We all get cravings and triggers from being emotional, having a big day at work, a big night, feeling low, there’s endless scenarios we create out of habit.
Ever had a night out and then the next day went overkill on your bacon and eggs or that greasy meal from your favorable local cafe. Being human we naturally have cravings for foods we just really don’t need. Even the fit and healthy have there vices it’s just life really.
Cravings and binge eating can really make you feel terrible and you end up feeling worse than ever. You can truly kid yourself into thinking your body is telling you that you need to have something, or that you deserve a treat, but most of the time it’s pure habit.
A note out of my book
I’m not a binge eater, I do however sometimes enjoy my Caramello Chocolate, but in general I am a balanced eater. I have those date nights with my partner we like a treat it can be healthy or it can be unhealthy but truly it’s more of a habit we need to enjoy the date without the sweet stuff!
With my children it’s small steps to not let them snack when they get bored they definitely make it a habit! This happens anytime of the day, if so they can only have a healthy peice of fruit, water or crackers in between. Sometimes I think they are allergic to fruit, but I try very hard to always offer them there fruit and vegetables through out the day. Or hide it secretly (a mothers tactic at its best)
The same goes for me if I’m bored and craving I restrict myself to the same types of food healthy as possible, but asking myself do I even need it? Nothing’s wrong with snacking to a degree, use whole foods and cut back the sugary food for a healthy shake or fruit you can be creative and prep for the week, it’ll help you make better food choices through out the week knowing you have a plan and ready made snacks and meals. I have many recipes you can use, feel free to have a look at Healthy and Delicious Recipes.
Are you wanting to manage cravings, avoid binges and create better habits? Here are some simple strategies I’ve put together for you to try and they seem pretty effective:
But first of all a little word on sugar and starchy carbs.
“But I need it”
In my mind this is where I go, but truly I don’t need these two things regularly, I already know this but why do I want these sugary/starchy foods?
Your body needs a steady flow of energy throughout the day. When you eat too many things that turn quickly into sugar (whether it’s sugar or starchy carbohydrates), you get a blood sugar spike which causes the body to produce insulin to extract excess sugar from your blood. This excess sugar is stored as fat. Sometimes too much of this sugar is packed away, which leads to blood sugar levels becoming too low, resulting in tiredness, low mood, a drop in concentration and cravings.
Have you ever noticed that our cravings are nearly always for sugary foods or starchy carbs like chocolate or hot chips? The body craves anything it can quickly convert to sugar to get blood sugar levels up again. Eating continually in this way causes a blood sugar rollercoaster.
Switching to whole foods like meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans and so on with vegetables and fruit, with smaller amounts of wholegrain starches like brown rice and wholemeal bread will help enormously.
How to manage your cravings
Forget “willpower” and plan ahead
Willpower in itself is not enough. I’ve found I have all the willpower in the world and then one weak moment and it can come crashing down. If you can learn to be in control of your actions, the first most simple step is to make sure you don’t get super hungry, so eat regular meals.
Tip – Eventually, your healthy eating will become second nature, but you need to support yourself and your new habits till they are firmly in place and this is best achieved by planning ahead. For example meal prep and pre preparing healthy snacks easily accessible to you and writing down meals in advance.
Identify and write down your triggers
Are they emotional triggers? Food triggers? Habits? Triggers in certain places or situations?
Some how identifying what triggers your cravings can help you take back the control of them and change the outcome.
What is it that you need? What strategies can you put in place now to support yourself?
Get rid of your trigger foods
Sweets, icecreams, frozen or deep-fried foods and soda drinks replacing these foods with healthier wiser choices like fruit, frozen smoothie packs, vegetables and meal preparation of wiser food choices in advance.
If you don’t have control of a food then it is controlling you and you can’t have that!!!
If it triggered a binge in the past, it will do so again we all have our vice so get rid of it and don’t buy it – for you or your family.
It’s OK to throw away food that is bad for you.
Choosing to eat or the choice not to eat
Do you ever find yourself saying a sweet treat would be nice, but trying to behave?
Don’t take orders from a packet of sweets, choosing puts you back in control.
Remember, the responsibility is yours.
You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.
Create mental positive affirmations and leave notes around the house to help you make new choices.
The more you use incentives like qoutes, food diary, planner, writing power notes around your house especially on the fridge, the more it becomes a part of what you now do, so develop a system that works for you that’s easy to change up, you can put this into practise when the hunger comes roaring back, try practicing phrases like:
“Don’t start, don’t get the taste”
“I actually don’t want this”
“I am not hungry, so I will not eat for the moment”.
Use catch up activities to distract yourself
If I get a craving I will simply find something else I enjoy or haven’t caught up on for awhile like paint my nails, go for a walk, clean out clothes, put on some music, read. Giving myself a few moments can release my craving for those cravings that just aren’t good for me.
Find something that works for you, write these down to reinforce them and commit to doing them.
Accept your slips
Unless you are superhuman, there will be occasions when you slip and have more than you should. Slim people over indulge too – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally.
Remember, the occasional slice of cake or a portion that is too big is not going to make you put on a few kilos, but a binge will.
Binges on sugary or salty food will make you retain water – making you look and feel heavier than you really are. It’s just not worth it. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”. Reaffirm your resolve to make a different choice next time.
Thanks for reading my tips on cravings and bingeing… do you regularly try new ways of being healthier, what do you do to curb a craving? I’d love to know please feel free to share your advice Cassie xox