Have you become overweight and tried to cut back on food time and time again but to no avail? Do you want to dial your eating down a few notches but you simply can’t?
Do you eat until you’re absolutely stuffed, always ending up eating a lot more than you actually intended to? Do you feel guilty after overeating, but you soon do the same all over again? Do you get cravings even when you’re full? Are you experiencing physical problems but are still unable to quit eating unnecessary food?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re addicted to food. Food addiction is a very common problem, so you’re not alone. But it’s also a very serious problem, as it can lead to a lot of health issues.
So, if you truly want to cut down on unnecessary food and take your life to a healthier path, then it’s time to take action right now. Here are all the steps you should take to overcome your challenges and start eating healthier, dropping pounds, and keeping them off.
Increase Your Water Intake
The healthiest drink in the world that is completely calorie-free is extremely important for weight loss. Drinking a lot of water can actually help you burn calories, but it can also put a lid on your appetite.
Whenever you feel a craving, drink a glass of water. After about 10 minutes, you may find out that you were actually thirsty, not hungry. Don’t overdo this, because you do have to eat, and too much water may decrease the level of sodium in your blood, which can lead to serious health problems.
When You Feel a Craving, Distract Yourself
When you feel that craving for junk food, sugar, those tempting salty packaged snacks, or anything else that’s your trigger food, distance yourself from it. Go for a walk, call a friend to hang out, or immerse yourself in a good book. Do anything that will distract you from the craving.
Once you change the environment or immerse your mind in something else, you’ll successfully stop the craving.
Fun fact: chewing gum can suppress your appetite and make you quickly forget about your craving.
Avoid Extreme Hunger
Letting yourself become extremely hungry often leads to overeating, and then feeling guilty about it. To avoid extreme hunger and the cravings that it causes, make sure you eat regularly.
This means eating your meals at mealtimes because, after a while, your body will get used to the routine and your brain will know when it is supposed to get hungry.
Another very important thing is to eat snacks between meals, but only small, healthy snacks, not packaged snack foods and other processed foods you may be used to. Those are not healthy snacks. Eat only whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts.
Pack Up on Protein
Adding more protein to your diet will also stop the cravings, and it will keep you feeling fuller, so you won’t overeat.
There was a study on the effects of protein on appetite in overweight men that showed that increasing protein intake to 25% of calories effectively reduced cravings by a staggering 60%.
So, pack up on spinach, artichokes, peas, ostrich, pork, beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, beans, lentils, and other protein-rich food sources.
Plan Your Weekly Meals
This may seem like it does nothing to stop your cravings, but it can actually be very beneficial. If you know exactly what you’re going to eat for an entire week, you get your spontaneous behavior out of the picture.
After a while, you’ll stop thinking about your trigger foods, because you’ll simply know what to expect from your every meal, so you won’t be tempted.
A lot of people are stress-eaters, so the more stress they’re under, the more they eat. When you’re stressed, your cortisol levels are increased, so you start craving sugar and high-fat foods that quickly take you on the road to overeating.
This is especially true for women, as stressed women are more prone to sweet craving and overall stress-eating.
Getting rid of stress is easier said than done, yes. But if you want results, you must take action. Start small, and your baby steps will eventually take you where you want to go.
One of the most effective stress reducers is meditation. No matter how difficult it may seem at first, keep it up, because it will help you slow down and refresh your mind.
Get Enough Shut-Eye
Not getting enough sleep regularly is also one of the factors contributing to food cravings and becoming overweight. There are lots of studies that prove this. For instance, one study shows that sleep-deprived people are 55% more likely to become obese than people who sleep well.
This is because sleep deprivation causes the appetite hormones (leptin, which decreases your appetite, and ghrelin, which increases it) in your body to fluctuate, so getting enough sleep keeps them in check and prevents cravings.
Remember: All Efforts Fail If You’re Not Physically Active
Who wouldn’t want to sit all day and lose weight, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how weight loss goes.
All the aforementioned tips will help you fight your food addiction and gradually lose weight, but if you do nothing to keep yourself active throughout the day, all your efforts will simply go down the drain.
Engaging in any kind of exercise will free you from your “prison for the mind” and help you drop pounds. Not only is physical activity super healthy, but it is also an excellent way to distract yourself from food cravings.
The absolute key to overcoming food addiction is to NOT go on any kind of diet. Diets include many restrictions, and you’re just not ready for those yet. Follow all these tips and, soon enough, you’ll start living much healthier.
You’ll also realize that you won’t need a diet after all, because you’ll have already lost weight with these very simple steps, without sacrificing anything except your trigger foods, which you never needed in the first place.