Ever since I started on my health and fitness journey, beating cravings has been one huge issue for me. Wherever I go, there’s a lot of tasty snacks readily available, and sometimes willpower just isn’t enough to stop me from eating on impulse. Is there anything one can do to stay on the healthy path? Let’s find out!
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The story with cravings is a familiar one for me. It started when I decided to change my lifestyle and start getting healthy. At first, it was all smooth sailing, until suddenly I got a craving for some not-so-healthy snacks. I knew I shouldn’t give in, but then I thought having a little wouldn’t hurt me. Next thing I knew, I ended up stuffing my face and feeling guilty about it. That was enough to leave me feeling unmotivated and ready to call it quits. Cravings can certainly do a number on you.
The secret to cravings
I realized that if I had decided to start eating healthy, cravings where something that was going to happen often. I think my cravings are the result of years of bad eating habits and sometimes even come from nerves or boredom.
I’ve found that the best way to beat my cravings is to change my way of thinking. The truth is that cravings are in your head and not in your stomach. So, in order to stay healthy, you have to train your mind just like you train your body.
Whenever I start getting a craving for junk, I try to stop and follow these simple steps.
5 Rules For Beating Cravings That Will Keep You Slim
1. Think about what exactly it is you’re craving
Before you open that bag of chips or candy, try to get a feel for what it is you’re craving. Do you want something sweet or salty? Fatty or crisp? Are you thirsty? Try to get a feel for your exact craving.
This is helpful because you’re fighting against old bad habits, and habits die hard. Maybe you’ve acquired the habit of always having something sweet after dinner, or something salty in the middle of the day. So if you stop and think, this will keep you from eating on impulse and you’ll get a clue about how to break that habit.
2. Ask yourself if you’re really hungry
Think about why you want to eat something. Have you eaten enough today? Did you skip a meal? Are you bored? Did you see something tasty on television? Do you have PMS? Are you nervous, tense, worried, or sad? Have you slept well? Are you tired? Have been drinking enough water?
The point of this is to see if you’re really hungry or if you just want to eat out of impulse of habit. If you really are hungry, then have a healthy snack, like a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit. If it’s just an impuse, then you have to break the habit.
3. Wait 15 to 20 minutes
Believe it or not, in 15 to 20 minutes your craving will go away. Meanwhile, have a glass of water, step away from the kitchen, and do something else to occupy your mind. Don’t let that craving control you!
Craving for junk are all in your mind. Your body doesn’t need to have junk to live. That stuff isn’t nutritious, it just gets stored as fat in your belly, thighs, and the rest of your problem areas. Step aways from it!
4. Don’t punish yourself if you give in to a craving
Sometimes it’s just hard to stay away from the junk, I know. It’s happened to me many times. If I give in to a craving, I don’t torture myself or give in to guilt. Bad habits die hard, remember? I know I’m not going to beat them in a few days’ time.
What I have to do is not give up on my goals. Giving in to cravings shouldn’t be an excuse to quit. If I had that chocolate bar, I’m not going to be fatter for it. I know I’m going to fall once in a while, but I have to keep trying to be healthy. I’ve seen that results come with a bit of consistency, and that helps me to deal with occasional cravings.
5. Avoid future cravings
It’s important for me to take note when and why cravings come up, so that way I’ll know how to beat them. These are a few tips that have really helped me avoid cravings.
- I have produce and protein at every meal, which keep me from getting hungry.
- I respect meal times and I don’t skip meals.
- I don’t buy packaged snacks and I keep fruit and veggies prepped and handy.
- I avoid sugary and salty snacks because I know those foods trigger my cravings.
- I drink 8 glasses of water a day so I won’t confuse thirst with hunger.
- I try to relax at the end of the day because I know I’m prone to emotional eating.
- I try to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night because lack of sleep messes with my metabolism.
- I don’t eat sugar-free or diet products because those won’t help me break bad habits, they’ll just trigger more cravings.
Sometimes giving in to cravings is good
I know I can’t eat perfectly healthy all the time, so I allow myself a treat now and then. Planned treats don’t throw me off the healthy path, but keep me motivated instead. I also get to keep my sanity.
The problem is when you treat yourself one too many times. It’s one thing to have a cheeseburger once in while, and it’s quite another when you have a large burger and fries combo every weekend to “treat” yourself. There’s a very fine line between having an occasional treat and going overboard, and this can really get in the way of any health and fitness goals.
Fortunately, there’s also ways to have a healthy craving. It’s only a matter of being creative. One of my favorites is a healthy chocolate cake in a cup. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too!