We won't sugarcoat it: Willpower is definitely a prerequisite if you're aiming to shed a few pounds—or, you know, if it's 4 p.m., you've hit a wall at work, and the dark chocolate in your purse is all but shrieking your name. But while having a steely resolve is definitely immensely helpful in keeping hunger pangs at bay, it also doesn't have to be the end-all, be-all. On the contrary, there are many effective strategies for stopping cravings in their tracks—and many of them happen to be backed by science.
For example, did you know just smelling a certain fruit can suppress your hunger hormone? Or that a chemical found in one of your favorite snacks can keep you satiated for hours on end? We did the research so you don't have to—now bolster your sheer determination with any of these tips to quell that hanger once and for all.
Keep reading for seven highly effective ways to curb cravings.
Forget just eating grapefruit for a slimmer waistline—studies show that just getting a whiff of the fruit can help stop hunger pangs before they even begin.
Citrus not your thing? The fragrance of vanilla will do the trick too—especially if you're craving something sweet, interestingly enough. During a 2009 experiment, doctors asked test subjects to wear a patch that released the scent of vanilla—and found that their intake of chocolate and other treats decreased by half. (The participants lost an average of four-and-a-half pounds over four weeks from this study alone.)
Think that a hardcore sweat sesh will just make you ravenous? It turns out the opposite is true. A March study showed that exercising is effective in regulating the hunger hormone ghrelin—unlike food restriction, which just sends it into overdrive.
Yet another one of matcha's innumerable benefits: The green tea powder contains a chemical component that has been shown to suppress the appetite and thus aid with weight loss.
Indulging that guacamole craving now could help prevent others from surfacing later. Avocados contain a high concentration of a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which can keep hunger at bay for hours.
Because stress is often the culprit behind snacking (from a chemical standpoint, our anxiety and hunger hormones are closely related), research shows that finding ways to unwind—especially through methods like meditation—is a highly effective way to banish cravings.
What's your go-to method for calming cravings? Call it out in the comments below!