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How to Conquer Food Cravings

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Attempting to conquer food cravings can feel like a losing battle. After all, food is everywhere and it’s hard to avoid. As humans, we’re not geared to crave spinach or broccoli. Instead, we seek out sweets, fats, and salty food. 

Which brings us to food cravings. Food cravings can take hold of your brain until they’re satisfied. Your self-control goes out the window, and before you know it, you’re on the road to diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. 

Overcoming a food craving is like getting over an addiction. A recent study found that sugar creates the same cravings and withdrawals that that cocaine does. This addictive nature makes cravings for sweets, fats, and salts extremely difficult to ignore. 

Your body may be asking for doughnuts and cake, but you don’t have to give in. Fortunately, you can beat your cravings with the following methods backed by research. 

Take a hike (or walk)

Walking off your cravings works. According to a 2008 study, a  quick 15-minute walk can take your mind off of that chocolate cake. A brisk walk allows your mind to redirect its anxious craving for your food of choice.  It’s simple, fast, and burns off calories, too. Next time you feel like reaching for that sugary soda, talk a 15-minute walk around the block. Your waistline will thank you for it. 

Have just a little bit of it

Yes, you’re walking into dangerous territory, but enjoying just a tiny bit of what you crave can get it off your mind. You can have a small portion of what you want (not a lot of little portions), just to keep you from binging on it later. Sometimes, having a taste of your craving can satiate the desire for it. Just don’t eat the whole thing, otherwise, it defeats the purpose. 

Chew some peppermint gum 

The smell of peppermint helps curb cravings. The smell and taste of peppermint can satisfy your sweet tooth enough to turn it off – at least for the time being. A study done in 2008 discovered that smelling peppermint help research participants to consume fewer calories overall. Using mint as to help weight control is not a new thing, it’s been known to help curb the appetite for years. 

Find a distraction 

Your craving has a short attention span, you just need to distract it. Preferably with something you enjoy. If you like playing video games on your phone, go ahead and immerse yourself in it. If you enjoy watching reality television, get the remote. Finding an activity that trumps your craving is all you might need to do to forget about it. 

Try hypnosis 

Many of the options above involve changing your thoughts. Hypnosis is ideal for curbing food cravings because it can train your mind to switch what it pays attention to. Through hypnosis, a certified hypnotist can get to where food cravings start –your subconscious. Through visual imagery and suggestion, a hypnotist can program your mind to switch its attention to something else entirely, letting you conquer food cravings. 

Food for thought 

Much of what causes your mind to crave foods lies in your subconscious. If you can focus on something other than your craving, your body won’t want that sweet snack or fatty meat anymore. Distracting your mind, using hypnosis, and having just a small taste are all ways of keeping your mind from staying on the same track. Though it may seem like willpower, willpower alone won’t help you overcome your food craving. Sometimes, it takes more than will – it takes mind over matter. Food cravings begin in your mind, and they end there, too. 

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Image credit: Freepik


James Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.

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