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How to Stop Hunger Cravings When You Are Not Eating

By Maura Shenker

Hunger cravings can strike for many reasons. True physiological hunger usually builds slowly and may be accompanied by stomach "growling" or hunger pangs -- which go away after eating. Cravings are extremely common and may also be triggered by emotional or psychological events. This type of craving has no relationship with when you last ate and may not go away after eating. Controlling your hunger cravings may be an important part of your weight loss program.

  1. Stay busy. Many hunger cravings are the result of boredom -- distract yourself with another activity. Most cravings decrease in a few minutes on their own. According to Montana State University, wait 15 minutes then determine if you are really hungry.

  2. Take a nap. Lack of sleep can cause hunger cravings, reports CBS News. Being tired can cause hormonal changes in your body, triggering a need for more energy -- which your mind interprets as a need for more food.

  3. Brush your teeth, gargle with mouthwash or chew a piece of mint-flavored gum. Freshening your mouth may stop your hunger cravings.

  4. Learn to deal with stress. Stress is often a trigger for hunger cravings -- developing better coping skills may relive those cravings. Columbia University's Go Ask Alice says that, "as children, many of us were soothed with a cookie or other treat and have learned to tame emotions with food. What starts as a coping mechanism can turn into a well-ingrained routine, becoming a harder habit to break over time."

  5. Try supplementation -- chromium picolinate may help you eat less and curb hunger cravings. Preliminary research done at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge shows that 1,000 milligrams of chromium picolinate can reduce hunger and cravings by up to 25 percent. Talk to your doctor before trying supplements.

  6. Tip

    Keep a journal of your cravings -- learning what triggers your cravings may help you determine the best way to handle your cravings.


    The more "forbidden" a food is, the more you may be tempted by it. Consider indulging in a small amount of a food that triggers your cravings, to avoid binging on that food later.

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