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How to Cope With Cravings While Dieting

By Hannah Rice Myers ; Updated July 18, 2017

Cravings are inevitable, especially when you diet. When you limit your intake of foods, you feel you want them even more. The extent of your cravings depends on how severe the changes to your eating habits. Achieving weight-loss success means finding a way to cope with your cravings. Whether your downfall is chocolate or potato chips, you can get beyond your desire and push forward until you meet your ultimate weight-loss goal.

  1. Drink water when cravings strike. Water is an effective appetite suppressant. When your body tries telling you it's hungry for a certain food, drink an 8-ounce glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Your hunger and craving should go away.

  2. Eat small meals throughout the day. Rather than three large meals a day, eat five to six small meals every three to four hours, as University of Maryland Medical Center suggests. This stops hunger in its tracks and prevents your blood sugar levels from dropping too low. Keeping your blood sugar stable is key to controlling your desire for high-sugar, high-calorie snack foods.

  3. Cut back on processed foods. Processed foods contain excess sugar, sodium and fat, which increase your dependence on unhealthy foods. Reducing your consumption of processed and frozen foods and increasing your intake of natural fruit sugars can reduce your cravings while dieting.

  4. Exercise for 30 minutes a day. Exercise helps control your urge to eat by releasing endorphins into your bloodstream. Your mood can influence your desire to eat, and endorphins have a positive effect on your mood. If your cravings occur at specific times of the day, align your exercise routines with these times.

  5. Give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your favorite foods. The Naval Medical Center in San Diego explains you should never tell yourself you cannot have a certain food or foods again, but instead you should learn to control or manage your craving rather than think of food as forbidden. This leads to an automatic craving. The key is to allow yourself a treat once a week or every other week and to enjoy it in moderation.

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