By Michele Chevalley Hedge
You are the boss of your body and brain. You know this until that sneaky 4 o’clock craving hits and you lose your power and your ‘cranger’ (cranky anger) turns you from gorgeous to grumpy. Cranger makes you eat anything- fast, easy to reach, carby or sweet. Milk Chocolate, lollies, sugar loaded chia tea, heck it would be your knuckles if they were dusted with cocoa.
I know the strong hold a craving (sugar, carbs, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol) can have on us physically and mentally. I have met people in my clinical practice that tell me that they think they got divorced due to their cravings of sugar. No lie. They have shared with me that their life was a series of sugar highs and lows creating brain fog, self-loathing, and sleepless nights for years.
Regardless of how clean your diet is, almost everyone gets cravings for sweets or junk food now and then. Why not create a plan for when you need to deal with cravings? If you have a vision of where you want your health and wellbeing and you have a PLAN, you most likely will succeed. A vision without a plan is only a wish. The following question plan is designed to ask yourself in this order.
- Drink Water. Are you craving something or are you really just thirsty? Many people confuse hunger and cravings when they are dehydrated so drink a glass or two of water when a craving hits. Add some fun to your water the addition of mint, lemon, lemongrass, lime, or strawberries.
- If after 10 minutes of hydrating, if you are still ready to binge on something that does not serve your wellbeing ask yourself the following:
Am I tired? bored? lonely? feeling bad about myself or something else? overwhelmed or stressed?
Chances are you want something more meaningful and not the quick fix of junk food. Once you have identified the real issue you can start to find ways to satisfy what you’re really needs are instead of medicating yourself with junk food.
If this resonance with you, work on what is triggering you before the craving in the first place.
- Preventative eating. This is a big one-cravings especially for sweets often strike when blood sugar is unstable therefor consistent eating of protein, good fats and smart carbs is the key to avoiding the mind take-over of a craving. With intermittent fasting on the rise, it is important for you to figure out what is your fasting threshold as you do not want to get to the point when you are so hungry and unreasonable and reach for anything convenient. Often late-night sugar munching is a sign you have not eaten enough during the day…. did I hear …’oh um, that’s me’?
- Find a substitute. Take some time to find something that really makes your tastebuds dance or just happy. something that you like to do or to eat that can be ‘crowd in’ to your mind or your physical body when a craving hit. For example, you might like blueberries or nuts, so you have those close by when trying to break a bad habit. For me and my clients, it is often a big cup of cinnamon tea with a handful of tamari almonds along with a 10-minute break from all noise and monkey chatter. What I like to refer to as a mini ‘reset’.
- If you are still busting for an unhealthy craving after the first four steps, then go ahead a have it and enjoy it. Wellbeing isn’t about deprivation, so be in moment when you are indulging, be present with the and tell yourself you are indulging and that is ok. The secret to success here is being truly present and not letting a few bites take you into a negative binge cycle for the rest of the day or week. Enjoy it, take note if it really is as good as you thought it was going to be, and pick up at the next meal with a healthy meal. Do not carry silly guilt. You will most likely find that the thought of the ’sweet treat’ was far greater than the 15 second taste. And what naturally starts to happen, over time you have less and less of the binging moments because they are not nearly as fun as feeling in control, vibrant, and healthy.
Life is to be delicious!
About the author: Michele Chevalley Hedge
Michele Chevalley Hedge is the founder of A Healthy View and author of Eat, Drink and Still Shrink… a joyful guide for busy people.
Michele was previously a marketing manager so she truly understands the needs of time-poor corporate executives who, family or not, want health but not hassle. She is often introduced as “the modern day nutritionist – the one who likes a bit of wine and coffee.”
Michele’s clinical practice and experience allow her to share stories of patients and their nutritional transformation which give the audience goose bumps – the kinds of stories that can only be heard if you are at the coal face with clients. Recognising her sensible approach to nutrition, four years ago, Wiley Publishing commissioned Michele to write Beating Sugar Addictions for Dummies. Michele then went onto to write The Healthy Hormone Diet- a 28 day plan for rebalancing your weight, energy, and sleep. And in 2019 Michele released a number one best seller, Eat, Drink & Still Shrink– a busy person’s joyful guide for living.
Michele works with many international corporations and schools- Westpac, CBA, ANZ, HSBC, and corporations like, Apple, Dropbox, Dexus, News.com, Financial Planning Association, AMP, Accenture, Dexus, Woolworths, Bankers Trust, Business Chicks, JLL,
ACCOR, Westfield, Department of Defence, Australian Police Force, Tourism Portfolio, Heart Research Australia, and more. She is the keynote speaker for the Heads of Schools of Australia and the Positive Schools Conference in Hong Kong and in the USA.
Michele is the Nature Care College Ambassador, Cure Cancer Ambassador and Heart Research Institute Ambassador and consults for 100’s on international corporations. She recently sat alongside the Dalai Lama at a conference where she presented on ‘Vitality, Energy and Serotonin – It’s all in Your Food’. Mental health and nutrition research is her passion and has been nominated as Australia Mental Health Awards Finals three years in a row.
Michele loves to write, so along with her blog and social media, she writes for Body & Soul, Huffington Post, Good Health, The Glow, Prevention, Wellbeing, Clean Eating, Cosmo, Women’s Weekly, MindFood and many more. And when Michele isn’t writing or seeing clients she is often delivering a wellbeing keynote of even chatting away on The Sunrise Show and Today show.
Last year, Michele’s business, A Healthy View, expanded to New York and the US with the addition of her online programs. Passionate, authentic and knowledgeable, Michele has several degrees and a diploma of Nutritional Medicine and is a member of the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. Michele is an educator, storyteller, and passionate researcher.