Many of us plan to lose weight and to get fit only to run into the same problems—feeling hungry and not enjoying exercise—a diet can be hard to manage and working out difficult to handle (at least to begin with). So, when these are what you have to look forward to when you start, it’s not surprising that you’re not all that enthusiastic.
While these two disciplines—eating well and exercising—will require personal investment and a commitment to fulfil, you can measure your progress. Just think how you will feel if you drop a clothing size? Or better still, wake up feeling energized and wanting to start your day. Gradually over time, you can apply yourself to both so that you gain the best possible result.
Let’s look at how can achieve this, and also how you can beat those nasty cravings that come your way using 7 specific strategies. By using these methods, you’ll take away any unnecessary boundaries that may prevent you from becoming the best you can be.
Strategy #1 Eat At Roughly The Same Time Daily
If you program your alarm clock to go off at the same time every day, then eventually doing tasks becomes routine. Your body clock can be programmed the same way. For instance, if you want to get good sleep every night so you wake up feeling refreshed, then aim to go to bed at the same time each night. After weeks of following the same routine, you’ll begin to feel sleepy at the same time and you’ll fall asleep more quickly each night. You will start waking up at the right time too, even without an alarm clock.
The same principle can be used for eating. When you have a simple food routine, such as eating your meals at the same time, you’ll adapt to feeling satisfied then. This won’t always prevent you from feeling hungry, but it can help you avoid the general pangs. Routine is the biggest aid to success, especially when it comes to health-focused programs.
Strategy # 2 Eat Fibrous, Nutritious & Satisfying Foods
What you eat has a big impact on how full you feel. Have you ever eaten fast food and felt as though you weren’t entirely satisfied by it? That’s because in general, satisfaction isn’t always indicated by how much you eat, rather it’s determined by what you eat. For instance, wholemeal bread is said to be more satisfying than white due to it having more complex carbohydrates, which help you feel fuller for longer. Another fibrous, nutritious and satisfying food is Oatmeal, which is a slow-energy releasing food that’s said to be much healthier than sugary cereal.
Therefore, by making better food choices—swapping sugary, fattening foods for a good mix of root and leaf vegetables laden with vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein sources, and healthy fats—you’ll beat those cravings and feel fuller for longer on healthy and well-portioned meals.
Strategy #3 Avoid Boredom Eating
Boredom eating—where you eat so you’re kept busy—is often an indication that you’re in search of a ‘pick-me-up’. If you have snacks and not-so-healthy foods in the fridge they’re going to be your first choice because the sugar is going to give you that ‘hit’ that you seek. The only problem with this is that ‘hit’ is usually short-lived, so you’ll typically want something more. Before you know it you’ve cleaned the fridge out and you’re left feeling bloated and exhausted from eating far too much ‘blah’ food.
So, how can you overcome this? Simple, don’t have unhealthy snacks anywhere within reach. Instead, stock your fridge and pantry at home and work with healthy snacks.
If you stick to this principle, and bad foods are not around, then it’s harder for you to eat poorly. You can also place a reminder on your fridge or pantry, or even both that say, “are you REALLY hungry?” to give yourself that mental check.
And if you’re not sure what’s healthy and what’s not, then start using apps like MyFitnessPal to check the foods that you eat, and count the calories you’re consuming. This type of app makes you accountable and aware of the quality of the foods that you’re eating, so mindless eating is stopped in its tracks.
Strategy # 4 Have A Cheat Day From Time To Time
Giving yourself a cheat day from time to time is no crime at all. In fact, it can even help you on your weight loss journey by giving you the chance to decompress and enjoy yourself occasionally. Provided your cheat day doesn’t go too crazy, it can be nice to enjoy something you’ve been missing, such as eating a burger at a restaurant with your friends, or enjoying a nice dessert after your meal.
One treat or even two won’t hurt you if enjoyed in moderation. You can always work that off over a few days. But just remember it will take you days to remove the excess calories and fats from your body that were in that one meal. So, it’s essential that you don’t fall into the trap of making one cheat day, two or three.
Also, remember when following a diet that your progress need not be perfect. It’s okay if you don’t follow your plan exactly. One day of not-so-healthy-eating won’t undo all of your hard work. So, if you give in on one day, don’t beat yourself up about it and chuck in the towel and give up.
Strategy #5 Consider Intermittent Fasting
Many people use the power of intermittent fasting to help them prevent cravings. Fasting can be a very powerful motivator, and it may even give you the feeling of being more in control of your hunger.
So what’s intermittent fasting?
Well, put simply, you might decide that for sixteen hours each day you won’t eat anything. This means that you may eat two larger meals each day instead of three, perhaps from noon until 8pm. Then, from 8pm to noon, you won’t eat. This can help you with meal planning and let your body adapt to the benefits of fasting.
Over time, you’ll feel fuller for longer and you’ll develop a more solid routine when it comes to your weight loss. You will also feel that you are setting the rules in relation to the kind of food that you eat and when you’re eating them.
Strategy #6 Proper Supplementation
Using supplements and aids to keep your cravings in check, while you master the skills you need to control your eating urges can also be a good idea. It’s a little like using a nicotine patch while you give up smoking. Sure, it’s not as good as going ‘cold turkey’ where you don’t have any nicotine at all, but it’s far healthier than smoking.
So, while supplementation must never be used to replace a healthy and clean diet, additional supplements and aids can help you keep your cravings in check, while also providing excellent nutritional fortification on top of your great diet. For instance, many people get great value out of Saxenda for weight loss, which is proven to reduce overbearing hunger pangs and appetite.
Strategy # 7 Hydrate Properly
It’s essential to hydrate properly during the day. Our body is made up of around 60% of water, so your cells need fluid replenishment. If they don’t get enough, then you don’t function as well.
While your foods—fruit, vegetables and meats—contain moisture, this isn’t enough. This is why health professionals recommend that adults drink around two to three litres of water per day. And yet, not everyone meets this standard, which is quite unfortunate.
Drinking healthily throughout the day, such as enjoying green tea, filtered water, and steering away from the sodas and an overreliance on coffee can also help you avoid food cravings. Basically, when you drink, water fills your stomach and you’ll feel full. In this respect, hydration can serve as a great resister to food cravings.
If you follow these 7 strategies you’ll gradually find that you’ll beat those cravings. Your weight loss journey will also become more enjoyable, and you’ll being to reap the rewards. Lastly, all steps towards living your best life—no matter how small they may seem now—are significant long-term.
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