Black Haired Woman Eating CupcakeToday a young girlfriend asked me about how to keep off the cravings for food. I am not a nutrition professional but I did have personal experience on this, and today I regard myself at a relatively healthy place, so I replied with a list of things in my mind.

Food cravings seem to be more associated with women than men, and it seems to often be associated with stress or boredom, or habit. I had the tendency to overeat since I was at middle school. I was like, either no food in my sight, or I will eat them all! Especially food high in carbohydrate and crunchy.

At the same time, I was beginning to be conscious about my body image, I felt I was a bit fat. So there came the struggle, between the cravings and the desire to fight off the fat accumulation in my body.

At one point I decided to be really “disciplined” with my eating and I started taking in little carbohydrate through my meals. I ended up missing my period for 6 months. Lesson learned, up to today I will remember to get ENOUGH nutrition for my body while trying to maintain a fit body weight.

But I would from time to time eat more than I needed, part of the reason due to “stress eating”. When I was stressed (as my life has always been) I felt wanting to bite or chew something. I gave in at early years. During that period although my weight was never off too much, it swung in a range, the heavy point of which I wasn’t happy about.

Good thing is I didn’t stay in the same yo-yo pattern. After repeated effort I feel now at a somewhat balanced and healthy point. And summarized below are tips that worked for me.

1) The most important factor is the willpower, there is no quick and easy fix for anything valuable. I didn’t study many others so I cannot speak on behalf of other situations, but I think for someone like me, who is not overweight but want to be fitter, going for supplements that make you not hungry is not a good choice. The possible side effects, though maybe rare, is a risk not worth taking.

Besides, if you don’t have the will to fend off bad influence on your fitness, you won’t have the will to fend off the bad things in your relationship and other areas, and you will still struggle even if you have a slender/fitter body through the help of supplements.

2) Train yourself to dislike the extra fat that you feel on your body, your craving may still outweigh your discomfort of your image of the fat, but over time the craving will fade. As of today I don’t really have strong craving for anything any more, I crave for a healthy and fit body.

3) Allow yourself to lapse back to the old habit occasionally when you try to overcome it, just remind yourself to “try again” as quickly as you realize it.

4) Use fruits to replace the higher calorie processed food when you feel the urge. Apple cut into small pieces, packaged into several small servings; or blueberries which has extra health benefits, and naturally come in “small portions” … Yet note that fruits still have calories and sugar, so you cannot eat “unlimited”. I once relied on diet coke, artificial sugar products etc. at times I felt urge to eat outside my supposed dining times, but I now regard that as unhealthy thing to do.

5) Drink water when you feel the urge, I know it can feel so bland and hard to swallow at times, but think that it’s actually very good for your skin and body cleansing, I myself need to drink more water.

6) Eat 6 small meals a day instead of 3 major meals.

7) Get yourself busy with different things so you have less time to think about food.

And this worked for me too:
8 ) When you feel you’ve just lapsed or are about to, start blabbing to friends, “I am getting fat, I cannot control myself…” to whoever is not annoyed, after a while the urge will fade somewhat, :) .

I know there are also countless tips out there from others, many will work. For me it’s just important to remember never jeopardize your health when trying to look good on the surface.