Cutting out trigger foods that make us overeat is hard even with a good plan. You have a much higher chance of success if your overall lifestyle is in a good place. Let’s look at the five most important habits you should develop to be more resilient to cravings and temptation of your trigger foods.
Be ready to relapse
It’s very common to relapse, especially if your addiction was strong. And it is ok. Every time you relapse, think of it as a lesson. Be kind to yourself and remember that you’re still adjusting to a new way of eating. Go back to your pros and cons list and get back on track. But going forward, try to improve one or two of the following lifestyle habits. If you do, you will greatly reduce the chances of another relapse.
You probably know that sleep is important but did you know that lack of sleep also plays a big role in junk food cravings? A recent study showed that sleep restriction resulted in more hunger and less ability to control intake of palatable snacks. Make an effort to be in bed at least 8 hours before your morning alarm clock rings, it will pay huge dividends in your fight against food addiction.
All of your meals should be nutritious but the most important one to improve is your breakfast. Studies have shown that a breakfast rich in protein, such as eggs, nuts, or seeds, helps people lose weight, minimize cravings and burn calories. So, start your day with a couple of eggs every day and watch the cravings diminish.
The worst thing for food addiction is when cravings are combined with feelings of hunger. One thing that can make you feel really hungry is low blood sugar. A good way to stabilize blood sugar is to avoid quick sugar in your diet. If you just manage to drink plain water or tea instead of soda and fruit juices, you will go a long way towards stable blood sugar, hunger, and intensified cravings.
Manage your stress
When you’re stressed your stress hormone cortisol rises, which stimulates feelings of hunger and we know that’s no good for food addiction. Plus, when you’re upset you’re more likely to reach for junk food instead of something healthy because it brings you comfort and helps you de-stress. The key here is to find other ways to get rid of stress that don’t involve food.
• Taking a walk outdoors
• Talking to friends or family
• Doing a short exercise (10-20 min.)
• Going to a sauna
• Taking a few deep breaths
• Listening or playing music
• Playing with pets
These are just a few examples – you can find your own. The most important thing is to include these things regularly even if you don’t feel stressed. They help you become more resilient to stress in general and by extension also to food cravings.