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How to Stop Food Cravings with Mindful Eating

how-tos mindful eating Dec 17, 2020

How to stop food cravings is one of the most common questions I get asked as a nutrition coach. Whether I have a client that is looking to control their eating habits or lose weight, food cravings are often one of the biggest obstacles they face when it comes to achieving their goals.

While avoiding certain foods might work in the short-term, the long-term strategy that I have seen that has worked well with my clients is mindful eating.

Mindful eating is a tool that can help you become more aware of your hunger and more intentional about your food choices so that you can feel more in control. Research has shown that mindful eating is the most effective strategy for increasing awareness of hunger which has resulted in a positive shift in food habits and a reduction in the number of foods consumed. [1]

I will admit that mindful eating takes practice which is why when I work with clients one-on-one we work together to create a personalized mindful eating plan that fits your unique goals and food preferences. 

In the four years that I've been working with clients, I found a few techniques that have been effective no matter where you are starting on your journey and that's what I'm excited to share with you today. In this post, I'm giving you five simple and effective mindful eating tips that you can easily implement to stop food cravings! 

5 Simple Mindful Eating Tips to Help You Stop Food Cravings

1. Take Time to Eat Regular Meals

One of the reasons that we find ourselves craving food is because we're not taking the time to eat regular meals. The problem with skipping meals or going a long time without eating is that it can cause your body to crave food more. 

Even when following dieting protocols, such as Intermittent Fasting, where you eat within a shortened eating window, it is still vital to eat regular meals. 

When you eat regular meals you're giving your body the nutrients that it needs not only to thrive but to conquer food cravings. So the more regular, well-balanced meals that you eat, the better. 

2. Minimize Distractions When Eating

Minimizing distractions when you're eating is an essential step you can take to conquer your food cravings. As many of us have begun working and spending a lot more time at home, you might have noticed that you're eating more of your meals distracted.

From eating breakfast on your commute from your kitchen to your desk to enjoying some late-night snacks while you're binge-watching Netflix, it has become more important than ever to be present with our food. 

When you're more present you can better identify when you're eating because you're hungry or when you're craving something out of boredom. It's a small shift that can make a huge difference in your eating habits. 

3. Enjoy the Experience of Eating

Giving yourself the opportunity to enjoy the experience of eating will help you be more intentional about your food choices. In the fast-paced world that we live in it's easy to treat eating as a race we need to win rather than an experience we get to enjoy. 

It doesn't matter if you're enjoying a dinner out with friends, or a meal home alone, eating can be an enjoyable experience. When you implement the practice of mindful eating into your lifestyle you can even indulge your cravings without overeating. 

The key thing is allowing yourself to be present with your food so that you're able to learn how to satisfy your cravings in a healthy way. This will give you not only the confidence to control your food choices but the freedom to enjoy food again. 

4. Take a Break Between Bites 

Getting into the habit of setting the fork down and taking breaks between bites is a great way to prevent our cravings from taking control. When you're building the habit of mindful eating one of the best things that you can do is to chew your food. 

By chewing your food I mean to take small and intentional bites, allowing the food to settle on your tongue for longer than you normally would. This allows your senses to notice the flavor, texture, and taste. 

When you take that break between bites you're increasing the probability that you will be more in tune with your hunger and fullness. That is an essential step in taking back control of your cravings. 

5. Eat to Satisfy Your Hunger

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself when you're experiencing a food craving is am I eating to satisfy my hunger or my cravings? It's a question that makes all the difference in whether you're going to be ruled by your cravings or fueled by your food choices. 

This doesn't necessarily mean that everything that you eat is always going to be "healthy," well-balanced meals. You might choose to indulge in a donut or fill your plate at the holiday party. 

The difference is that when you're aware of the reasons that you're eating you can make the decision to stop satisfying your cravings. This is a habit that does take practice and is one that you will get better at the more you do it. 

Source

  1. Warren, J., Smith, N. & Ashwell, M. (2017). A structured literature review on the role of mindfulness, mindful eating, and intuitive eating in changing eating behaviours: effectiveness and associated potential mechanisms. Nutrition Research Reviews. 30. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954422417000154.

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Join me on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 at 3:00 PM EDT to learn my simple, yet effective 3-step gut-heating method to beat cravings and boost your energy!

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