7 Tips to End Food Cravings
This is about the time we start looking ahead to summer and shedding our winter clothing. So we hit the gym and try to drop a few pounds. Before long, those foods we hate to love come calling. Cravings are normal, but there are ways to manage them and avoid hunger. New York nutritionist Elizabeth DeRobertis, founder of Westchester Nutrition Consultants and co-founder of HungerShield, shares her secrets:
1. Don’t do a daily weigh-in. “While many diets suggest keeping detailed records of what you eat and how much you weigh on a daily basis, such an obsessive approach can in fact be detrimental to your weight loss goals,” says DeRobertis. Try weighing yourself weekly to get the bigger picture without factors such as water retention discouraging you.
2. “Destroy Your Plate.” When you feel satisfied and have had enough to eat, sabotage your desire to eat! Pour salt or pepper on the food that remains, or place a napkin over your plate to symbolize the end of the meal. You’ll be less likely to continue eating, and you’ll save all of those calories. “This is especially helpful to avoid overeating in restaurants,” DeRobertis says.
3. Choose the right plate color and size. According to DeRobertis, studies show that blue plates can decrease appetite, while red and gold plates can trigger hunger. Size matters, too; taking a salad-sized plate can help you eat smaller portions because your meal looks more substantial by comparison. This is very effective when you’re at a buffet.
4. Drink water before each meal. Two eight-ounce glasses of water before eating has been shown to help people lose weight. “The water makes your stomach feel fuller, thus suppressing your hunger as well as your overall caloric intake,” DeRobertis explains. “Space out your water consumption throughout the day so that your body is able to get rid of excess water weight.” She says that drinking water also helps to keep the weight off after you’ve reached your goal.
5. Eat slowly. Pacing yourself during a meal affords your brain the 20 minutes it needs to process your full feeling. “There are actually studies that show the more people chew their food, the better their weight profile,” DeRobertis reports. “In a recent study, those at an ideal weight chewed their food almost 40 times before swallowing, while those at a higher weight chewed fewer than ten times before swallowing.” If you eat before you get super hungry, it will be easier to eat slowly. That’s one reason that nutritionists tend to recommend small, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day.
6. Move! Build in little ways to stay active throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the subway one or two stops early, run and play with your dog or take a walk outside if you have a hole in your schedule. Just doing some jumping jacks in the back room can make a difference!
7. Opt for whole foods and less sugar. “Choosing lean-and-green meals complete with lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish and pork, and lots of vegetables, is a great way to have a larger portion with fewer calories,” says DeRobertis. “Opt for snacks without added sugar—fruits, vegetables, nonfat Greek yogurt, 100-calorie packs of nuts, 1 percent cottage cheese, nut-based snack bars and low-fat string cheese.”
To keep your taste buds interested in food that’s good for you, check out more than 70 recipes City of Hope offers incorporating identified “superfoods” that may help to prevent cancer.