From eating small meals throughout the day, to consuming healthy unsaturated fats, these four tips will help you fight food cravings and keep your diet (and weight) on track.
Know Your Triggers
Stressed? Bored? Sad? If you're eating clean all day but then get hit with unexpected stress or emotion, those cravings could come creeping. If you find this is happening regularly, it's time to jot that information down in your food journal or planner.
Try this: Knowing your triggers will arm you with the best defense — carry clean snacks or see the next item on our list for another good way to ward off mindless snacking.
Watch Your Saturated Fats
Going out for a round of food high in saturated fats (think pizza and chicken wings) can actually leave you wanting more for up to three days after your food fest, according to a study from UT Southwestern Medical Center. Researchers say the fatty food hits your brain with fatty acids and prevents the hunger-regulating hormones - leptin and insulin - from signaling you to stop chowing down.
Try this: The good news is that the same study points out that healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, don't have the same waistline-damaging effects, which leaves your options wide open for a whole-wheat crust pizza with fresh vegetables and olive oil or chicken breast strips sauteed in a tablespoon of the good golden stuff.
Work It Out
Sometimes those cravings are just a reaction to anxiety or boredom, which means that getting creative could be your ticket out of cravingsville. The key is to distract yourself with healthy alternatives - not the kind that will leave you with regrets when its time to sling on the two-piece this summer.
Try this: Get in a workout, take a walk or test-drive a new dance-cardio class for the first time. Turn your craving into a reminder that it's time to switch gears and start something new.
Be Hungry No More
Not eating regularly throughout the day will cause your body to fall into starvation mode and you'll crave carbs — usually nutrient-void refined carbs, such as white pasta and bread - so nip that craving in the bud before it strikes by not letting yourself go hungry.
Try this: It's the Oxygen lifestyle mantra: Eat five to six small meals of protein and complex carbs every two to three hours. This will keep you satisfied so when a craving does arise (and that double-layer chocolate cake in the bakery window is calling your name) you'll know that it's all in your head because your body is fully fueled.