How To Stop Food Craving To Lose Weight – Unconventional Guide
Do you crave sweets or chips even if you are full?
Or do you crave sweets all of a sudden?
Do you want to stop cravings to lose weight and feel good about yourself?
I had terrible cravings when I was going through a binge eating disorder, and I want to show you how to say “NO!” to your cravings to lost weight.
Why you should listen to me?
I experienced a binge eating disorder twice between 20-22 years old.
My weight changed about 33 lbs every half year. My first binge eating disorder came from rigorous eating regimens and loneliness while I was studying in England. I went on a strict diet again to lose all the weight, which caused my next binge eating disorder.
The hardest thing was I had to go through knee surgery three years ago because I was over-training to lose weight, and it’s still affecting my daily life.
The second time I lost weight, I decided not to go on a strict diet since I realized it was the cause of my eating disorder. Instead, I really tried to find a more sustainable diet and ways to cope with cravings. If I could go back in time, I would want to teach myself the methods I found, so I wanted to share these with you to use if you are struggling with cravings.
Understand the type cravings you have
Before digging into how you can stop cravings, I want you to take a look at these three questions and think about which type you are dealing with.
- Maybe you are eating from boredom?
- Maybe you are eating from stress?
- Maybe you always crave the same food?
Harvard Health Publishing says when we are stressed,
- Our brain releases a hormone called cortisol which can increase appetite
- If you are constantly stressed, your cortisol level will keep increasing
- Stress makes us crave high fat/sugary food.
It’s important to know where your stress comes from because it can be the root cause of your cravings.
If you ignore your stress pattern, you may repeat food cravings. Maybe you are stressed from work, relationships, school, or your financial situation. I will show you how to learn to cope with stress in a healthy way.
According to Psychology Today, when you are bored, your brain is looking for excitement, and eating is one of your brain’s stimulants. You can learn how to cope with your boredom rather than just eating later in this article!
Cravings for certain food
Do you always crave a certain food? There may be three reasons why you crave certain food.
- You crave certain food because your brain remembers the texture and the taste
- You crave certain food because of the microbes in your gut
- Period related cravings
1. Your brain is making you eat!
Do you know how your brain is working when you crave food? I found a good explanation for this from a scientific paper.
“During a craving we have a sensory memory or template for the food that will satisfy the craving. The food we eat has to match that template for the craving to be satisfied. It’s as if our brain is saying, ‘It has to be chocolate ice cream, lemon pie just won’t do.'” She continues, “Cravings are also like habits. We often reach for a craved food without thinking of it.”
2. Your gut is making you eat!
Did you know your microbes in your gut can make you crave food?
BBC says each microbe likes a different environment, like more or less acidic, and they can trick us into eating certain food!
What’s more interesting, your microbes can send signals to the brain to get you to crave certain nutrients or more food. As a result, you feel good when you eat what you want, which is affected by neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
3. Your culture is tricking you into eating during your period
You may think you crave chocolate during your period because of hormonal change, and I believed that too!
According to BBC, “women born outside the US were significantly less likely to link chocolate cravings to the menstrual cycle.” This happens because chocolate is seen as a “taboo” food in western culture.
I always thought I craved chocolate because I experienced iron deficiency during my period, but this BBC article explains eating chocolate doesn’t change iron levels much compared to red meat or leafy greens.
Since you now understand why you crave certain food, maybe you’ll have more motivation to stop food cravings now. So let’s move on to how we can actually defeat food cravings in order to lose weight.
The unconventional guide to defeating cravings
I believe everyone knows it’s good for you to replace your cravings with healthier options.
So I want to show you some rather unconventional ways to stop food cravings for weight loss.
1. 4 Quick Solutions
- Brush your teeth when you have a strong craving – When you are craving something, you can feel the taste on your tongue, so I recommend brushing your teeth. This will make you not want to eat!
- Remove junk food at home – When you have unhealthy food within arm’s reach it’s hard to resist. So remove as much junk food as possible from your home.
- Chew gum (not a sugary one) – This method is similar to brushing your teeth. Sometimes, you just want to chew something and chewing gum can help you eliminate your cravings.
- Buy expensive treats – Instead of grabbing a $1 chocolate bar, buy a $5 one. Since it costs you, you will want buy less. As a result, you eat less! Also, more expensive options often use better ingredients. So it’s good for you too!
2. Write down your thoughts
This is the method I created when I was determined to stop cravings in order to lose weight.
I really worked on mental health workbooks to overcome my bipolar disorder, and I wrote down so many things to answer questions in workbooks. So I thought maybe writing down my thoughts will help me stop food cravings too!
- Write down “Are you hungry now?”
- If the answer is “No,” go on to the next question. If the answer is “Yes,” then seek a healthy snack option!
- Write down “Do you want to eat…now?”.
- Think really hard about WHY you want to lose weight then answer the question.
- If you didn’t get defeated by your cravings, you should write down “Haruka!(your name) You did well!! You’re doing super well!”. The key is to give yourself a compliment when you didn’t get defeated by your cravings.
Here is the scientific explanation of how writing down ideas can help us.
Psychology today says by writing, you can reframe and re-evaluate your thoughts. Can you see why you shouldn’t let your cravings stay in your mind? In this way, you don’t need to keep thinking about them.
I wrote down and asked these two questions every time I had cravings.
This worked for me because, in the end, I stopped eating when I wasn’t hungry because I couldn’t be bothered to write down every time I wanted to eat something.
3. Brainstorm coping strategies for your cravings
Do you crave food when you are stressed? Feeling down? Before trying to stop cravings, maybe you can take a moment and brainstorm how you can cope with your difficulties other than eating.
MedicalNewsToday explains how you can deal with your cravings depending on your craving type
- Someone who eats when bored may want to find a new book that sounds exciting to start reading, or start a new hobby that could provide a challenge.
- Someone who eats because of stress could try yoga, meditating, or taking a walk to help themselves cope with their emotions.
- Someone who eats when they are depressed may want to call a friend, take the dog for a run, or plan an outing to cope with their negative feelings.
Craving doesn’t always come from a lack of self-discipline. If you are suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression, you can consider talking to a therapist or a health coach.
If you are looking for an affordable counseling option, you may be interested in reading my post – Online Counseling App Review- $50 A Month For Unlimited Online Counseling
If you are interested in starting meditation for your stress and anxiety, maybe you can read this post –Meditation For Anxiety – Easy Beginner’s Guide To Meditation
4. JUST EAT IT!
This may sound crazy especially if you are trying to lose weight, but I found it helpful to “Just Eat It!” sometimes.
I often found myself craving more when I told myself “I can’t eat this”. The Psychology of Food Cravings explains why we end up eating more if we suppress our cravings too much.
Dieting or restrained eating generally increase the likelihood of food craving while fasting makes craving, like hunger, diminish. Attempted restriction or deprivation of a particular food is associated with an increase in craving for the unavailable food.
Studies show negative mood can trigger eating more, so it’s important NOT to control your cravings too much.
Here is my advice.
Just enjoy your cravings once in a while, and please please don’t judge and criticize yourself. I found it most helpful to eat what I LOVE once in a while when I was on a diet!
If you want to learn more about food cravings or weight loss, leave a comment what you want to learn more about!