As I was reading blogs this morning I came across a post about strategies to tackle food demons, and I started thinking about what I can do to control my own cravings.
I often crave food when I’m not hungry. In my mind it doesn’t matter if I’m happy, sad, stressed, lonely, bored, etc. My mind automatically assumes that situations will be more gratifying if food is involved, and I’ve been attempting to change that mindset for years. I still have a lot of work to do.
I did a little research (thank you, Google) and came up with a few ways to beat cravings that I can imagine working, and I am going to start implementing them right now.
–Brush your teeth – I can see this working because I don’t like to eat anything for a while after I brush my teeth. I can also whiten them because that means no eating for at least two hours, but I certainly can’t do that every time I have a craving. i don’t want my teeth to be so white that they glow in the dark. 😉
– Avoid your triggers – Jeez. This one is tough because so many things make me want to eat junk, but I get the point. Last week I picked up my old friend, Clint ( aka The Suit) at the airport, and his flight didn’t come in until after midnight. I had some time to kill so as I was driving past Krispy Kreme, I decided to order a doughnut.
I avoid this place most of the time because it’s so easy to convince myself that I need to buy more than one doughnut, but that night I reminded myself that the gratification of the doughnut would make me feel good for about 30 seconds before it made me feel bloated, lethargic and regretful. I left the parking lot…doughnut-less, and I felt like I had won a battle within myself.
– Drink water – I drink a lot of water, but it’s hot in New Orleans so I won’t hurt myself if I drink more than that. I keep a few 32 oz. bottles filled at all times, and it’s fairly easy to drink one quickly. I usually feel full for a while after that, but I also feel like I did something good for myself, thus making it a little bit easier to pass on the junk food.
– Keep it out of your environment – I cleaned out my fridge last week and got rid of most of the things that aren’t good for me. I have a pint of ice cream in the freezer, but it’s not a trigger for me. I have a serving from time to time, but I’m usually okay with that. I don’t keep chips or candy in my place most of the time, and when I bake, I get it out of my house quickly too.
It’s easier for me to succeed when I have healthy choices available instead of unhealthy ones which leads me to my next strategy…
– Plan – When I chop veggies for stir fry or roasting, I eat them. When I boil eggs so I have a quick snack, I eat them. When I come up with new, delicious ideas like a banana + 1 tbps of freshly ground almond butter, I eat that.
– Exercise – I don’t mean that you should hit the gym every single time you crave a cupcake (although that may not be a bad idea for me.) I mean, if you’ve made time to exercise, it’s a little easier to remind yourself that you’re doing good things for your body. Maybe it’s a good idea to do three sets of jumping jacks, planks or something similar instead of eating, but that won’t always be a realistic option. I mean, the folks at Starbucks might look at me like I’m crazy if I start doing lunges when I’m craving baked goods. (I just ten avoid them there.)
Having healthy options that I like allows me to eat food that tastes good which reminds me that I’m doing this because I can, not because I have to.
– Eat regularly – I know that when I eat breakfast and exercise that I will likely have a healthy day. I also know that when I avoid eating until late afternoon, I’ll eat too much at that point so it’s important to eat in a timely way.
I realize that there must be a zillion other ways to fight cravings so I’d like to ask YOU to offer some advice on this. My question is…
What strategies do you use to avoid cravings?
Or is there something that you think might work that we should try?
Many of you have learned how to deal with this successfully, but I’d like to think that I’m not the only one who still fights with myself to say no to overeating.
I’m working on this, and I’d like to know if you are too. I’d also like to hear your ideas too so please take a moment to share them.