When you suddenly decide “THAT’S IT! I’m eating CLEAN from here on out” and you purge your house of all the junk food and things that are aiding in your trashy eating and then BLAM you get hit with a craving for something super sweet and maybe even candy and you have none … you will get one of two responses when you turn to Instagram or Twitter for help:
A) “Don’t you dare do it! Be strong and ignore those cravings! Candy is nothing, sexy fitness is everything GRRR!!!!”
B) “Oh just a few pieces won’t hurt you! Just go get some. It’s cool!”
Here’s the problem with that – ignoring a craving can make you binge and binge in a bad way. When a handful of some sweet treat is enough to keep the craving under control, and you deny that, suddenly a handful isn’t enough. Suddenly you need the entire bag of chocolate chips you bought for cookies you were going to make for a friends birthday, even if you actually hate chocolate. Oops.
But sometimes just having a handful, or having a few pieces isn’t helpful either because you are trying to be good and you know that one handful will lead to another because you have no self control and suddenly the entire back of marshmallows is gone in one episode of Supernatural and well that didn’t help things much, now did it?
Here’s the deal: I don’t diet. I’m a firm believer of everything in moderation, and I mean everything. But I’m also a realist, and I know that there are some things that trigger my inner Cookie Monster like tendencies like no other: soda, taffy, and ice cream are a few of the things I can’t have in my house because I know that within days of the purchase, they will be gone. I’m talking a full 12 pack of soda, a giant bag of taffy, and a half gallon of ice cream. Gone. In 2 days. Yep, I’ve done it.
Sure there are things out there that make it a little bit easier. For example, after a long time I started to buy the single cup ice cream cups. And for a while I was able to limit myself to one cup a night. One serving, and it’s perfect. Only it lasted a matter of a few days and then I ate all the ice cream cups. And as I sat among the plastic containers, still licking my spoon trying to get the last bit of fudge off of the edges, I knew. I knew that things had to change.
Now, ice cream is a treat I go out and get. If I really want it, I have to go get it.
And you know what? That’s okay. Understanding how you eat and how you handle your “trigger foods” is a good thing, because it’s after getting that understanding you know what you can and cannot have around you in a moment of weakness. Dreamboat knows I hate chocolate, so if he decides to bring a Snickers bar (or three) home, he knows they are safe because I’m not going to eat them. He also knows that if we have potato chips at the house, he needs to put them on the top shelf or else I will eat them all.
Here are some of my tips for eating healthy, and dealing with cravings:
Figure out what you REALLY want: Do you really want junk food? Or are you stressed? Or depressed? Or both? I’m a big stress eater. The more stressed I get, the junkier the food gets. That’s why you need to take a step back and think “Am I really hungry?” before you reach over and grab something to snack on. And if you ARE hungry, then figure out what you are hungry for and make something instead of hitting the vending machine. It’ll take some time but it’ll be better for you. Also, carry healthy snacks with you. I adore Clif Bars. Their white chocolate macadamia nut bars are fantastic, and they have just enough sweetness to satisfy that sweet tooth. In fact, I have two at my work desk right now and they carry some other flavors upstairs in the break room. Win/Win.
Do some healthy swapping: I love Lays potato chips, preferably Ranch or BBQ. But they aren’t the healthiest of snacks. So instead, I make a lot of popcorn with just a pinch of kosher salt to taste. It’s a healthier swap, and I can eat a lot more popcorn than I can chips. It’s the same way with some of my sweet cravings. Instead of grabbing lots of candy, I turn to things like popsicles, fruit, or banana chips. Check out this page for some cool candy substitutes.
Eat the treat, dude: If you want that sweet treat and don’t care, then go for it. One day of bad eating isn’t going to wreck your diet, just like how one specific meal is going to ruin your girlish figure. Granted – be careful in picking the treats. If you are intolerant of something, weigh the pros and cons and make sure you choose the right decision for you. For example, I avoid gluten like the plague, but I also drink a beer on occasion and beer has gluten. But the main point is if you eat an overall healthy diet and select your treats smartly, then go for it. Sometimes it’s worth splurging and enjoying a cheat meal with your version of dreamboat and friends. And if you are still trying to monitor your intake, then eat it in moderation. MODERATION. I love that word.
What are some of the tricks and tips you have for people fighting cravings?