Are you a slave to your cravings??

Hello and sorry it has taken me so long to write!  Today was a full day of clients plus grocery shopping and visiting with my boyfriend for a bit too!

What an amazing weekend!  Dave and I were lucky enough to be guests at a perfectly beautiful, very intimate and special wedding for Tess and John on Saturday afternoon/night.  Congrats to you both!!

Then came my yoga teacher graduation!  WOW! What an emotional day!!  Dave said it best as he described the day as one filled with tears, hugs and applause, they pretty much sums it up!  What an amazing program to have graduated from.  I learned more about myself (and yoga of course) than I had ever imagined!  Thanks to the support of my family and friends, Rama Lotus’  instructors and fellow teacher trainers for making my “journey” one of the most memorable and enlightening experiences of my life!  Here is a photo of all the graduates and our amazing teachers!

Now for the actual post about willpower and how to overcome/get rid of cravings when improving your eating habits.  My friend Leanne was my inspiration for this post, the ‘girl with no willpower’ as she refers to herself.  Here is her question…perhaps some of you can relate…

Leanne: “I don’t naturally have the best eating habits and living alone,  I tend to eat whatever’s most convenient…I’ve been doing pretty well at planning my meals out, so that’s not really the problem.  It’s snacking in between!  I have both a sweet tooth and a love for salty snacks…and I’m always craving something sweet (especially after meals) and a piece of fruit just won’t do.  Oh, and to top it all off, I’m a stress eater…the more stressed I get, the worse I eat!  Help!”

Les: “Well Leanne, fear no more! Your problems with snacking and craving sweet/salty treats are very common!  I am sure almost every single one of us has felt this way one time or another!  There a few ways to conquer your cravings.  Here are my suggestions:

1-First of all take a really good look at what you are eating.  Are you getting enough protein? Healthy fats? Complex carbohydrates? What are your emotions while eating?  Many times we think that we’re eating healthy (no junk food, nothing processed etc) but in fact you may be lacking in some very essential macro and micronutrients which will cause you to have cravings as your body is not getting enough of what it needs.  Most people do not eat enough in a day which can lead to cravings.  The best way to track what you are eating is to keep a food journal or better yet take photos of what you are eating! Would you be proud to write down that cupcake or salty snacks that you are about to eat in your food journal? Probably not! Slip ups will happen (we’re human) but be accountable for it and write it down, I bet you will eat less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff.  Then send a copy of it to me, or better yet, visit a dietician and they will be able to give you more information on what you are missing or what you may be eating too much.  Food journals have been proven to be one of the most effective ways to lose weight! Check out this article that explains why and how to keep a proper food journal http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristin-kirkpatrick-ms-rd-ld/how-writing-everything-do_b_780535.html

2-Stay hydrated! Most people do not drink enough water.  Believe it or not many times when you think you are hungry or craving a snack you are actually thirsty.  Next time you crave a chocolate bar or handful of chips, try reaching for your water bottle instead, you’ll be surprised how many less unhealthy snacks you will be eating!

3-Wait 15 minutes. When a craving hits, it seems like it takes over your world but it doesn’t last long. Distract yourself for 10-15 minutes by cleaning the house, filing papers, walking your pet, reading a book, calling a friend, or running a fun errand. You´ll feel productive or have some much needed fun and forget all about it.  Sounds tough but try it!

4-Never go too long without eating! Hunger can trigger intense cravings for sugary carbohydrates so eating smaller meals every 3-4 hours is a good way to control cravings and it also prevents overeating.  Planning your meals and eating more often also guarantees that you won’t resort to fast food, vending machine junk, or office muffins/chocolates/donuts when the hunger pangs finally strike.

5-Get your beauty sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue often lead to carb cravings because carbs are your body’s number one source of energy. Getting enough sleep or making up for lost sleep with a good nap can prevent serious dips in your energy levels that often lead to cravings.  I can definitely attest to this, if I’m ever sleep deprived all I want to do is eat BAD food!  Don’t forgot the importance of zzzzzzz’s…

6-Exercise it away!  This doesn’t mean you need to do an intense workout but similar to #3, you’ll forget all about it after a brief exercise session.  The other benefit will be how good you’ll feel from all the natural endorphins you produced!

7-Turn off the TV. It is estimated that the average North American watches 15 hours of television per week and are exposed to countless food commercials that can trigger unnecessary food cravings.  Cut back on your t.v. watching and if you can´t cut back then walk out of the room during commercial breaks!!!  

8-Plan a cheat meal!  If you can’t stand the thought of not having any treats during the week then factor them in!  This way you’ll be less tempted to cheat daily if you know you have a planned meal to cheat at the end of the week.  Maybe it works better if you have a 100-300 calorie cheat per day.  You can eat treats in moderation and still lose weight!

9-Brush your teeth or chew gum.  A thorough brushing and flossing distracts you and leaves you with a minty taste in your mouth, one that you won’t want to ruin with the taste of food.  Plus think about how impressed your dentist will be next time you go in for a check-up!?

10-Keep junk food out of the house!! This one works really well for me.  If it’s in the house (ie cookies, chips or candy) I will eat it and uncontrollably (you’re shocked I know!) so I must not even bring it in the house! Think of the saying “Out of sight, out of mind”, if it’s not infront of you, you won’t think about it!  But on those days when all you can think about is oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, maybe go to the store and buy a snack size amount, a little bit won’t kill you!  An even better suggestion is to find a healthier option, for example, if craving something sweet try eating a piece of fruit.  Craving a salty treat? Reach for a dill pickle, it’s crunchy and salty yet less calories and fat than a bag of chips!  These are just a few suggestions, I’m sure you can think of many more!

So Leanne I hope this answers your question!  Now I open the floor to my readers, any other suggestions or tips for my good friend Leanne!? How do you curb your cravings or better yet prevent them from happening!??  Any healthy snacks you suggest for those of us who just have to have a salty/sugary/creamy treat once in awhile?

Next time you feel a craving coming on, hopefully you will remember a few of these tips and will use the tools you learned to help you overcome it!

Good night!

Les 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Are you a slave to your cravings??

  1. Chris says:

    Leslie,

    Great post. I love it! I’m a terrible stress eater myself and enjoy carbs in the evening to be my comfort food. Even a nice sandwich, you know with your favourite meats and mustards and some melted cheese. (OK that came from a flash back of my recovery meals after football practice in High school)

    One thing that has worked wonders for me as I was working on hydration is that if you always want to drink a juice or something with flavour, try adding a wedge of citrus to your glass of water, or even a squirt of lemon juice. As soon as you taste flavour it is no longer ‘just water’ its a beverage.

    A wonderful evening snack (or prepared for workdays) is some lean rosemary ham wrapped around veggies with a small slice of low fat cheese (Think cucumber / zucchini / lightly boiled asparagus or even some fresh bell peppers) I like these because its almost finger food and most of it is cold and requires so little preparation.

    Till next time

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