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. The occasional indulgence isn’t anything to be alarmed about, but if you find yourself licking the evidence off your fingers on a regular basis, you need to add some tools to help you.
The goal here is to be in charge of your cravings, not have them be in charge of you. Here’s how to head those cravings off and get back on track for balanced living and wellness.
Dig Down to the Root of Your Cravings
Observe the flow of your day and take note of when your cravings occur. Rather than reaching for food by default, stop and tune in to your body and emotions. 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.
Next consider what you are really seeking. Most of the time, when hunger pangs are absent, you are really seeking something other than food and you can answer the craving without eatinig. Bored? Chug a glass of water and take a short walk. Had a bad day? Consider what would bring joy – watch a funny movie, talk to a friend, etc. That time of the month? Reach out to me and I can give you some suggestions for supporting better hormonal balance.
Eat Snacks and Meals Slowly
Mindful eating is the best way to keep from overeating, whether you’re eating a nutritious meal or a snack. Your brain doesn’t get the message that your stomach is full for about 20 minutes. Therefore, slowly chewing your food allows you to not only savor the flavors but also catch the message that you are full before you need to loosen your belt.
If you really can’t help munching while you are watching a movie, swap out junk food for healthier options. Choose crispy carrot and celery sticks paired with hummus or fruit with a small serving of mixed nuts will provide more steady energy. 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. You know the foods that push your buttons and send you down the rabbit hole. Don’t buy them! 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 stay on track rather than being controlled.
So let’s get honest here. My biggest challenge is when I am watching webinars or training videos. That’s when I would normally munch mindlessly. I’ve learned not to stock snacks at my desk, but rather to have a large glass of water or cup of hot tea and pen and paper at hand. If I take notes, my hands stay busy and I don’t reach for snacks.
What’s your greatest challenge with cravings?