7 Tips To Help You Handle Food Cravings

7 Tips to handle food cravings

It’s not uncommon for me to hear of clients struggling with food cravings. For some it can really dominate their daily lives and seriously hinder their results. For me, the best way to deal with food cravings it to ride the wave and wait until it passes, but for others that doesn’t work. Changing your behaviour and adopting some new techniques could improve the outcome which cravings strike.

As dressage riders its important that we are feeling our best and food has the ability to affect not just our waistline but our mood, sleep and focus. So if your goal is to be riding your best, it makes sense that you want to feel your best also.

Today I wanted to share with you some tips to help get you through cravings and help instead keep you on track and clear about the food you want to be putting into your body. A body will not thrive if it is living off processed junk food. It will thrive however if you fuel it with real whole food.

So next time you get a strike of the cravings, try out some of these techniques.

1. Replace your thought
When you catch yourself thinking about a chocolate covered donut, imagine yourself enjoying one of your favourite activities like surfing, bush walking or going to the movies. A study published in the 2011 journal Appetite found that by replacing the thought of food with an activity you are engaging all your senses. By focusing on the shapes, sounds and colours associated with that particular activity, you may be able to reduce the intensity of your food cravings.

Research published in the Science Daily also found that when participants imagined a rainbow or the smell of eucalyptus during a craving, they experienced a reduced intensity and desire to consume the food.


2. Get walking
A recent study by the University of Exeter found that a short bout of exercise can help reduce chocolate cravings. A brisk 15 minute walk was shown to significantly reduce cravings, particularly during the time of activity. Not only can exercise help you handle your food cravings, it can also reduce ad-lib snacking on chocolate for those with a sweet tooth.


3. Sleep!

Sleep deprivation is a well-known contributor to our food cravings. Studies suggest not getting enough sleep makes us hungrier and causes us to crave more high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods. Getting enough sleep could be one of the simplest things you can do to handle your food cravings.


4. Utilise your sense of smell
It’s amazing to think sniffing a fragrance could stop you from reaching for that chocolate bar, but results from several studies seems to think it can. A 2012 study by Flinders University found that smelling non-food odorants, in particular Jasmine, may help you reduce your food cravings.


5. Surrender to the best cravings
Giving in to the best food cravings, might just be a way to reduce their occurrence according to research by the USDA Agricultural Research Service. During a weight loss study, the people who lost the most weight gave into their cravings for higher caloric foods. Sounds crazy, but by eating a delicious, mud chocolate cake with whipped cream, over a low-fat chocolate bar actually might mean you surrender less often to food cravings.


6. Switch off the TV
It’s no surprise that by sitting in front of the TV you are more likely to eat more than if you were eating mindfully at the table with no distractions. A study of college students by the University of Alberta found that those who watched the most TV were more likely to be overweight than those who watched less. So turning off the TV when you next crave a chocolate snack may just help you ease the temptation.


7. Get chewing
According to researchers at the University of Leeds, chewing gum has the potential to promote fullness and significantly reduce hunger and food cravings. Participants of the study discovered if they chewed gum during the three hours after they ate lunch, they would eat 10 percent less of a snack than if they didn’t chew.

Regardless of the technique you use to eliminate your food cravings, the important thing is to forgive yourself if you succumb to temptation and simply move on from it. Inflicting guilt and shame isn’t going to be productive, nor is it going to help you achieve your goals.  Focus on your wellbeing and make choices around food that make you feel good and help you achieve your goals.


Our dressage rider training program includes meal plans, nutrition advice and over 500 different recipes to help you take your riding to the next level. Improve your energy, focus and performance by taking care of your body as much as you do your horses. Learn more about the program here. 


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