5 Things to Stop Succumbing to Unhealthy Cravings
By Chef K.T. Murphy
It’s finally the beginning of 2019 and although January may be the mother of new beginnings, it’s also the start of new challenges. Countless individuals plan to exercise regularly and eat cleaner. While these goals are achievable, it’s only natural to encounter old habits on your journey to wellness. One of the hardest rituals to break is succumbing to cravings. We all have that favorite candy or piece of junk food that we binge eat when the frustration ensues. This one time slip up can lead to a downward spiral of unhealthy eating. Despite the temptation, this year is different! This year you’re dedicated, motivated and eager to stick to your goals and achieve optimal results. The best way to tackle the mountain of cravings is to first, get knowledge in order to become well equipped.
1. Remove the temptation
There’s certain security behind hiding those chocolate chip cookies in the back of the pantry for those moments of weaknesses. However, this security blanket could be likened to a disaster waiting to happen. The old saying is, “out of sight, out of mind” and in the case of the cravings, it should be your mantra. Disposing of all possible triggers is the key to maintaining your healthy lifestyle. This also includes avoiding those places that sell your weakness. Perhaps try to adjust your commute so you’re not tempted to stop and indulge.
2. Plan and Prepare
Preparation is the key to success and the saying rings true when it comes to your meals. Meal prepping has been all the rage these last few years and the creativity options are endless. When you’re prepared, you’re less likely to result to your pesky cravings when you’re in a bunch. Marni Sumbal, RD, of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition says, “It takes the guesswork out of eating, and more importantly, makes it easy to choose a nutritious meal when you’re rushed, hungry, or exhausted.” (https://www.prevention.com/food/meal-prep-tips-from-nutritionists) Times of distress are when you are more likely to reach for the sugar or carbs. Recognizing when you’re stressed, overworked or on a time constraint is vital to staying on track. Incorporating more water and protein into your diet with help your transition easier.
3. Eat Regularly
Speaking of in-between meals, never allow yourself to go so hungry that you reach for the first thing you can find. Changing your lifestyle comes with the misconception that you must starve yourself. In reality, you are more likely to give into your cravings during this state, so make eating a priority! Eat small, healthy and filling foods throughout the day that will keep you energized. Apple slices, yogurt and almonds are great transitional snacks that will keep you fulfilled.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is like a glorious two-way street; you gain a better understanding of your environment while increasing your health benefits. Dr. Jan Chozen Bays, author of Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, describes mindful eating as, “helping us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction.” It embodies the entire experience of eating and becoming aware of how we associate food with feelings. Often times, giving into those sugar cravings is instantly gratifying. But, as time progresses we wind up with feelings of guilt and regret. It’s important to remember how great you feel after eating something healthy that will keep you on the right track. Keeping a food journal is a creative way to document your progress.
5. Reward Yourself
There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting up a reward system for good behavior. Is there a fantastic dress you’ve had your eyes on, or tickets to that action-packed movie? Whatever brings you joy, use that as a marker for your goals. If you go x amount of time without succumbing to a craving, reward yourself with something fun. Let’s face it, rewiring your brain is hard work and when you eliminate guilty pleasures, it’s depressing. Exchange your absence for applause and this will keep you motivated.
All the best, Good Food makes For Better Decisions.