Food addiction can be ruthless and sometimes it feels impossible to be able to stop cravings. Fortunately, there are several mental tricks you can use to stave off the unnecessary hunger that can slow you down and put on the pounds.
Food cravings are often associated with boredom. If there is nothing to do, eating is a way to kill time and satiate any emotions that may arise when we over think. Check yourself before you grab a high-fat, high-calorie treat, and start moving instead. Get out of the house and walk, jog, garden or drive somewhere (preferably where there isn't a food court or the like). Simply creating momentum will distract your mind from food. Meet a friend at a bookstore, a hiking path, musical venue, gym or yoga class, anything that will change your focus.
If there is food around and people are eating, get away. Removing yourself from family or friends during their food consumption will get you out of harms way. Initially this may mean not being able to enjoy snacks with friends or family but in the long run when you have your cravings under control, you will be able moderately join in.
3. Repeat Your Mantra
Mental conditioning is difficult, but it works. Creating a mantra that you can repeat to yourself during times of temptation will eventually sink in and empower you. One well known mantra is: "A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips."
Food cravings are often stress related and recognizing signs of stressful anxiety will prevent you from grabbing food. The acronym HALT is used in Alcoholics Anonymous and stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Answering one or more of these will get to the root of what is causing your food craving. Although the first one is hungry, keep in mind that a food craving can actually be just that, you are hungry. Skipping meals is a sure fire way to increase food cravings. Checking when your last meal was will determine whether your blood sugar level or protein is low. If you are truly hungry then eat responsibly.
Water is a great way to trick the brain into thinking you ate. When a food craving arises reach for an ice cold glass of water. The cold will stimulate your metabolism to warm the water to body temperature and in turn help burn calories as well as give you a nice energy boost. Adding fruit wedges, such as lemon, lime or orange can also help satiate the craving for something with taste.
Brushing your teeth tricks the brain into thinking something sweet has been ingested. Carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you at all times. When a craving arises go to the rest room and brush. You'll stave the hunger, have clean teeth and minty fresh breath.
7. Use a Stopwatch
Fortunately, a craving only lasts between five and 20 minutes. Having a stopwatch available during a craving is an excellent way to gauge how long your craving is. When a craving arises, hit your stopwatch, drink a glass of cold water and wait. Keeping an eye on the clock will distract your craving.