Satisfying cravings while dieting

by Lisa Houghton

Losing weight should be easy. After all, whether it's ten pounds or one hundred, the formula remains the same. Eat less and move around more. That's all there is to it. If you're eating less than your body is using up, then you will burn off the surplus and lose weight. However, anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight knows that, in reality, it's not that straightforward. Eating less doesn't just mean reducing volume; it means making healthy choices and stripping out many tasty foods. This can lead to cravings, which can cause even the most determined dieter to fall off the wagon. Fortunately, there are ways to combat these cravings and  natural dietary replacements  that can make the job of losing weight a little easier (and sweeter).

Do you really need that sugar?

Often, you'll find yourself craving a particular food item or group. This is especially true when you cut something out of your diet completely. Maybe you've decided to ditch cake, desserts and cookies to reduce your sugar intake. While this is a great idea, maybe a part of your brain doesn't agree! It's not uncommon to start craving the sugar you've denied yourself; even to the point where you're actually convinced you need to eat that donut. While you think satisfying your craving is doing your body good and giving it something it needs, medical professionals disagree; instead putting those sugar cravings down to tiredness and stress , which can happen if you cut out too many calories, or because you need an energy boost. It's understandable that you'll occasionally succumb to one of these cravings, but it's important to know what's causing them and finding solutions that make you feel satisfied while still sticking to a good weight loss program and avoiding common weight loss myths .

Satisfying cravings the health-conscious way

Giving in to a sugar craving doesn't have to mean making an unhealthy dietary choice. For example, if you find yourself reaching for the cookie jar, why not look for a natural way of bringing some sweetness back into your life that doesn't involve sugar. A great option is to mix yourself a  fruit or vegetable smoothie  with a dash of calorie-free Fructevia or Steviva Blend. This way, you can get a hint of sweetness but also know you've made a healthy choice. Once you know what fruit and vegetable blends you like, you can make some in advance so you have a tasty treat in the fridge for when you get home from work, or any time you're prone to snacking. Adding additional ingredients, such as oats and flax seed can up the protein content while also increasing satiety; meaning that cookie jar can stay on the shelf unopened! If you're at a point where a smoothie just won't do, think about adapting some of your favorite recipes to include Steviva instead of sugar. For example, whip up a batch of low-carb  cinnamon raisin muffins  each week and keep them around to satisfy those sweet cravings.

The main thing is to always be aware of what you're eating. It may be impractical to count every calorie, but you should consult labels, or use an  online calorie counter  to ensure you have a pretty good idea of what the foods you select contain, in terms of saturated fat, sugars and calories per serving. This is especially important with sugar, as it is 'hidden' in many foods, such as breakfast cereal. Once you're armed with this knowledge, you'll find it's easy to make the right choices and start the process of losing those unwanted pounds.

Never be hungry

One key piece of advice to remember when looking to lose weight is not to starve yourself. It may seem to make sense that the less you eat, the more weight you'll lose, but this is only true in the short-term. Over time, your appetite and cravings are likely to increase because your body will demand more calories. You will probably hold on to these energy stores, as your body will want reserves in case it finds itself in 'starvation mode' again. This makes losing weight even harder over the long term. You will also be more likely to fail, as the more you deprive yourself, the more chance you'll have of giving in to temptations in a big way. Cutting too much out of your diet can also lead to headaches, lack of concentration and zero energy, as well as some other unpleasant and  potentially dangerous side effects . While you may lose some pounds, you don't want it to be at the expense of your quality of life or, more importantly, your health.

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