Cravings — those intense desires to eat a particular food. Cravings can sure throw off the best made plans to eat right and stay on track ~ especially during the holiday season when sweets and treats seem to be everywhere.
So what can you do when one hits?
I have have a plan of attack that I have found to help me successfully fight a craving and win.
BUT….before I do, I need to tell you something.
It is never just ONE indulgence that causes weight gain. NOPE – in fact it is more than two. It is actually the choices made day in and day out that cause weight gain.
You see part of the secret to overcoming cravings is to simply, keep them in check.
It’s not some all out battle of willpower or ridiculously restrictive diet plan.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but accepting your cravings, rather than trying to fight them, is one of the most effective methods for changing your response to food.
The 2nd most effective approach is to check your current eating habits. If you are eating supportively about 75% of the time then giving in to a craving here and there is NOT going to cause weight gain.
If however, you are having cravings daily – even multiple times a day, then this is a sign that your nutrition plan needs some tweaking. If this is the case – then the craving strategies that I share will not help you.
Often times, the reason we have frequent cravings is simply due to the fact that our bodies are STARVED – starved in that we are not eating enough or starved in that there is little to no nutritional value in the processed foods you are eating.
It’s okay if this is you – I was here once too.
You can begin to manage and take control by keeping a food journal. This will allow you to be better prepared for when a craving does hit…and yes no one is immune.
This is what I do.
My “How to Fight a Craving and Win” plan!
1. Ask What
I will first ask myself WHAT this craving is.
Is this a salty, sweet, fatty or crunch & munch type of craving?
The best plan of attack is to be aware – confront - identify.
2. Ask Why
I then ask WHY I have this craving.
I go through a quick checklist…
- have I eaten supportively up to this point?
– is this true hunger or am I just bored?
– am I PMS-ing?
– am I stressed?
– am I feeling overly emotional about something that happened?
– am I fatigued – lack of sleep?
– am I dehydrated?
3. Make A Choice
This is where you exert your control and Yep, I decide to NOT indulge.
Maybe it is because I am planning on working out later and I refuse to feel like crap OR maybe I remind myself that I WILL be having that Decadent piece of Godiva Cheescake in 2 more days, and I prefer not to blow my opportunity to indulge guilt free later on an urge now – I would like to wait and truly enjoy it.
Did you Know…
If you have a sugar craving and think you found a way around it by choosing a “sugar free” version of this food – think again. When you eat a sugar substitute like Sucralose or Aspartame, you are deceiving your body. You give it something sweet and when it realizes that it wasn’t the real thing you end up craving sugar just as much or more.
4. C Ya!
This is where I LEAVE the scene of the Craving. With me I take a bottle of water and I go and do something different. In about 15-20 minutes….it is GONE!
3 points in this one….
- Find something else to think about. Take a walk, listen to your favorite playlist, call a friend. Just set your mind to something else.
- When your body is dehydrated, you can mistake thirst for hunger. Drinking water can also make you feel temporarily full, thus reducing hunger pangs and cravings.
- You’re most susceptible to your brain’s demands during the 20 minutes after a stressful episode—the amount of time it takes for serotonin to bounce back and stress hormones to fall. If you can resist a temptation for just that long, the urge will likely fade.
Try it out! Stick to the order of steps as outlined above and see what a difference it makes.
Finally, be forgiving. If you don’t have 100% success right away and you need to progress over time, that’s fine. Just make the next best choice and get back on track.
What Do You Crave?
Cravings photo courtesy of http://www.hahealthnews.com