The sight, sound, and smell of a food are enough to send you on a rollercoaster ride of intense cravings. But each time you see, hear, or smell a favorite food, you can’t give in and indulge. Well, actually, you can, but good luck achieving your physique goals…
Heck, right now, I’m craving peanut butter cheesecake. But I digress…
As you continue omitting calorie-dense foods and reducing portions the further along you progress through a dieting phase, the stronger these cravings will become. But if you’re able to stay strong and resist the urge, it could be the difference between fitting into a size four versus a size eight, seeing six abs instead of four, or finally having the confidence to wear that bikini this year.
Fortunately, there are a few tried-and- true, easy-to- implement strategies that may have a significant impact on any craving that shows its face. The following strategies are meant to be implemented in the order they’re written. Hopefully, you only need the first – and maybe the second – to shake it off, but if not, there are a few additional suggestions to help you out.
USE YOUR BODY TO CRUSH CRAVINGS
When a craving first hits, it’s imperative you act immediately to nip it in the bud. Failure to do so will only allow this urge to grow stronger. And before you know it, you’ll be waist-deep in peanut butter…not that that’s a bad thing, though…
When you feel that sensation, start moving. By engaging in exercise, you shift the current state of blood flow in your body. At rest, nearly 80 percent of your blood flow may be direct to your stomach and GI tract. But when you start moving, blood flow is reduced from this area and shifted to your working muscles. This helps to alleviate any craving that existed.
Action: Complete three sets of 25 repetitions of your favorite body weight exercise. I like jumping jacks, body-weight squats, push-ups, and mountain climbers. You deserve the peanut butter if you can do three sets of 25 pull-ups!
USE WATER TO CRUSH CRAVINGS
If you’ve read any of my articles before, you know I am a huge fan of using fluids, or rather, ensuring optimal hydration is in place, to fight hunger and cravings. That’s because when you fill your stomach – and what better way to do so during a diet then with an essential, calorie-free nutrient – with food or fluid, the contents stretch your stomach and stimulate the nerve endings lining your stomach wall (known as stretch receptors). In turn, these stretch receptors send satiety signals to the brain, thus stopping all thoughts of whatever food you’ve been drooling over dead in their tracks.
Action: Chug – not sip – 12 – 16 ounces water immediately. Heck, I even recommend you push for 24 – 30 ounces. This will really stretch your stomach and turn you off from eating.
USE RAW VEGETABLES TO CRUSH CRAVINGS
Okay, how many people truly enjoy raw vegetables?
Raise your hand.
And I’m not talking about dipping carrots in Ranch dressing. I’m talking about straight-up raw, nothing added, bland as can be broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
Yeah, I don’t see too many hands raised right now…
If you can’t seem to shake a craving, consider a handful of spinach, broccoli, parsnips, or any other raw vegetable. For one, the sheer taste is likely to turn-off any craving you had. But even more, vegetables are rich in both water and fiber, so although you are eating a bit outside what your plan may call for, you’re using very-low- calorie foods that work to slow digestion and further promote fullness.
That’s A-Okay in my book.
Note: I personally enjoy some vegetables raw (hello, carrots and bell peppers), but for the most part, on their own, raw vegetables are bland and less than desirable.
BUT I’M STILL HUNGRY…
When a craving hits, I suggest putting these strategies into action in the order presented. Hopefully, strategies one and two will be enough to rid that craving, but even if you do need to use strategy number three, you’re eating a minuscule number of calories, which won’t make or break your day or diet.
If for whatever reason you still can’t shake that feeling despite implementing the outlined strategies above, you may consider moving your next meal earlier. But more importantly, what you need to do, is reassess your nutrition, training, stress, and sleep and see if there’s a logical explanation for this unfounded feeling.
Are you significantly underrating?
Are you under-recovered?
Are you sleep-deprived?
Are you dehydrated?
Are you stressed?
Each of the above factors will influence your cravings. Be mindful of the big picture to seek out the source of this craving so you can make a change for the better.
Psstttt…I just launched an online video course that details 13 research-backed, easy-to- implement hunger-fighting strategies! Fight hunger today!