Anyone else ever fallen victim to those all over-powering-I-need-to-eat-this-tub-of-ice-cream-right-now-cravings??? Done it and felt horrible afterwards. This unpleasant sensation of guilt mingled with out-of-control, I-am-ruining-my-best-efforts unworthiness all too often follows right after the short-lived pleasure of sugar-high-naughtiness. Not to speak of the physical aftermath such as struggling with tummy upsets, excessive gas, bloated bellies and stomachs that feel pretty yuk.
Yep…I think it is fair to say we have all been there on the one or other occasion in this or various forms. And I am sure I am speaking for all of us when I say: cravings suck!!! So, let’s once and all break up with them or if you prefer going more gently, with all your self-compassion and caring, kiss them good-bye. Who is in?
Let me share with you 5 simple ways how you too can take back control of your healthy-licious life without being put down by any gruesome food-cravings:
- Keep your blood sugar stable
There are many reasons why you are experiencing cravings. One of them might be very physical. It could just be your body trying to protect you and do what’s best for you. That is tell you to quickly re-stabilise your blood sugar level when it suddenly drops. Which yes…you might have guessed it will present like severe I-have-got-to-eat-this-food-right-now-and-that-fast-itch. You are likely to be super cranky, cannot concentrate and feel weak at the same time. To prevent such ugly blood-sugar-dips it is super essential that you fuel your body with regular wholefoods bursting full of fibre. Leaving too long gaps between your meals or eating highly processed foods which peak your blood sugar quickly and then have it drop equally fast do both only one thing: spiral your food cravings out of control. So instead make sure you eat at least every 3 hours and fill your wholesome plates with lots of health-boosting plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and pulses.
- Eat a diet that is varied and balanced
Another reason why you might experience those irresistible urge to eat the most crabby and refined food you find in your pantry or the whole store is that you are lacking either variety or balance in your diet. And that big time. All too often we get quite comfortable with our meals. We know what works with the rest of our crew and what doesn’t. We have also gotten really good at preparing those feeds fast and without much work of our tired brain cells involved. We cook those meals almost automatically which is so much easier than trying out a new cuisine where we actually have to focus. However, all too often this means we are eating the same foods all over again. And again. Yet, by doing so we are missing out on a whole lot of different minerals, vitamins, other phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants we also need for radiant health. Or we have fallen victim of one of the latest diet trends and abandoned those menacing, bad guys called carbs from our table – that is: we have totally cut out one food-group and are no longer fuelling our bodies with the balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats. In order to feel on top of this world and our healthy-licious game, however, our gorgeous selves need to receive a wholesome, satisfying, feel-amazing balance of the three of them. I hate to break it to you but your body knows better than you and will with all force make sure you eat what it needs…yep, with the result that now your physical self is ruling you!!! Those food cravings have taken control of you in the least health-promoting way…shame!!!
- Don’t get hungry
Unfortunately, I am also all too familiar with clients who are desperately trying to lose weight by skipping meals or severely cutting down on portion sizes…only to find that this is not working for them. At all. All it does it makes them increasingly hungry or should I say hangry…and yes…usually cravings are a common, all-too-well-known-part of our diet culture or practising dietary restrictions. They very much co-exist. So, if you truly mean it and had enough of all this roller-coaster way of limiting your eats only to then go over-board on them, I invite you to change your thinking. How about replacing your restrictive food mindset with an expansive one? I am in no way referring to your waist line here. Obviously. I am talking about nurturing yourself with delicious, beautifying, waist-trimming whole-foods before you become ravenous which always will result in picking the wrong foods or stuffing yourself with too much of what is good for you. That is: allow yourself to eat whenever you feel the first sign of time-to-eat-popping into your beautiful head and never, ever try to drag the re-fuelling yourself bit out to when blood sugar levels have already plummeted and with that your food choices and sense of portion size. Truly, having deliciously vibrant fruits, soul-and-skin nurturing nuts and seeds in your bag at all times cannot only safe relationships turning you from hangry into happy but also your sweet, happy-licious craving-free-life.
