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!