By Lauren Denos: 1/5/2015 (Nutrition)

Food cravings seem to be the bane of our healthy lifestyles. Many times we know what we need to eat and we are doing well, working out and making progress towards our better health and the food cravings hit and it is all over! Well not anymore! Once you understand what is happening, then you can put a plan into action and overcome these demons that have been thwarting your healthy new lifestyle. Here are 10 food craving truths and how to combat them to get to the gold!

  1. Eat in a way that makes you happy and supports your healthy lifestyle. The secret is: having a realistic eating plan. Before you go off the wall with your diet, why not find a healthy way that you can eat and maintain for life instead of for a few weeks and then binge. When you go with a more moderate approach you are much more likely to stick with it. Really getting your sexy body is not a short quick fix project. Rather, it is something you want to maintain for life. Have you heard the saying, “it is not the destination but the journey that matters?” Well, in this case, that is very true. From what I have seen, people are never done with their health goals. There is always more that they want to accomplish. You are on a journey; why not make it one that you can enjoy. So maybe chocolate is a weak point for you, okay then have some chocolate. Enjoy it and have no guilt about eating it. Eat in a way that makes you happy and supports your health goals.

    For me, I eat lean meat and veggies for most of my meals, but I may add some less than healthy sauce once in a while. I enjoy it and it keeps me on track. Some people do the 80/20 or 90/10 split. That is eating good 80-90% of the time and “cheating” or having “reward meals” the other 10-20% of the time. Fiddle with it and find what works best for you.

  2. You can have treats anytime you want. The secret is: scarcity creates many irresistible cravings. I know for me when I am thinking, “okay after this chocolate I am going to be super strict and really stick to it,” then suddenly I can’t stop eating and obsessing over chocolate. But if I tell myself I can have a piece whenever I want, suddenly I’m not craving it so much. It becomes something that is yummy, but not really an intense craving. Many people operate from a place of scarcity, it shows itself in different areas of our lives, but you can really see it in food. It happens a lot for people who have over-eating issue. They may think that they do not know when they will get food again so they eat more right away even to the point of being sick. That’s why it’s important to learn that you can have treats, you are not cutting them out completely. Just keep them in small portions and do not eat the sweets on an empty stomach.

  3. Why are you eating healthier? Ask yourself why you are doing this. Then, make a list of all the pros and cons of creating this habit. What will you get from eating healthier and what will happen 3, 6, 12 months down the road. Let’s say if you start eating healthier today you pros could be - feel better, more energy, look better, etc. On the flip side, the cons would be if you do not start this habit today, then you are going to keep declining in your health and as you get older you will be able to do less and less. You may not be able to have fun with your spouse, kids, grandkids, etc. The secret is always making sure your reasons for doing something is for you, not for something you think someone else wants of you. If you want to look better then dig a little deeper, why do you want to look better? Are you tired of people staring or making comments, do you want to feel good throughout the day. Do you want to love looking in the mirror? The point is make it a decision for you and make sure your reasons are emotionally charged so you can go back to them and have a real reason why you are doing this. Write your list and post it somewhere you will see all the time.

  4. Eat more! So many people skip meals thinking that because they are getting fewer calories that they are doing a great thing for their weight loss. Not so. Your body needs fuel throughout the day not just once or twice. Can you lose weight eating only once or not much, yes, but it is not in a way that is sustainable or healthy for your body. Eat more small meals though out the day. If you don’t have the time to eat 5-6 small meals then at least focus on getting 3 healthy meals in and snacks between meals if possible. Breakfast is especially important; it sets the mood for your whole day and for your cravings. Start the day off right. Many people say they cannot eat in the morning, that is what you have been training your body for, so if you start giving yourself some small meals in the morning you will eventually have your body to a place where you can get a full breakfast in. Aim for something really nutritious like eggs or some other lean protein and veggies or fruit. Stay away from the sugary stuff first thing in the morning, like I said, breakfast sets the mood for your day.

  5. A simple set up for success to save time and health is to be prepared. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail! Keep healthy food in the house. If you stock your house with as much healthy food as possible then you are setting yourself up for success. Keep the junk food out of the house if possible. For instance, if I am really craving chocolate, I have to go out and buy a piece because I do not keep it in the house. When you are prepared with plenty of good stuff in the house then when you have your craving you can first reach for something that is better for you to see if that curbs it. Being prepared is one of the biggest lessons I have learned. Have healthy snacks on hand in case you take longer getting home or running errands. I always have a bag of almonds on me; it has served me well on many occasions. Planning your meals can also be very helpful. I cook a few types of meat and a pot of vegetables, and then I can add things to it as I see fit. This way I have the basics of my meals for the whole day ready to go. You can see what types of preparations are best for you, but do it! It can mean the difference between having that sexy body you have always wanted and declining into bad health.

  6. Discover new munchies that make you happy. The secret is to replace what you are craving with something better for you. Drink water, eat some nuts, chew gum, etc. If you replace what you are eating during cravings this will make things much easier. I do keep a variety of gum on me, and now they have apple pie gum and other dessert gums – they are EPIC! I also drink tons of water to make sure I am not hungry out of thirst. I have noticed when I have sweet or salty cravings that reaching for nuts or a little nut butter really satisfies it. If you are having salty cravings, trade out some crispy roasted peas or some roasted chick peas. Veggies and fruit can be a great alternative for munchie type food. I also make my own healthy versions of my favorite foods like healthy chocolates.

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