Hey Angels and Alphas,
The way you treat your body—and the food that you put into it—has the power to make or break your fitness goals.
This can be especially true if you’re new to working out and dieting, but even those who have been at it for years tend to find that every so often, their eating habits get out of hand and wreak havoc on their diets. If this sounds like you, don’t despair!
Here are five tips to improving your relationship with food and keeping those cravings under control so that you can achieve your fitness goals.
1) Go For Variety
When it comes to food, we often crave what we eat the most of. If you find yourself eating the same things day in and day out, mix it up! Add some variety to your diet by incorporating new fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Not only will this help reduce cravings, but you’ll also get the nutritional benefits that come with eating a variety of foods. For example, if you want to cut down on your salt intake, add more leafy greens or cruciferous veggies like broccoli or cauliflower. These not only provide flavor, but they’re low in sodium as well.
2) Don’t Look at Junk Food Pictures
Studies have shown that looking at pictures of junk food can actually increase cravings for those foods.
If you’re trying to reduce your cravings, or establish a healthier relationship with food, one of the best things you can do is avoid looking at pictures of unhealthy foods altogether. Especially if you’re following all those “foodie” accounts on Instagram, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
You’ll find yourself craving the most delicious forms of all the foods you see online – and these delicious forms usually contain the most salt and sugar. Not to mention, junk food pictures are often enhanced to make them more appetizing. Do yourself a favor and unfollow all the food accounts you follow (except those featuring healthy recipes.)
3) Plan Ahead
One of the best ways to improve your relationship with food is to plan ahead. By taking the time to meal prep or cook in advance, you can take the guesswork out of what you’re going to eat and avoid making unhealthy impulsive decisions.
If you have all your meals scheduled out for the week, it’s going to be easier for you to answer the age-old question “what do I want to eat?” that usually leads to suboptimal choices.
4) Stay Busy
It’s easy to turn to food when we’re bored, but finding other ways to occupy yourself can help reduce cravings.
Try reading, taking a walk, or calling a friend when you start feeling the urge to snack. Not to mention, taking a walk has been associated with reduced cravings for sugar and fat. And on top of that, you’ll actually be burning some extra calories.
Another way to avoid mindless snacking is by thinking about what you eat before going in for it. If it’s not something healthy or fulfilling, put it back! Sometimes willpower fails us and we end up eating something bad because our emotions get the best of us. If this happens to you, think about how it will make you feel afterward rather than during your momentary lapse in judgement!
5) Tune in to Your Cravings
Cravings are a normal part of life, but they can also be a sign that something is off balance. If you’re constantly battling cravings, it’s important to take a step back and assess your relationship with food.
Are you eating when you’re truly hungry, or are you using food as a crutch?
Once you identify the root of the problem, you can start to make changes. By tuning into your own cravings, you’ll start to identify patterns that will naturally lead you to find the trigger that causes you to crave certain foods. From then on, it’s cake. (No pun intended.)