Many of you have the best of intentions when it comes to kicking bad foods out of your life. And then come the cravings for those same bad foods. What to do? Here are my top tips for conquering cravings once and for all.
#1: Know that its all in your head — your body does NOT need whatever food/drink you are craving. I’m sure you’ve heard this excuse, and perhaps even used it yourself. The fact that you crave a certain food has nothing to do with whether you NEED to be eating it. Craving chips? I doubt your body is suffering from a sodium deficiency. Craving ice cream? I am sure that, deep down, you know you can’t use the “I guess I need more calcium” excuse. The same goes for booze, pasta, pizza, chocolate, or whatever your personal vice may be. Recognize that cravings are purely a mental/emotional issue. Not a physiological or nutritional issue.
#2: You will crave the foods you are addicted to — so figure out why you are addicted to them in the first place. Typically if you eat a “bad” food all the time, you become addicted to it and then crave it even more. That is part of the reason why when you break up with this bad food, you will be thinking about it and missing it! But, think about why you let yourself get addicted to it in the first place. Usually we just slip into bad habits, or let ourselves think we can get away with something suboptimal. But it will catch up to you and your metabolism, so stay strong!
#3: Have a plan to conquer your cravings — this means know what to do before it happens. Make sure to always have a bottle of water handy. Drink up when you feel a craving for something unhealthy coming on. Also be prepared with healthy snacks and meals that you can prepare and eat quickly. If you don’t have to work too hard to make something healthy to eat, this makes it so much easier to skip the chips or the drive through or the delivery man. And always think about WHY you are eating healthy and changing your habits. Focus on how hard you have been working at the gym, or how much time you have spent planning healthy meals. That way you can stay on track and recognize that cravings come and go, but your healthy lifestyle is here to stay.
#4: Don’t beat yourself up when you cave in to cravings — this just creates even more stress on your body. If you have an unplanned cheat meal, or even an entire day of cheat meals, move on. Don’t stress out about it, and definitely don’t use it as an excuse to just keep eating more bad food. You hear people all the time say, oh well, I’ll wait until Monday. Don’t wait. Eat your “bad” food, enjoy it, and then get right back to doing what you know is right.
#5: Don’t let yourself get bored — boredom is one of the main reasons people eat foods they should be skipping. This is why people eat while watching TV, or at the movies, or even sitting around the house when they are bored or anxious or lonely. Boredom is not a reason to eat. If watching TV makes you want to snack on unhealthy or unnecessary foods after dinner, close the kitchen for the night. Or don’t watch TV. Or just go to bed! If its not too late, hit the gym or go for a walk. You can always find something to do, but recognize your own personal triggers for mindless eating and make sure to avoid them.
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