Cravings are an inevitable part of the dieting process.
It’s how you respond to these cravings, especially for sugar, that will go a long way to determining what kind of results you achieve.
That’s why it’s important to have strategies ready to curb any cravings and to make sure you don’t succumb to your sweet tooth.
We’ve asked some of our most successful clients at Ultimate Performance to share their best tips for overcoming cravings and staying on track with their body transformation diets…
1. Brush Your Teeth – Jenny
If I was craving sugar at the start of my transformation, the best things I found to do were to brush my teeth, chew some gum or just do something to distract myself like going for a run or reading a book.
When you get angry people say ‘count to 10 before you react.’ Well, it’s the same with sugar, take a few moments to do something different and see if you still want it because you probably don’t.
Read how professional chef Jenny built her lean and athletic physique in 12 weeks
2. Space Out Your Meals Correctly – Arthur
Plan your meals carefully and make sure you’re not going to eat all your calorie allowance for the day in three hours.
I found it best to space my meals out in 3-4-hour gaps. So I’d have a meal in the morning, then another at 12 noon and then have dinner 3-4 hours later.
If you’re going to eat all your day’s meals before lunch, you will be left hungry and craving sugar foods for the rest of the day.
Read how Arthur got shredded in just 12 weeks at Ultimate Performance
3. Find Healthy Substitutions Your Taste Buds Love – Sandra
With food cravings, I’ve found substitutions to be a bit of a blessing.
Things like Greek yoghurts with pecans, Chocotrients (UP’s chocolate-flavoured greens powder), or a little bit of honey. Different flavoured protein shakes help too.
Do whatever you can to sweeten things up when you’re craving something sweet, otherwise you’re just going to end up shoving a packet of chocolate biscuits in your mouth.
4. Chocolate-Flavoured Supplements – Panos
I used to love eating chocolate, sweets and dairy products, like yoghurt and cheese.
With chocolate, the easy solution was having a chocolate-flavoured greens supplement. It gives you the best of both worlds; the right nutrition and the chocolate taste you’re craving.
Overall, it wasn’t that difficult to control my cravings, but I did struggle slightly more on a recent holiday where I was eating out more and surrounded by lovely desserts.
To be honest, I made a few exceptions, but managed to keep it under control. If I had a bit of a treat in one meal, then I’d hold back and wouldn’t have the same kind of bad thing in the next couple of meals.
5. Drink Plenty of Water with a Squeeze of Fresh Lime – Sam
My biggest tip to control cravings is to drink lots of water, especially before your meals which helps to fill you up.
And if the sweet tooth really kicks in, try squeezing some lime or fruit of your choice into your drink.
6. Drink a Cup of Hot Green Tea at Night – Marie-Claire
Cravings can be very strong, but they are only ever temporary.
If I had a huge craving, I would make myself a large pot of herbal tea and found that the different flavours helped to kill any cravings.
7. Keep High Protein Snacks on Hand – Stuart
I will try and have a protein-based snack somewhere nearby to deal with the inevitable hunger pang – either a pack of lean biltong or a spare chicken breast.
I didn’t have enough willpower to keep control when almonds were only an arm’s length away on my desk, so they’ve gone.
8. Nutrient-Dense, Low-Calorie Foods are Key – Aditya
Make smart choices. I realised that eating nutrient-dense foods with less calories would leave me with a buffer to eat the occasional sweet snack (or have white tea, coffee) if I desired.
I also found that eating warm (and spicy) foods rather than cold salads, for example, helped with cravings.
9. Have Your Meals Planned, Prepared and Ready Every Day – Maria
My top tip for keeping on top of cravings is to have your food planned and prepared in advance.
When you haven’t planned, or you’re not sure where or what your next meal is going to be, that’s when you make the wrong decisions.
So, I do things like prepare meals on a Sunday. I’ll prepare all of my breakfasts in one go and I’ve found it makes things a lot easier.
Prepare for the whole day, or even if you haven’t bought it yet, because deciding what you’re eating for the day beforehand makes everything a lot easier.
10. Keep Your Eyes on the End Goal and Result – Gemma
If you are dedicated, if you do want it, and you can see the end result and picture that, half the time the cravings will disappear anyway.
The only thing I feel like I genuinely want is cake. Never have I wanted cake before, nor am I a fan of cake; I just keep craving cake.
But I just think to myself ‘if I were to go out and eat something like this, is it going to make me feel better or make me feel worse?
I might enjoy it, but I will only enjoy it for five minutes.
So, if you can picture your end result and think how you feel after a workout, then there is no food in the world that tastes better than this feeling.