We all have them. Some of us more often, others almost never. Cravings! While there is nothing wrong with indulging in your favorite food once in a while, regular, unhealthy cravings can become a big issue when it comes to weight loss and your overall health.
Many people who experience this deep desire to indulge in certain kinds of mostly unhealthy foods on a regular basis don’t think there is anything they can do about it. They believe they are doomed, will never be able to lose weight, and therefore might as well eat even more of the food they desire so much.
Here is the good news: Cravings can be controlled! And oftentimes it is much easier than we think it could ever be. Here are three surprisingly simple and easy ways to get rid of your cravings:
I want you to close your eyes and think about the type of food you crave most. Is it candy? Chocolate? Or more hearty things like burgers, steak, French fries? Does your mouth get watery? Good, you found your craving!
Here is the thing with food, we don’t only like certain foods more than others because of the way they taste. It’s also about the way they feel, their texture. So when you think about your “go-to” craving, what texture does it have? Is it creamy? Is it crunchy? Is it kind of fluffy?
Once you identified the texture, think about the basic taste this food has. Is it sweet, salty, or greasy?
Got it? Awesome!
Now the only thing you need to do is find a substitute for it. Something that has a similar texture and basic taste like the food you are craving. If you can’t seem to be able to keep your hands off ice cream then you can try frozen protein fruit smoothies for example. The fruit gives it a sweet taste and the protein powder makes it nice and creamy when you blend it. If you are craving burgers, you can try making healthier burgers. Use lean meats like turkey, whole wheat buns, and tomato paste and mustard instead of ketchup and mayonnaise.
Awareness has a huuuge impact on our cravings. We tend to walk through life being basically on autopilot 90% of the time. We start craving chips while watching TV and without giving it a second thought, we open the bag and at the end of the movie it’s empty. Oops!
Make a commitment TODAY to become more aware of your cravings. Pay close attention to the environmental factors (in which situations do you develop a craving?), your mood at the time (are you angry? stressed? bored?), and patterns (do your cravings start at the same time each day? In the same situations?).
Becoming more aware of what’s going on inside of you and around you, that alone takes away a lot of the intensity of a craving. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it works. Try it!
Yes, you read that right. Indulging in your favorite food can stop the craving for it. Say whaaat? Here is the thing, when we deny ourselves a certain kind or type of food, we keep focusing on it, and eventually the cravings will become so strong that we are no longer able to control them. The result is usually uncontrollable overeating, regret, and guilt. Which then sets a spiral in motion and the circle starts again (“I will never ever eat pizza again!” – Two weeks later you are staring on an empty pizza box, some crumbs which used to be breadsticks, and the stains of red marinara sauce on the carpet. Sounds familiar?).
If we allow ourselves the foods we crave though, they lose a lot of the emotional power they have. When you know, you can have a piece of chocolate every other night before you go to bed, you won’t crave it that much in between because you know, you will get it. There is no feeling of “I can’t have that” and our actions become results of choices rather than impulses.