I actually didn’t think of this post as an article for the website at first. It was first a tip I use in my private Challenge Groups to help others live a healthier lifestyle not just for the length of their program, but for life.
The positive response I received from my challengers was overwhelming, which is why I wanted to share here this update on my blog, too. Cravings are the downfall of many, which is why knowing how to tackle those food cravings is important to your success.
Know What You Crave
When you first start living a healthier lifestyle, you may deal with any cravings. This is because you’re probably still pretty excited about sticking with and reaching your goals. But at you get further into your healthier living regimen, things can get less exciting, and I can guarantee there will be a time when you do begin to crave things you shouldn’t. Cravings can even be trouble for the most committed of healthy eaters, so I’m going to share a few of my favorite tips to prevent yourself from giving in when the going gets tough.
1. Prevent the Cravings
What does this mean? It means that the best way to combat your craving is not to have one in the first place. This can be accomplished by eating when you’re hungry, not skimping on the healthy carbs, making sure you’re eating enough calories to fuel your body, and not skimping on the healthy fat. Basically if after a few days into your program, you’re still feeling famished, you should definitely up your calories a little bit, even if only by 100 each day to see if that helps get rid of the angry grumbling stomach.
2. Distract Yourself
This is the one that tends to work the best for me and is VERY effective in getting rid of cravings. If you can get the initial idea off your mind for just a few minutes, most likely the craving will go away. My favorite ways to do this are reading a book, connecting with my Facebook challengers, watching an episode of my favorite television show, looking through old family photos that make me smile, writing down my health and fitness goals, stretching out or doing gentle yoga, calling a friend to chat…not to talk about food!, or even cleaning something up or doing laundry. The chance is by the time you finish your task, the craving will have passed. If after 20 minutes have passed and I still have an intense craving, I will usually indulge a little and stay within my container/calorie range, but not a lot!
3. Make Yourself Happy
This one didn’t surprised me at all, because we’ve all heard of emotional eating, but a study revealed that the cravings we experience aren’t necessarily associated with actual hunger, but rather with a negative feeling. It showed that people tend to crave sugar most when they’re stressed, anxious, bored, or even lonely…uh-oh. So to help boost your mood, try writing down 10 things you are grateful for, treat yourself to something that is NOT food-related like a manicure or massage, or even just go somewhere new and interesting like that museum in the next town over you’ve been dying to visit. I think you get the point.
4. Work It Out…Literally
This is a good one. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll give into the craving, but only once you’ve finished your workout. Most often after you finish your health-improving workout and release those endorphins, you won’t even feel like ruining the great workout you had by having those potato chips.
5. Eat a Healthy Alternative
If you’re a late-night snacker, I have an entire post about beating night time snacking here. However a good way to ensure you’re full before bed is to have a Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fresh or frozen berries. The protein keeps you full and the berries satisfy a sweet tooth.
Craving ice cream? Just add frozen fruit to your yogurt and use a blender or just stir in. And if you just are starving in the middle of the day, try having a handful of nuts or teaspoon of nut butter with a serving of protein. Healthy fat and lean protein will help kick the craving to the curb.
I hope this article helped give you some ideas to help you survive your healthy eating when the going gets tough, but always remember there are some healthy indulgences that, when enjoyed in moderation, will help you survive for the long run. I know I like to always having the darkest dark chocolates in my cupboard. I don’t eat it often, but when I’m having a major chocolate craving that I cannot get rid of any other way, I enjoy one small square here and I’m done.
Living healthy is about making compromises and staying consistent, so if you have any other ideas on beating cravings, please share in a comment below.