10 Tips to Stop You From Giving into Cravings

Florida is getting fatter.  

In March 2024, the State Department of Health published fairly shocking findings that only 34% of Floridians are at what’s considered a healthy weight. Even more worrying, if the trend continues apace, that number will go down to 30% by the start of the next decade.  

Common-sense thinking dictates that Florida should be a candidate for one of the healthiest states. The climate means outdoor activity is possible year-round. The abundance of top-tier produce on our doorsteps – from the watermelons grown in the sandy soils of Sarasota to almost everyone in Miami who has a yard having a mango tree in it – should mean eating wholesomely is a breeze compared to our northern neighbors.  

However, we are surrounded by food. Far from the fields, we’re bombarded with ads every time we turn on the TV or drive down I-4. And these ads tend to be for the foods we crave. More than 90% of us suffer from food cravings, and the way the brain is wired, it’s going to want a quick fix of sugar, salt, or fat that quietens its dopamine receptors more often than not. In today’s world, the volume has been turned up on ‘food noise’ – the mind’s thoughts about eating, both conscious and subconsciously – to the point it’s grown into a cacophony. How to quieten the cravings? Let’s take a look.  

Stay out of the kitchen

Not because you can’t stand the heat – that’s going to happen in the Sunshine State come what may – but to avoid triggering cravings. The phrase ‘we eat with our eyes’ usually refers to the presentation of a meal in a nice restaurant, but it can also apply to catching a glimpse of a bag of chips in the pantry and wanting to eat them. Out of sight, out of mind. This applies doubly now more of us work from home – if you have the space then try and make your office space somewhere far enough away that it’d be a real disincentive to have to make a schlep.  

 

Avoid getting too hungry

We all know the phrase ‘don’t go to the supermarket on an empty stomach’ lest you come out to find your cart full of junk food. The same applies in a home setting. The hungrier you are, the more pressing the need will be to eat, and the more likely grabbing something quick, easy, and likely less healthy than a properly prepared meal that takes time.  

Consider home delivery

Staying on the subject of supermarkets, do remember they’re engineered to make you hungry, and more suggestible to purchasing more. It takes a strong will to resist a Publix sub when the smell of freshly baked bread permeates your every step. Special offers and BOGO deals encourage us to buy things that wouldn’t necessarily be on our shopping lists. Delivery services mean you can’t be swayed by tempting smells, sounds, and displays.  

Foods that keep you fuller for longer

Food noise can be quietened by feeling satisfied. High fiber and less processed foods will stop stomachs from growling between meals. Simple changes can make a big difference. Swap orange juice out for a delicious Florida orange. Choose plain oatmeal and add berries rather than buying synthetic sugary flavored sachets.  

Dieting helps

For those looking to lose weight, a new breed of weight loss medications has come to market within the last couple of years. Prescription weight loss medication, commonly known as GLP-1’s, include doctor-prescribed medicines like Wegovy and Zepbound that slow the movement of food through the body – literally keeping you physically fuller for longer. They also work with the receptors in the brain that treat food as part of the reward pathway. If you’re looking for a new way to stop food noise, talk to a medical professional. They will provide you all the professional guidance you need to minimize the discomfort while also helping you to stick to your health goals.  

Plan ahead

Beloved of bodybuilders who are looking to count every calorie, meal prep can also help dampen food noise. Do we have to make sure every meal is perfectly balanced and uniform in portion? No. Will being able to take something healthy from the freezer for it to be ready in minutes stop one from being preoccupied with looking ahead to lunch or dinner, taking up valuable headspace? Yes.  

Stay hydrated

This is particularly pertinent in Florida, where temperatures mean it’s easy to get dehydrated. It’s also easy to confuse thirst for hunger as the signals sent to the brain are similar; clinical trials have shown 37% of people can’t tell the difference. If you’re craving a snack, have a glass of water and wait ten minutes. It could be it’s lack of fluid rather than lack of food your body is bemoaning.  

Stay (adequately) warm 

Again, seems a silly thing to think of in the Sunshine State, but the air conditioning that’s ubiquitous in every indoor venue can dry moisture from the body, causing it to dehydrate. Further, nutritionist Dr. Josh Axe has posited that being in air-cooled temperatures for extended periods will have the same effect on the system as a northern winter – the body will crave more food as it attempts to burn calories to heat itself.  

 Get a dog!

Food noise will ramp up when there’s nothing else filling our thoughts – sometimes we’ll eat because we’re bored. Or we’ll eat because we’re stressed. A canine companion means less likelihood of both because we always have someone looking to play or help us exercise by going for a walk. We’re also perhaps less likely to reach for a snack if we know we’re going to be harassed for it as soon as certain ears hear a wrapper rustling! 

 Enjoy your food

Shoveling down a sandwich sitting at a screen may be convenient for work, but sitting down and savoring a properly prepared meal will live longer in the memory and help prevent cravings. And besides, if you’re getting up to have a snack shortly after eating, are you saving any time anyway? 

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Written by Catie Moore

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