Here are a few helpful reminders that will assist you when it seems like you’re under a cheesecake trance.
Craving Fix #1: Pinpoint your craving.
If it’s not a specific food or treat that you’re craving, take a few deep breaths and sit down to really think about what it is you want. Try to put your finger on exactly what you’re yearning for and find the healthiest option to satisfy just that. For example, if you’re craving chocolate, you don’t have to down a pound size bag of Hershey’s Kisses. Take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of green tea and perhaps couple that with a ½ ounce portion of 70% dark chocolate. Embrace the craving and honor it with a conscious indulgence. Don’t eat around a craving. For example, you’re craving chocolate and you go for sliced cucumbers because they are low calorie. Then, not being satisfied, you grab an apple. Then, a scoop of peanut butter. Finally, you break out a whole bag of kisses. You get the point – you’ve now eaten the chocolate plus 3 things you didn’t really need or want in the first place. Yes, sometimes cucumbers and celery can do the trick but often it is better to take a deep breath and pinpoint the craving. How’s that green tea and chocolate looking now?
Craving Fix #2: Identify your triggers and find controls.
Whether it’s a looming work deadline or your phone call with your mother-in-law, determine what triggers you to reach for an unhealthy food. Next, find controls for those triggers. You should have food controls and non-food controls. For example, it’s 3 p.m. and you hang up the phone with your cranky boss and immediately want to make a beeline for the vending machine. A food control would be having sliced cucumbers and carrots and individual portions of peanut butter in the work fridge and making a beeline there instead. A non-food control is for those situations when there is no real hunger and/or it’s not snack or meal time. A few options there are writing in a journal, perusing your favorite online store or doing a set of 10 push-ups. Write down your food and non-food controls so you have them handy for when your triggers strike.
Craving Fix #3: Don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
Stay hydrated. All day. If you’re not properly hydrated, you may be mistaking thirst for hunger and thus, overconsuming calories from food. Before you reach for something to sink your teeth into go for something to sip instead. The best way to combat this mistake from happening at all is to always be hydrated. Keep a BPA-free 32 ounce water bottle on your desk or with you in the car and fill it often.
Craving Fix #4: Calm down.
Stress depletes your body’s energy, strength and ability to function as it should. Often when we are stressed we crave foods that we should be steering clear of — foods like cake, cookies, pasta. We already discussed how this is a double whammy since stress hormones alone make you gain weight and crave the worst foods for you, causing you to gain even more weight! So, what’s a rattle nerved person to do? Incorporate a daily calming ritual. This can be a full on intensive yoga class, 5 minute journaling session or simply sitting quietly with a lavender candle lit for a few minutes. The most important thing is that you just do something every single day and recognize how stress affects your cravings, weight and health.
Examples of Ways to Satisfy Your Cravings
● 2 ounces fresh, sliced turkey wrapped in lettuce
● 1 ounce parmesan cheese and 2 high fiber crackers
● 3 cups air popped popcorn with sprinkle of sea salt and cayenne pepper
● Small banana with 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter
● 15 pecans or cashews (“sweet” nuts)
● 2 dried figs with 1 ounce goat cheese and sprinkle of cinnamon
● Sliced carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus
● 15 raw almonds or walnuts
● 1 cup crunchy salad of jicama, celery, cucumbers, and string beans with 2 teaspoons olive oil and drizzle of lemon
● ½ cup Greek yogurt with 1 cup raspberries
● ¼ cup black bean dip with endive
● Smoothie: 1 cup ice, 1 cup almond milk, ¼ avocado, 2 teaspoons almond butter, sprinkle of cinnamon