Are you looking for some ways to control food cravings? You’ve come the right way.
You see, food is the necessity of life. We can’t live without eating, drinking and sleeping. All of these factors are essential for our survival. There are different varieties of foods we should include in our diet on a regular basis for better body functioning like transportation of nutrients, digestion, increase muscle mass, provide body with fluids, energy and so on.
It is impossible to live without food. However, anything in excess and beyond limit is bad and so is food. There is a fine line between physical hunger and cravings for food. The latter is can be harmful for us.
Physical hunger is the type of hunger when we actually need to eat to keep ourselves going which is important for our survival. Craving is an urge to eat extra food to satisfy our emotions, de-stress ourselves and making food, a source of happiness.
It is no rocket science that extra food consumption leads to weight gain. Just like creating a calorie deficit makes us lose weight, calorie surplus through fulfilling our cravings makes us gain weight, that too in an unhealthy way.
How to identify if you’re having a physical hunger or craving for food?
- Meal Timings: Fulfilling physical hunger is like a daily routine. We have our meals decided for the day like breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, evening snack and dinner timely. However, fulfilling cravings means eating anything at any random time of the day without a routine. If you ate ja big meal 1-2 hours before, and you still feel hungry, you might be craving for extra food.
- Signs: If your body feels weak, dizzy and with low energy, these are mainly the signs of physical hunger. Where-as, if you feel like eating something to satisfy your taste and feel better, those might be the signs of cravings.
Let’s discuss why fulling your cravings every time might be unhealthy for you
- Relying on Food: We usually tend to have cravings when we our main source of happiness is food alone, in most of the cases. Whether its job stress, or personal bad circumstances or worrying for an exam, we often try to de-stress ourselves with food. Depending on food every time to overcome a problem is wrong. Food should be just treated like fueling our body and not overdoing it just for sake of emotions. There could be number of ways to keep ourselves positive apart from eating.
- Unhealthy Consumption of Food: Have you ever seen someone craving for a salad? Well, not in most of the cases. When we are craving for food, we crave for some variety of junk food having loads of sugar and packed with calories. Like, pizza, burger, fries, coke etc. Consuming such foods often is not good for our health in a long term at all. It affects our blood sugar, blood pressure, heart health, digestion and overall health.
- Obesity: Fulfilling our cravings through junk food will lead to caloric surplus, making us gain unhealthy weight in long term and before we realize soon, it will turn into obesity. Obesity is a condition characterised by abnormal or excessive fat accumulation. Obesity is much more than apart from just changing our appearance. It can cause lifestyle disorders in the future like cardiac diseases, diabetes, PCOS, arthritis, hypertension etc. which can be life threatening.
This is why controlling on cravings is important. Working on reducing cravings can prevent us from such diseases and keep us healthy. But if you’re still telling yourself – “I can’t control my food cravings”, We are here for you.
Here is how to control food cravings to avoid weight gain and these are some of the best and natural tips to control food cravings.
Ways to Control Food Cravings
- Choose Whole Foods: Choosing whole foods like wheat, multi grains, whole fruits and vegetables, nuts etc. instead of processed foods like maida/white flour, juices, packaged foods – biscuits, chips etc. is one of the best ways to control food cravings in long term. As whole foods contain fibre, which is not only good for our digestion but also helps us increase satiety for long time, which is a feeling fullness after having a meal.
- Increase Your Protein Intake: Similar to how whole foods help us feel fuller for a long time, so does protein. We all know that people who are fitness enthusiasts eat more protein to help them recover and increase muscle mass. But, protein also helps us enhance our satiety levels. Try centering your meals around the rich sources of protein.
- Hydrate Well: Drinking more water can help us reduce false hunger. The next time you feel like eating something at random time, try drinking some water which will keep you full. It will help you realize that it was just craving and not physical hunger.
- Sleep on Time: How to stop food cravings at night? Well, have you ever noticed when we crave for food, it is mostly at night and that too, late nights? It is, when we are watching a movie, or talking to a friend late night, we feel like eating something because we had dinner hours before. It is obvious that, we will feel hungry when we had our last meal almost more than 3 hours back. However, it doesn’t mean eating late nights, when we should actually be sleeping. A lack of sleep makes our body release stress hormones which make us have an urge to eat. Once you start sleeping on time, you will never tend to have cravings at the time, when you’re dreaming.
- Prefer Healthy Snacks: If you feel like, you really need to eat something extra to help you feel better and you possibly can’t avoid eating at all, stop mindless snacking and try to have more of healthy snacks. Swap your regular foods with a whole fruit, nuts, greek yogurt, a sugar free fruit smoothie, sprouts, lotus seeds, bread with peanut butter etc.
- Exercise Regularly: Here is how to get food cravings under control – do a few exhausting sets of burpees, push-ups, body weight squats or any other body-weight exercise. We are pretty sure the three steps above would work for you to shut down a sugar craving. Exercising helps us supress cravings as it releases happy hormones and make us feel a lot more motivated towards maintaining our diet.
The Bottom Line
Having cravings is normal for everyone. After all, we all are humans. Our days are different, eating routine is different. It is not always possible to stay on track but it is important to follow ways to control food cravings at the same time and stop ourselves from indulging in having extra.
Try building more discipline, consistency and introduce a fitness routine in your life. Here’s how we can help you start with your fitness journey.
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