We’ve all been there. That moment when all you want to eat is that one thing or type of thing. Before you know it, you’re surrounded with empty junk food or take out containers and the guilt has set in. It doesn’t have to be this way, at least not all of the time or even half of the time. Put your cravings into perspective By asking :
How do I REALLY feel now? Are you overtired, bored, depressed and/or susceptible to mood changes due to weather changes or menstrual cycle (ladies) ? Then you might be craving simple sugars aka quick carbs to boost your energy and mood. Are you dehydrated, overtrained and/or stressed/anxious? Then you might be craving salty, crunchy foods to level yourself out. Are you PMSing and/or suffer from difficult periods? Then all of the above might be true at any given moment as your hormones take you on a roller coaster ride —> forgive yourself but plan for and around your cycle by keeping healthy options on hand. On the flip side, sometimes all you want is a cookie for a cookie’s sake which isn’t necessarily emotional eating but can have the same effects.
What do I REALLY need/crave? That first bite that floods our mouths with flavor can seem so fulfilling, albeit in the short term. Why else would we have taste-buds if not to enjoy eating, right? True but emotionally eating means turning to food to provide what we aren’t getting in real life. Do you really just “want something sweet or salty” or are you in need of comfort, a sense of familiarity/ nostalgia for more secure times, or simply an energy boost? In short, do you just want a burst of feel good hormones because you’re not feeling so good right now?
What home-made version can I substitute? Not gonna lie: I eat so much that I often run out of food because healthy foods perish quickly. After realizing how much I was spending and just how MUCH butter and salt is added to even the most innocent looking take-out food, my dining out days were reduced. Now I stroll by buffets looking for recipe ideas to make on my own. Take pizza for example: I haven’t needed to buy a slice or pie since I realized that it’s the gooey, salty crunchiness of it that I like. Why waste money and calories when you can make a more nutrient rich version for yourself? A whole wheat pita (gluten free if need be) brushed with olive oil, baked to crispiness and topped with yogurt or cottage cheese and tomato sauce is far less expensive in both calories and cash.
How will I feel after I eat this? If, after you have asked all of these questions and the answer is “guilty or even worse than before”, indulging surely it isn’t worth the trouble. Do you have that nagging feeling that you will still be thinking about it later? Then it’s probably best to diffuse it early by having a small portion. Otherwise you might find ourself eating the substitution AND giving into the craving for even more calories.
You know the saying that the definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing repeatedly and expect different results? Not changing how you respond to cravings can be what’s keeping you off track. Get them under control and you might just break through that plateau!