I'm certainly no stranger to the occasional urge to rip open a chocolate bar, go through the drive-thru window, or dive into a bag of my favorite chips -- and I'll bet you aren't a stranger to this either. The occasional indulgence isn't anything to be alarmed about, but if you find yourself licking the remnants of these indulgences off your fingers on a more regular basis, you’ll need to practice some control to get in charge of those cravings. The goal here is to be in charge of your cravings, not have them be in charge of you.
Here’s how to handle these cravings and get back in the saddle for your healthy routine.
Get to the root of your cravings
Take note of when you’re going for these foods. Is it boredom? Did you have a horrible day at work? Is it that time of the month? All of these things can be a trigger for your cravings. Try to be mindful of them once you identify them. Next time the craving comes around, stop and evaluate your surroundings, noticing what may be triggering this craving. Restrain yourself 80% of the time and enjoy the things you crave 20% of the time. Eating healthy the majority of the time will lower your cravings drastically, anyway.
Try to eat more often
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you eat more often, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel. Pack a healthy snack to enjoy mid-morning and another to have mid-afternoon. By doing so, you’ll feel fuller longer and be less likely to head to the office vending machine.
Slow down when eating
Mindful eating is the best way to keep from overeating, whether you’re eating a nutritious meal or splurging. Your brain doesn’t get the message that your stomach is full for about 20 minutes. Therefore, slowly chew your food. Savor the flavors. You’ll find you won’t need to eat your entire portion, nor will you feel like you have room for dessert.
Do something else
Cravings never last forever. Eventually, you’ll forget about your craving if you distract yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, message your friends, put up the laundry or involve yourself with anything else that you can think of. Before you know it, you’ll have forgotten about that nagging craving.
If you really can’t help munching while you are watching a movie, swap out unhealthy options for healthier ones. Choose crispy carrot and celery sticks with hummus or a small serving of mixed nuts. Want something cool, sweet and refreshing? Freeze melon balls to get an ice cream-like experience without the guilt.
Keep your food cravings out of the house
You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind,” right? It’s so true when it comes to food cravings. As much as possible, keep these things out of your home. If you get late-night cravings, you won’t have those things around to binge on, and you’ll be less likely to go out of your way to get them.
Cravings will come and go, but when you're armed with solutions to combat them, you're putting yourself in the position to control the cravings, rather than being controlled by them.
So let's get honest here, the biggest cravings I get are for carbs. I notice it especially if I'm alone and feeling down. Talk about emotional eating!!
What cravings do you get? Be honest now. Share if you like or contact me and we can discuss in person and look at ways to figure out the 'why' and how to work around them.
Don't forget to head over to my facebook group Transform Your Health with Wendy to hang out with a bunch of people who feel and think like you.
Wendy Humphris, ROHP
I’m a holistic nutritionist and I transform health for a living.