Research suggests junk food is addictive. Here are five unusual ways to beat your cravings.
If you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, food cravings are most likely your worst enemy. These intense, uncontrollable desires may end up leading you straight to the snack bar. Unfortunately, most of the foods we crave aren’t good for us. They’re usually highly processed and dripping in fat, sugar and salt.
Cravings are one of the main reasons we have trouble losing weight and keeping it off.
While we’re constantly bombarded with tips on how to control our cravings, here are five unusual ways to stop your junk food addiction—things you’ve probably never considered before.
Check out our bonus tip!
#1 A Gut Feeling
If you’ve found yourself wondering why you can’t seem to get a handle on your cravings, it might be due to the bacteria in your gut. Your gut contains 10 trillion bacteria that send messages to one another and to your brain. Because the belly and brain are intertwined, the stomach is referred to as the “second brain.” According to research, if there are imbalances in your gut’s bacteria, your stomach will signal your brain to increase your food cravings.
To even out the battlefield between good and bad bacteria, start taking a probiotic. Also, add fermented foods to your diet. Fermented foods are rich in gut-friendly probiotics and have been associated with improved digestion and a strengthened immune system. Add pickles, kimchi, kombucha and yogurt to your diet to improve your gut health and halt your cravings.
#2 Put the Pedal to the Metal
Are you addicted to chocolate? If your hand’s been caught in the brownie bowl more than you’d like, don’t beat yourself up about it. Science suggests your chocolate cravings could be due to a magnesium deficiency.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to solve this. Combat your Hershey bar addiction by upping your intake of leafy green vegetables. Make a beautiful spinach salad with all of your favorites—tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers and feta cheese—and serve it with your next dinner. And when it comes time for dessert, skip the chocolate and opt for a healthier alternative. In the Gymondo app, you’ll find 100s of guilt-free and delicious desserts, including some dark chocolate recipes that will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.
#3 A Walk in the Park
If you’re like most of us right now, we’re in arm’s reach of the snack drawer 24-7. Guess what? You need to get out more! Research claims a 15-minute walk is enough to curb your food cravings by up to 50%. So, the next time you catch yourself eyeing that sleeve of cookies, take a deep breath, grab your trainers and head out the door. Take a short walk around your neighborhood before heading straight to the fruit bowl—willpower in check!
#4 The Sweet Smell of Success
Have you found yourself heading straight to the pizza stand after a late night out? Maybe it’s time you start dousing yourself in jasmine. A recent study found the smell of jasmine lessens your food cravings by up to 13%. Spray liberally and hope the smell staves off your late-night greasy spoon cravings!
#5 Chew the Fat
The next time you’re craving a slice of pie, pop in a stick of gum and chew away the fat. Research points to gum chewing as a way to diminish food cravings and promote fullness. Chewing gum for just 15 minutes cuts snacking and decreases your food cravings. But don’t grab for Hubba Bubba. Researchers suggest mint-flavored gum will cleanse your palate and switch off your desire for sweet and salty foods.
Bonus Tip: Don’t Grocery Shop on an Empty Stomach
Have you ever found yourself heading to the grocery store on an empty stomach? I’m willing to bet you grabbed whatever was in sight. It’s no surprise that grocery stores are the worst place to be when you’re hungry.
First off, grocery stores are like a gateway drug, giving you easy access to any and all food you can imagine, including all that junk! Secondly, grocery stores place the unhealthiest of foods at eye level, making it ultra-hard to resist the temptation to go nuts.
The best way to prevent food cravings is to go in with a full belly. Only head to the supermarket after you’ve eaten a nutrient-dense meal and stick to the outer aisles, where you’ll find all the good stuff—leafy greens and veggies. Try not to get lured down the chips, dips and sweets aisle.
Cravings are immune to no one. In fact, most of us experience intense cravings on a regular basis. Not only do they play a major role in weight gain, they also increase the likelihood of binge eating and food addiction.
Be aware of what triggers your food cravings and focus on eating healthy. For more tips, read up on more ways to combat your junk food addiction. Cheers to taking charge of your food cravings and staying in control of how you fuel your engine.