I was chatting with a dear friend the other day about her weight loss goals and kicking things into high gear in 2018. She is being diligent to eliminate overly processed, sugary foods from her diet, and was asking about how to tackle cravings. Those moments when every ounce of your being wants something as silly as a piece of chocolate, or a Diet coke or a bag of chips. Those things that you know you don’t need, but cannot seem to quiet your mind from wanting. So when the desire runs deep, what to do?
This got me thinking about my top tips to tackle your cravings conundrum.
The first step, is to assess your emotions. What is pulling you to that food? Do you feel an emotional void that you are trying to fill with that craving? If so, acknowledge this as the reminder you need to work through those deeper emotional issues. Maybe this is the trigger to call up a therapist, reconnect with your faith or find a support system to help you through that emotional challenge. Be thankful to your craving for having brought you to this enlightenment. It takes time for these deeper issues to bubble up and be worked through, so this could be the beginning of many positive steps forward!
The second step, is to survive the craving, in that very moment, by putting your energy into something else. Pull your mind away from the craving by occupying your thought space elsewhere. Here are a few things to try when you are struggling to pull your thoughts away from the craving. (Notice what the letters in parentheses spell 😉 )
(C)all a friend
(R)ead this article to learn more about sleep
(A)nswer the question, “What are 10 things I am grateful for in this very moment?”
(V)acuum your house or apartment
(I)llustrate a picture of where you would be right now if you were on vacation
(N)uzzle your pet
(G)o for a walk
(S)et an alarm for 10 minutes and meditate
(B)last your favorite song and sing or dance along
(E)rase all the apps on your phone that you no longer use
(G)o to google images and search “National Geographic nature”
(O)pen a book and start reading
(N)oodle on what you would do if you had an entire day free to do whatever you wanted
(E)mail this meme to your closest friend or coworker
The third step, is to assess if you are still feeling your sense of craving. If not, wonderful! Allow yourself to carry about your day with the pep in your step of knowing you are one day closer to kicking that craving for good! If you are still wanting that one particular food, work to find a healthier substitute that will quiet your craving without throwing in the towel on your healthy eating habits. Here are a few ideas of foods to try for your corresponding craving:
- Baked goods —> Try making these Banana Blender Muffins
- Diet coke —> Flavored sparkling water (if you absolutely need something sweeter, ween yourself slowly with a beverage that contains no artificial sweeteners, like Zevia)
- A sweet Starbucks beverage —> try one of these healthy mocha recipes: Mexican Mocha or Frothy Peppermint Mocha
- Chocolate —> Add cocoa powder to a protein shake for chocolatey flavor
- Chips —> Roasted and salted nuts (if you’re thinking, “pssssttt nuts won’t do the job,” try root vegetable chips, like Terra Chips)
Know that kicking cravings takes time and willpower, but every time you are able to overcome your craving, you are one step closer to feeling food freedom!