat can be released. Remember, when insulin is low, growth hormone (a powerful fat burning hormone) is released. The higher your growth hormone levels the better.
Get In Enough Nutrients
You have to make sure you are getting in all the necessary nutrients if you want to stop cravings, let alone be successful in losing weight. You could eat all the calories you want, but if you aren’t getting in enough of the proper nutrients, your body is going to continue to send you hunger signals until it gets what it needs.
Make sure you are getting in enough essential fatty acids (EFAs). These cannot be manufactured by the body, so it’s necessary to get these through your diet. If you don’t eat enough of them, your body will tell you to keep eating until you do. And believe me, your body will win every time. The same goes for vitamins and minerals. Focus on eating a nutrient dense diet filled with plenty of meat, fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and tubers. These foods are packed with vital nutrients, and will keep the hunger signals at bay.
Water is essential to life, and part of every chemical reaction in our bodies. Yet so many people are walking around in a semi-dehydrated state. Many times our body mistakes thirst for hunger. We end up eating food, when in reality we needed water. We can get it in two different ways. We can either drink it, or we can eat it. Our food is made up of a high percentage of water – at least whole foods are. However, many times just having a glass of water will make the hunger pains go away. If you are feeling the need to eat, but it’s not time for your next meal, try drinking a glass of water first. You might be surprised how much that helps.
Eat More Calories
Not eating enough calories – probably one of the top reasons why diets fail. Eating too few calories is a sure way to make your brain tell your body to find food. Your body’s objective is to survive and maintain all the necessary bodily functions. It can’t do this when it isn’t getting enough energy (food) to fuel these functions. Make sure you are eating enough.
Rarely do you ever need to go below 10 times your body weight in calories. Bad things start to happen when you do. You either start losing a higher percentage of muscle compared to fat, or you fall off your diet altogether. Progress tends to stall, and then you find yourself asking that infamous question – why am I not losing weight?
Have a Cheat Meal
Did you know you can still eat what you want and be successful? The key is to plan your nutrition out in advance – especially the “bad” food. Cheat meals are a great way to support the psychological part of your journey. Having a cheat meal once in a while can be used as a source of motivation to eat healthy the rest of the time.
When you know that there isn’t absolute restriction in your nutrition, you are usually more willing to stay on track with it the rest of the time. One week is usually a nice time period that most people can make it through, and having a controlled cheat meal on the weekend helps you to enjoy life a little more - especially in those difficult social situations. Be careful though – messing up your cheat meal can set your progress way back.