There are many enemies of dieting success but few are as powerful, or as manipulative, as a raging appetite. For all the good intentions your brain might have, your stomach is only telling you one thing, to eat and to do it now.

So what do you do when you find yourself starving? How do you keep your brain firmly in control of the situation? Here are six simple tips for arguing with your stomach.

Know Why You’re Dieting

Don’t start a diet unless you are fully committed. Don’t start a diet until you know exactly what you are dieting for. Make a list of exactly what it is that you will be losing should you fail to drop those pounds.

Do you want a better body? Do you want to impress somebody of the opposite sex? Do you simply want to fit into your clothes? Make a list and know the stakes. Motivation is a very difficult thing to find when you don’t know what you’re fighting for.

Know That You’ll Succeed

Even if you know exactly why you’re dieting, a belief that you’re going to fail can easily send you heading towards the snack machine. Counteract such thoughts by setting yourself a goal that you know that you can achieve.

For example, decide that you’re going to stick to your diet for exactly one week. Or decide that you are going to lose exactly three pounds. Don’t try to transform yourself overnight. Set small achievable goals. And when you achieve one goal, start over.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

If your stomach is screaming for food, because you haven't eaten breakfast, you are actually better off giving in to the demands. Skipping breakfast is one of the worst mistakes that people can make when it comes to dieting.

Before you eat breakfast, your metabolism isn’t working properly. This means that you’re not burning calories properly. Or in other words, you’re hungry, you’re running on empty, but you’re not actually losing weight in the process. Never skip breakfast.

Drink a Lot of Water

Your stomach might be stubborn but its also easily tricked. One of the easiest ways of tricking your stomach is to drink a lot of water. Not only will doing so keep you hydrated, drink enough of it and your stomach will start to feel full.

Ask Yourself if You’re Really Hungry

It might sound strange but your body sometimes plays tricks with you when it comes to hunger. If you only ate an hour ago but you find yourself fantasizing about a chocolate bar, it isn’t hunger that you’re dealing with, it’s a craving for sugar.

If you can’t tell whether or not you’re genuinely hungry, imagine yourself eating a large plate of your favorite food. If you’re really hungry, that’ll sound great. If you’re just craving something sweet, it won’t.

Cravings are easier to deal with than hunger. Do something productive and they will eventually go away.

Change What it Means to Give In

Regardless of how motivated you are, the occasional slip up is pretty much inevitable. You can however greatly reduce the damage done by such slip ups in two ways.

  • Get rid of the junk food. Stock your home and work environment with healthy snacks. If you’re going to eat something you shouldn’t, make it almonds, not chocolate.
  • Accept the inevitability of such mistakes. Don’t use them as an excuse to eat more. It’s rarely the first snack that undoes a diet, it’s the downward spiral that follows. Accept your mistakes and move on.

Enrique Swift often blogs on health and fitness related topics. He is also an active member of Brentwood TN Dentist association.