Managing weight

Managing weight

February 21, 2018

How to kill your cravings and save your diet

Image credit: iStock/PeopleImages

One of the hardest things to deal with when you’re dieting is that craving feeling, where you just have to have a bar of chocolate or bag of crisps. Unfortunately, it seems the things we crave are always unhealthy snacks; if you find yourself desperate for a nice stick of celery or an apple, consider yourself lucky!

The truth is that foods high in sugar, fat or both can produce something of an addictive effect in us when we consume them. This means we end up craving them, particularly at the beginning of a diet when our bodies are just getting used to the idea of life without sweet and unhealthy treats.

It can be extremely difficult to deal with a craving, and many of us end up giving into them. Having a single chocolate bar might not seem that bad, but things can easily snowball to the point where you’re back into your bad habits and your diet is ruined.

Luckily, there are more than a few things you can do to tackle your cravings. Here is our rundown of the best ways to reduce your body’s desire for unhealthy food and drink and ride out your urges until they go away:


Drink some water

Some cravings are psychological, but others are a result of your body feeling hungry and sending you an urge for calories. Your mind can easily jump to the idea of eating foods high in sugar and fat as a result, as they are high in the energy that your body is telling you that you need.

However, the urge for calories and the urge for water can feel quite similar. If your body is slightly dehydrated, you might find yourself wanting biscuits and crisps. If you get into the habit of drinking water whenever you feel this way, you might find that the cravings start to disappear.



One of the main psychological causes of cravings is stress. If you’ve heard the expression “comfort food”, you’ll understand this. Eating unhealthy food makes you feel good, so when you’re anxious your body might tell you to reach for the chocolate in order to improve your mood.

However, there are other ways to calm down that are healthier both physically and mentally. Meditation is one option; you don’t have to cross your legs and chant, either. Often, all you need to do is focus on slow, gentle breathing and feel your mind empty. Dealing with stress in this way can remove your body’s need to crave fast food, while helping you deal with stress in the long run.


Vary your diet

Does your version of healthy eating involve the same few meals each day? If so, you could be setting yourself up for a fall. This kind of culinary monotony can cause cravings out of a desire for something different, which can be difficult to break if you stick to the same meal plan.

Make sure you’re eating a wide range of healthy meals. It can be hard if you’re not into cooking, but setting yourself the challenge of preparing something new each night might awaken your inner chef. If not, at least it will help to cut down on cravings by ensuring you have something exciting and new for each meal.


Live a healthier lifestyle

This one might seem a bit counterintuitive. After all, if you’re craving chocolate, surely a salad won’t help? However, small changes in your lifestyle can actually cut down on your desire for unhealthy foods by a surprisingly large amount, as your body will be in a better condition and less prone to mood swings and sudden onsets of appetite.

Getting enough sleep, for example, can be a huge factor in how hungry you feel. Equally, cutting down on caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol can all stabilise your mood and appetite, as can getting regular exercise and fresh air. The healthier you are overall, the easier you will find it to deal with cravings.


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