Updated: Nov 16, 2018
We have all been there. We want to eat things that we maybe shouldn't eat, not sticking to our meal plan, craving food that is bad for us. Here are my tips to avoid cravings, things that worked for me and I'm pretty sure it will help you too!
Ps.: don't freak out if you eat something that is not in your meal plan. Don't freak out if you give in to your cravings. We are all humans and it is perfectly fine to eat things that are ''bad'' for us from time to time. You just have to know how to control yourself and not binge eat or get a food disorder. If you are suffering from a food disorder, go get professional help before it is too late.
What is a craving?
It is when you want something so bad, when you are eating your chicken and broccoli while day dreaming about that pizza, donuts, burger, french fries, cheesecake, etc. Resisting those cravings can be pretty hard, almost impossible for some.
Why are you craving?
Before giving in to that craving, you have to understand why. Why are you craving so bad? Is it because you:
had a bad day
are low calories
are low carbs
are in your PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
are sad, anxious, emotional
have been following a strict diet for too long
The reasons can be endless. Understanding where it comes from is the key to manage your craving. If you don't understand where it comes from, you won't be able to stop it in the future without having to think about it.
sugar on the brain
Oh sugar sugar... After understanding why you are craving, you have to understand how your brain works when it comes to sugar. You have probably heard that sugar is as addictive as cocaine and heroin since it stimulates drug-like effects on the brain. Cardiovascular research scientist James DiNicolantonio of St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., who co-wrote the study, told The Guardian that in their study of sugar’s effects on mice, they observed, “In animals, [sugar] is actually more addictive than even cocaine, so sugar is pretty much probably the most consumed addictive substance around the world, and it is wreaking havoc on our health.”
If you have sugar, you will only want more and more since it will stimulates a craving for even more. Sugar affects mood, diabetes, hyperglycemia, self-control, overeating, weight, memory, attention, etc.
trick your brain
Third step. When you see or think about something your craving, what you say to yourself is:
«I want it but I can't have it»
By saying this, you feel like your are depriving yourself. The word CAN'T is a powerful one and it is only making it worst. Now, trick your brain by saying this to yourself instead every time you crave:
«I can have it but I don't want it»
It might not be true, because you really want it, but by saying this to yourself and trying to really think it, your subconscious will begin to understand it and apply it. Let's say you're at the restaurant and you don't want to cheat but you see that enormous tasty looking dessert. You can have it, you just have to ask the waiter and order it. It is easy right? But you don't want to cheat, therefore you can have it but don't want it. You really have to believe it. Same scenario but other quote: you're telling yourself you want it but can't have it because you don't want to cheat. Your brain won't stop thinking about it and you will probably stress over it and stress creates cortisol, the stress hormone, which isn't good.
It will always exist
Let's take the dessert example again. It will still exist in a week, a month, a year. When the human brain sees a colorful tasty delicious looking thing, it reacts in a way to make you believe that you need it. But do you really need it? Now?
jell-o, gum and etc
0 sugar 0 calories jell-o exists for a reason. It is easy to make, cheap and it really helps if you want to eat something that you shouldn't. Gums also help, you are chewing something for a certain period of time and it personally tricks my brain into thinking I'm actually eating. If I'm bored and hungry, I want to eat. That's when gums come into play. Same works with cucumbers!
drink more water
Sometimes you might feel hungry but in reality, you are thirsty. Drinking more water will make you feel fuller and it is also really good for you!
Learn about your food
Learn more about your food, macronutriments, sugar, glycemic index, etc. You HAVE TO KNOW what you put in your body. Why fruit sugar is different from a candy sugar, why does your body reacts to a certain food in a certain way, when is the best time to cheat, etc. Never trust only one person, always double check every fact someone might tell you.
Do not freak out
Eating disorders are real. They are real and they are always closer to us than we might think in nowadays society. I suffered from emotional eating disorder, binge eating, anorexia and still suffer from body dismorphic disorder. Food has become so accessible in wealthy countries that it is everywhere and it is marketed to us through every possible way, even phone games! Don't feel bad if you give in to your cravings. Don't punish yourself, don't feel bad, don't go to the gym to do 2 hours of cardio, enjoy it and just don't binge eat. Don't over look your calories, especially if you aren't an athlete. We are all humans. If you are suffering from an eating disorder or think you might do, don't wait and please, go get professional help.