Fighting Cravings to Lose WeightPosted: Dec 18 in Nutrition by Staff
A craving can hit you out of nowhere, derailing your willpower and making it difficult to keep up with your efforts to lose weight. This is something that most people trying to lose weight know all too well, but the reason why these cravings bother us is not as well understood.
Cravings come from the power of suggestion. Someone mentions something about French fries and just like Pavlov’s dog you start to salivate. Suddenly French fries are all you can think about. You want the salt. You want the texture. You want to bask in the aroma of fried foods. You might not even like French fries all that much, but once the craving sets in they can be hard to resist.
This sort of craving can occur for any sort of food item, from potato chips to a latte. If you aren’t careful, cravings can seriously undermine your weight loss progress. Learning a few simple strategies can help you overcome cravings and stick with your weight loss diet day after day.
Stop Thinking About It
Cravings live in your head. When you think of an item you want it becomes nestled in your brain and distracts you from whatever you are doing. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that as long as the craving stays a thought it is harmless. As a result they indulge themselves in thinking about the item they want in as much detail as they can. They might think of the sweetness of the frosting on the cake, or the fine acidic contrast between the salt of the French fries and the tartness of the ketchup you dip them in.
These thoughts are not harmless. The more you think about an item, the harder it becomes to resist.
Cut the intensity of your craving by banishing it from your head. As the old saying goes, cravings are “mind over matter.” As long as you can control your thoughts, you can control your cravings. Of course, telling yourself not to think about a slice of chocolate cake will leave you thinking about, you guessed it, cake. Have a backup plan for when cravings strike. Start thinking about something else that is not related to food to get your mind off the subject. Look at pictures of nature, engage in a conversation with a friend or start reading a book. Do your best to take your mind off your craving by diverting your attention elsewhere.
Cravings might seem irresistible, but they are not. In time a craving will pass, so stay strong and do your best to stick to your medical weight loss diet in the meantime.