The toughest part on your journey to getting ripped abs is often not the brutal workouts that you put yourself through but dealing with the cravings of sweets such as chocolate and other junk food that can single handedly derail your goal. Cravings for food behave very much in the same way any other addictive substance makes someone crave it, although food craving might not be as intense or last as long. Many times cravings will only last 10-20 minutes on average so the actions you take during this brief time window will determine how successful you are on accomplishing your goals. Cravings for snacks loaded with sugar such as chocolate candy bars is often not because your body is hungry but because it craves the sugar and the short boost of energy that comes with it. This is dangerous because it can create a pattern once you crash from the sugar and your body wants to repeat the process causing you to potentially gain fat. Not to fear though this type of cycle can be broken and food cravings can be kept under control with these tips.
1. Stick to a Schedule
Sleep is a major factor in how we go about our day. If you wake up late or don’t get enough sleep you will likely be in a rush and grab some kind of fast food or be too tired to care what you eat. Think about the times you crave food. What is your mind state like? It’s hardly rational is it? A lack of sleep can put you in a more emotional and impulsive mind state that can destroy your diet. By sticking to a regular schedule of sleep you start your day off right and make it that much easier to stay on your plan.
2. Keep Your Goals in Focus
Goals are very tricky to accomplish because it is difficult to keep you mind focused on one thing for a long stretch of time. Unfortunately, getting ripped abs doesn’t happen over night and takes months of discipline and hard work. One way to fight cravings is to own your state of mind. Perhaps by including some token item that symbolizes why you are changing your diet and excluding these unhealthy foods. Switch you thinking from seeing it as depriving yourself of some treat and think of it as freeing yourself from an unwanted habit.
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3. If You Make a Mistake Don’t Compound It
Look, if you had iron discipline then you wouldn’t be searching for tips on how to beat food cravings so chances are that even after this you are probably going to indulge in some sweets or whatever else you enjoy in these moments of temptations. There is definitely a pleasure that can be had by giving in to temptation but when giving in becomes a habit then you have a problem on your hands (and stores of fat on your stomach). If you have a lapse with one meal don’t punish yourself by skipping meals or telling yourself that it’s okay to eat badly for a few days because you’ll start up again next week. You and I both know it’s a lie. What you should do instead is plan out your next 5 to 10 meals after you make a mistake and stick to eating those healthy meals. Stopping food cravings in the long term is about breaking the cycle of poor choices in the short term. Next time you eat badly accept that you made a mistake and steer yourself toward correcting it.
4. Eliminate Temptation from Your Surroundings
If it isn’t in your house then you are unlikely to eat it right? Sometimes a craving can be powerful enough to make you travel to the grocery store but most of the time it is not. Having junk food lying around the house creates a trigger that can make you impulsively snack on foods even when you are not hungry. That one piece of chocolate turns into multiple pieces simply because it is available. If you want to get the upper hand on food cravings then you must get rid of this food from your house or office and replace it with better choices.
5. Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach
Okay so you’ve thrown out all the junk food from your house and now you’re pretty hungry. In the same way seeing food around your house can trigger you to eat poorly, seeing food on an empty stomach at the store can cause you to impulse buy food you may not even want. Go to the grocery store after you have had a satisfying meal and make sure that you have a list of items with you. If you aren’t hungry then you are unlikely to have strong cravings so sticking to the list will be easier and you won’t make a mistake in your diet.
6. Focus on Something Else
Cravings often occur when you aren’t truly hungry rather there is this feeling of want for something specific within your brain. Cravings are generally short in their duration so if you can focus your attention on something else you can usually get through it without much of a problem. I like to focus on something that either requires my full attention to accomplish or engaging in some kind of physical activity such as a walk outside. A change of scenery can do wonders for your mood and put those cravings out of your mind.
7. Cut Your Stress
Stress can make you feel that your life is out of control and feel like the only thing you have control over is what you eat. However, stress also makes us seek some sort of comfort and all too often that comfort comes in the form of junk food which actually means if you want to stick to eating healthy you’ve lost control of what you eat as well. Stress will induce feelings of anger and frustration that can trick you into saying that you don’t care about eating well and just eat whatever foods made you put on fat in the first place. This isn’t an article about coping with stress so you’ll have to figure out how to deal with it on your own terms but it is not something that you should ignore for both your fitness goals and your general well being.
Food cravings can be a tough obstacle to overcome for many people seeking to lose fat in order to get ripped abs but these cravings can be overcome. Recognize that you will have cravings and learn when they happen and try to plan out how you will address them when they occur. Remember that one day your motivation will be sky high and then the next day you’ll completely forget why you had a goal in the first place. The secret to success is consistency and making the small improvements that add up to a big change in how you live your life and shape your body. Learning to deal with cravings is just one more step but once you have them under control everything else becomes that much easier.