5 Tips for Managing Food Cravings
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Have you ever been going about your day when suddenly, all you can think about is a warm, gooey brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? Or perhaps what you want is a bit saltier, like a huge bowl of movie theater popcorn with extra butter? Either way, we’re sorry to make you drool at the start of this blog, but it’s only helping our point about how powerful food cravings can be.
Managing your food cravings in a healthy way can be a struggle, so we’ve gathered some incredible tips from our certified exercise and nutrition specialist, MacKenzie Rowand, CSCS, NASM-CNC. Check out her advice on how to help curb your food cravings, so you can continue to crush your fitness goals with a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Tip #1 — Don’t Restrict Your Diet Too Much
The first thought people have when they want to lose weight is that they need to cut calories or food groups out of their diet. Restricting your diet too much can prevent you from getting enough nutrients, which will only make your body crave certain foods even more. This is why many people who follow specific diets, such as the popular low-fat or low-carb diets, often end up craving foods high in fats or carbohydrates all the time.
Instead of limiting your food groups or drastically cutting your calories, you should focus on creating a well-balanced diet with a healthy amount of all your macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) to fill your daily caloric needs. This will ensure your body is getting the vital nutrients it needs while also helping you cut your food cravings. You can find out your recommended daily calories in the 9Round Member Portal under My Account once you’ve filled in all your information.
Pro Tip: If you’re really in the mood to cut back, try limiting your use of processed and boxed foods. Whenever possible, replace these items with fresh, whole foods for a better source of proteins, carbs, and fats.
Tip #2 — Stick to a Schedule
It’s not called a healthy routine for nothing! That’s why sticking to a schedule for your eating (and exercise) habits can help you cut down your cravings, as it ensures your body always receiving the nutrients it needs right on time. Plan your meals and snacks strategically around the times when you typically start feeling hungry rather than waiting to eat when you’re already starving. Doing this can help you stop food cravings before they happen and prevent you from binge eating what’s most convenient (and usually less healthy) after your hunger really sets in.
When creating your daily meal and snack schedule, remember to fuel your body every 3-4 hours to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients throughout the day. You also want to consider when you’re exercising to make sure you’re replenishing your body’s nutrients after your KILLER workouts to keep your energy and your recovery in motion! Don’t forget to include lots of lean protein following your workouts to help your muscles take full advantage of the recovery process.
Tip #3 — Rest Up
From previous blogs, we already know that sleep is a crucial part of your daily routine, so it’s no surprise that sleep is also an important factor for cutting down your food cravings. After a rough night’s sleep, your body will be searching for other sources of energy since you weren’t able to get enough rest. Therefore, you may be hungrier throughout the next day after you’ve stayed up late. Getting enough rest each day, especially after you work out, can help you recharge, so you don’t experience as many food cravings due to a lack of energy.
Tip #4 — Stay Hydrated
Did you know many of the early symptoms of dehydration can mimic your body’s cues for hunger? Staying hydrated is important for many different reasons, but it’s also one of the best ways to fight food cravings because it can often be the cause of your lingering hunger. Sometimes, you may only need a quick drink of water to help you feel satisfied, especially if you know it’s not time for a snack or meal just yet.
Tip #5 — Allow Treats from Time to Time
If you never allow yourself to have the treats you enjoy, it may encourage stronger food cravings and cause binge eating in the future. You don’t want to give yourself too many treats throughout the week, but you also don’t want to force yourself to avoid treats for long enough that you end up overindulging. Let yourself enjoy treats from time to time to prevent those cravings from getting out of control, but make sure you’re careful with your portion sizes. This can help you cut back on things that aren’t good for you without having to give them up completely.
Pro Tip: Use treats as a reward for certain milestones during your fitness journey to help encourage you to keep up the hard work. For example, if you hit a new personal best on the CHOW, then you can enjoy your favorite cookie after dinner one day that week.
Get more incredible tips like these when you become a 9Round member today! All our members get immediate access to the 9Round Nutrition Guide and new recipes created by a certified nutrition coach every month in the online Member Portal. Schedule your free introductory session with the link below to try our KILLER workouts and get more info about becoming a member!