Here are seven of the most effective, natural ways to stop cravings and lose weight quickly and easily. The first two steps you can do BEFORE getting out of bed in the morning. It’s that EASY
STEP 1: Who Do You Think You Are
Your very first thoughts on waking are what determine your mood and set the course for the rest of the day. As they say, “if you don’t like the song, change the song” This is your chance to change your song. Even if you feel skeptical about this, just give it a try. Do this EVERY morning for a couple of minutes. It’s an extraordinarily powerful technique when practised over time.
Keep warm, get comfy and close your eyes. Take a few deeps breaths to relax. Then simply visualise eating healthy, nourishing and delicious food throughout the day because it makes you feel good. And really FEEL more energised and full of vitality, and how your clothes fit your slim body. Picture yourself with clearer skin, shinier hair, brighter eyes. Visualise looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing your slim reflection. Now open your eyes, get up and go
STEP 2: Water, Water Everywhere
One of the secrets to natural weight loss is to drink hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice – especially first thing in the morning, half an hour before you eat anything. This helps boost the digestive system, reduces the burden on the liver and kidneys, and reduces lethargy and bloating. Also, by rehydrating the body, you are less likely to store water where you don’t want it – in your wobbly bits
Get in the habit of carrying a small bottle of water everywhere you go and drink it regularly. Water is a natural appetite suppressant and is an ideal way to reduce food cravings. If you drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks such as coffee or strong tea, you will need to drink extra water (a glass for every drink) to counteract their dehydrating effects.
STEP 3: If You Skip, You’ll Yo-Yo
It’s important to have breakfast or at least prepare a healthy snack you can take with you for that mid-morning blood-sugar low. Eat foods that release their energy slowly, like no-sugar muesli or oat porridge (oatmeal) with fresh fruit – plain full-fat yoghurt, unsalted nuts (like almonds and walnuts) and fresh sunflower and pumpkin seeds are good additions. Or have a boiled egg with some wholegrain toast and butter.
If you skip a meal, don’t be surprised if your energy levels start to yo-yo. When you run on empty, even for a short while, your body will have you craving ‘quick-fix’ calories, particularly high-sugar, high-fat snacks that release energy quickly. The self-control to resist binging will be almost impossible.
STEP 4: Soup for the Soul
Soup is one of the best weight-loss weapons to help you eat less without feeling hungry. People who eat a daily serving of soup lose more weight than those who eat the same amount of calories but don’t eat soup. Soup has a high water component. When water is combined with food, it slows the release from the stomach better than if you just drink water with a meal. So it keeps you feeling fuller for longer and can reduce snack cravings later on. The best soup is vegetable soup because the vegetable fibre also helps you feel fuller for longer.
STEP 5: Overcoming “Dem Moody Blues”
If you are feeling tired, bored or moody, your resistance to comfort foods is greatly reduced. You need a strategy in place to boost the ‘happy chemicals’, your endorphins, to keep things under control.
One of the best ways is to get moving Go for a walk, climb up and down the stairs, anything to help release those endorphins. If you work, get out at lunchtime and away from your desk. A walking buddy can help. Walk and talk rather than sit and chat. If you usually travel by public transport, walk to the next bus-stop or station before getting on. If music helps you move to the grove while you clean the house then do it Fun = endorphins. Just keeping active throughout the day can burn off 250 calories – about the same as a jog in the park, without the sweating.
STEP 6: The Snack Fix
It’s not that snacks are bad. Think more ‘snack fix’, than a ‘snack attack’. Healthy snacks help control blood sugar swings and reduce cravings when your blood sugar is low, so you don’t yo-yo. Including a little protein, and even fat, in your snack can slow down the release of sugars (from carbs) into the blood stream, keep you feeling fuller for longer and help to keep your blood sugar more stable.
Snack ideas are: a piece of fresh fruit with a small handful of fresh, unsalted nuts, or fresh sunflower and pumpkin seeds (all have protein and fat). Or a humus (chickpea dip) or bean dip with fresh raw vegetables, such as carrot, cucumber, celery and sweet pepper sticks. Or oatcakes with nut butter or a little cheese.
STEP 7: Sumo Wrestling Your Carbs
Having achieved so much throughout the day, don’t blow it by overeating in the evening, especially carbs (the Sumo diet). Balance your protein, fats and carbs. Takeaway or ready meals – like pasta and sauces, curries with white rice, and pizza – tend to be heavy on the carbs and fats. You can still enjoy the flavour of these meals by making your own versions and rebalancing the ingredients. Use less fat and less salt. Less fat doesn’t mean using low-fat substitutes which will push the balance towards excess carbs. Also use more lean protein, more vegetables and wholegrains. You can also try grilled fish or chicken with vegetable sauces or steamed veg. Go for wholegrains such as brown (or red) rice, or high-protein grains like quinoa.
So for your kickstart to healthy weight loss simply follow this seven-step plan. and your body will take care of the rest.