- Practise the 80/20 rule
It is not all physical though. There is much more to cravings than nourishing your body with the right foods at the right time. We are talking about our tricky minds, our souls full of sugary or chocolatey desires. Yes…our modern world is stocked up with the most delicious utterly and totally refined foods that hold no nutrients but instead a lot of pleasure and maybe fun memories. You know what…if you really have a few foods you totally love and want to eat even though you know they are not a healthy choice as such…by all means have them. Not all the time. But allow yourself those junk-kind of snacks or meals and enjoy them without guilt or hard feelings against yourself! Then go back to nurturing your body with all those nutritious goodies that bring the best out in you such as your vegetables, fruits, legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and lean meats. You will find you can enjoy and cherish them then even more. It is my experience that if we go too restrictive in the form of denying us something we truly want, we end up craving this more and more. If, however, we turn it all around and simply have this piece of chocolate cake without any regrets and fit it into our otherwise healthy-licious life, our cravings end up a rather unpleasant, faint memory. Trust me when I say your body can put up with 20 percent of crabby foods, if you nourish it the other 80 percent. Enjoy!
Sometimes when we crave all these naughty, loaded with calories and quick accessible vigour, dense, highly processed foods, what we are truly longing for is the energy those foods are giving us. Unfortunately, this sugary or fatty push is only short lived in terms of feeling more energetic, focused, exuberant or less tired but long lived on our thighs, hips and buttocks…yuk. So, what we truly need when we are getting the munchies to up our dynamism or vitality is a rest. Slowing down. Taking time out to breathe and self-nurture. Sleep. Go for a walk. Read a book. Immerse ourselves in the most indulgent bath soak. Get a massage. Foot rub. Treat ourselves to our favourite form of yoga. Meditate. Have a cuppa with our best friend. Do whatever we need to do to take some time out for our exhausted selves to recharge our exhausted batteries. I know time is one of those resources we are all much too short on these days. But if you have time to sculp down this bag of chips, you surely can also make time to breathe. Trust me it is such much more effective and self-compassionate choice than gulping down whatever is in your reach. Plus, it comes totally guilt-and-calorie-free. Are you ready to swap your thick shake with a food scrub?
- Fill your emotional gap with other things than food
Yes, most of the time it is truly awesome that we are such complex and intelligent beings. But sometimes it just is not. And this is one of those moments. We can also experience food cravings when we are feeling an emotional gap in our lives. When we are unhappy in our relationships, at work, under financial pressures or simply utterly bored with our day-to-day existence. Those sweet foods filled with sugar and unhealthy fats can fill that hole quite nicely and conveniently. At least for some time. Until we need more of the next sweet hit to feel the pleasure and spike those feel-good-hormones which we are not experiencing enough of otherwise. So, we start living for that next processed-food-hit to make us feel better, happy and fulfilled. Truth is…it never really does. Again, such eating for pleasure is accompanied by nagging guilt, feelings of unworthiness, not being in control and body-shame. Plus, to get the same enjoyment we now are forced to eat more and more of all those endorphin-spiking-nasties. How about triggering those feel-good-hormones in much more sustainable, self-loving ways? How about considering change? When something is not right and we are no longer living our most fulfilled, happiest lives, it is time to look at things from a different angle. Don’t you agree? I know, most things you cannot ‘fix’ from one day to the next…but who said change is only worthwhile with immediate results? Take it on a step by step basis and focus on your amazing journey of reclaiming the life you truly want for yourself. The life that fills you more than any junk food in the whole wide world ever will.
So, how about it? Are you ready to live without being controlled by any cravings? Are you ready to re-claim your totally healthy-and yummy-licious food life? I thought so. Go do it warrior baby-girl, bring it home! You are so worth of freeing yourself of anything that could possibly hold you back from living your best, most happy, fulfilled life!!!