It’s no secret: diets are extremely challenging to stick to. Even after the arduous process of educating yourself about dietary health, your body and your mind will seek to sabotage you with a variety of unhealthy cravings. Fats and salts are instinctively desired due to their relative scarcity throughout human evolution. In order to control these powerful food cravings it’s important to be committed to your plan.

1. Stick to a schedule. By eating meals at specific times of the day you can tell yourself “No. I will not snack now, I will eat my lunch at exactly 1:00PM.” This avoids snacking in between meals while still giving yourself the meal to look forward to. Eventually, your body will adapt to this schedule and the hunger pangs between meals will fade.

2. Use healthy snacks throughout the day. Snacks such as carrots, fresh fruit, celery and even whole wheat crackers can cut your hunger without a significant calorie burden. If using snacks throughout the day, ensure that you portion out specific amounts at the beginning of the day, log these calories in your diet plan and avoid the temptation to eat more than you packed.

3. Drink water or tea. Drinking low-calorie or no-calorie liquids can help produce a sense of fullness and cut down on your cravings. While research is still being done, diet sodas may actually increase these cravings. If you find yourself more hungry rather than less hungry after a diet soda, you may want to reconsider your choice of beverage.

4. Occupy your mouth. Chewing gum is a great way to trick your brain and distract you from your hunger. Sugar-free sugar gum is, of course, the most healthy but even chewing gums with sugar rarely have over 15 calories a stick.

5. Have a cheat day. If nothing else seems to be working, consider adding a cheat day to your dietary plan. A cheat day is a single day in which you eat anything you want. With this method you will avoid feeling constantly deprived of food, which will help you stay resolved during the rest of the week. Studies have shown that cheat days, when used in conjunction with otherwise strict diets, do not overly disrupt weight loss.

Weight loss is an intensely difficult, but very rewarding experience. Once you gain control over your body you will feel more confident and self-assured, along with the additional health and energy that comes from obtaining your healthy weight and eating the right foods.

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 5 Tips for Controlling Food Cravings

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