From The Straits Times    |

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We’ve all had them. Cravings strike fast and hard and before you know it, you’ve downed handfuls of potato chips or half a dozen chocolate chip cookies. Not the best reaction for weight loss. But contrary to popular belief, you can control your food cravings. Try these tips, and you’ll begin giving in less often when those cravings hit.

1. Pressure
The next time you find yourself desperate for a bar of chocolate, try gently massaging the acupressure ‘appetite control’ point beneath your earlobe, where the sin of your ear is connected to your jaw. Doing this for several minutes actually reduces hunger and appetite, say reflexologists. 

2. Get moving
During a workout blood flows to your muscles and away from your digestive system, minimising appetite in the process,” say specialists. Work out at a high intensity so that the hunger hormone, ghrelin is suppressed. Always have a healthy post-workout snack with you so that there’s no chance that you’ll cave in and binge later. 

3. Minty toothpaste
If you’re at work and the vending machine is beckoning, brush your teeth. It’s highly effective at curtailing cravings. As anything you eat or drink after brushing your teeth with mint toothpaste, tastes awful. Study also shows that peppermint quells hunger pangs. 

4. Ginger
Ginger tea helps diminish cravings for sweet stuff, according to Dr Deepak Chopra, author of What Are You Hungry For? It’s a cleansing drink that removes toxins, restores balance to the body and improves digestion, leaving you less likely to crave unhealthy food. Make tea with fresh ginger and drink two to three cups a day, advised Dr Chopra. 

For more foods that are good for you, here are 5 to help you look bride beautiful

5. Breathe
The next time you’re tempted by the pastries or cakes, try this yoga breathing technique. Sit up and place one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Breathe into your belly then up into your chest. Now breathe in for four counts and out four, three times. Then in for four counts and out for six, three times, and finally in for four counts and out for eight, three times. 

6. Control
Use the S-T-O-P technique – stop what you are doing and take a one-minute breathing break. If you’re hungry eat 10 almonds or a slice of brown bread. If you’re not, ask yourself if your hunger is being triggered by something else, such as feeling bored. Identify the trigger and then decide if you really need to eat. 

7. Om
Yoga poses stimulate the areas that produce endorphins. Lie on your back, hug your legs into your body and rock from side to side. Then rest on your back and breath in as you open your arms out. Exhale slowly and keep your legs bent, roll your legs to the left. Take five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

8. Imagine
Zana Morris, co-author of The High Fat Diet, recommends using visualisation techniques to control your cravings. Imagine yourself as the slim, healthy person you’ll be if you resist your craving or stick a photo of yourself at your healthiest weight on your fridge door. 

9. Toughen it out
Step away from the chocolate and get surfing. Cravings are like waves, they build up and ebb away, rarely lasting long, which is why an effective way to deal with them is to ride them out. The more often you successfully ride the craving, the weaker the link will become between whatever triggered it and the craving itself.

10. Plan
Stick to a schedule. Aim to eat only at set meal and snack times – about every four hours – to help prevent mindless grazing. 

11. Distraction 
Engaging in activities that keep your hands busy is particularly helpful in controlling your food cravings and aiding your weight loss. Some ideas: writing a letter, doing chores around the house, calling a friend, brushing your teeth, taking a bath, or taking a walk with your dog in the park.

12. Nap
Cravings sneak up when we’re tired. Focus on the fatigue: Shut the door, close your eyes, re-energise. 

See also, 7 great tips for losing weight for your wedding

This story first appeared on The Singapore Women’s Weekly