If you're dieting, you may spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food—what food you need to eat, what food you can’t eat, what food you haven’t eaten in forever. You think about your favorite foods, your least favorite diet foods, the most delicious hamburger you smell across the room. Reducing cravings and the amount of time spent thinking about food can make your diet easier and help you concentrate on more important facets of your life.
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Eat Regular Meals and Snacks
Cravings usually come when you’re hungry, so keeping your stomach full will help keep them at bay. In addition to eating regular meals, keep healthy snacks on hand in your purse, briefcase, desk drawer or even in your car. When you feel a craving come on or just can’t stop thinking about food, at least you’ll have a healthy option at your disposal.
Everyone has different triggers that bring food to mind. Whether it’s walking past that donut stand in the mall or staying up late to watch a movie and wanting some popcorn to go with it, it’s important to recognize and remember the triggers that make you think about food so you can avoid them. Keep yourself out of situations that will make you think about food, such as walking or driving past your favorite fast-food restaurants or going down the cookie aisle at the supermarket.
If your mouth is actively engaged in chewing a stick of sugar-free gum, you’ll be less likely to think about a salty or sugary snack, according to Diet.com. Chewing gum may also release serotonin, which can help with concentration, meaning you can get back to working on that important project for your job rather than wondering what’s in the snack vending machine for you to buy. Keep a pack of gum on hand when you start to think about or crave certain foods.
Take a Nap
Cravings tend to sneak up on you when you’re suffering from a lack of sleep, according to Reader's Digest, so find time for a power nap. Chances are when you wake up, you’ll have something else on your mind and you can get on with your day.
It’s not the end of the world to indulge in the cravings you get, as long as you don’t go overboard. Allowing yourself to have a taste of the favorite foods you love might actually help you think about them less. Just control your portions and be smart about how often you eat them. If you’re craving pizza, stick to one slice rather than having half the pie, for example.