Cravings. We all have them! Salty, sweet, crunchy, chocolatey. They are hard to resist and we tend to turn the blame to our lack of willpower. But when cravings are in full force, willpower is the last thing we want to turn too. When sleep deprived, stressed, or you just do not care, willpower is tired as well and not going to kick in to help you resist your cravings. In fact, resisting your cravings actually make you want whatever you are craving MORE. No wonder so many people on diets fail.
Let’s face it, when cravings arise we want immediate gratification now and are willing to focus on our health later. We make decisions that are not in line with our goals because we know we will start on Monday. We believe that our future self will be able to resist temptations, even when are current self does not. We justify our indulgences because somehow it makes us feel better, that because we worked out for an hour we now deserve to eat that cheeseburger. We convince ourselves that all our good behavior cancels out our bad behavior. Could we entertain the idea that dieting is a better way to GAIN weight, then to lose weight?
It may actually surprise you, what I am about to share, on how you can handle your cravings.
Build in indulgences.
I have chocolate bars that sit in my freezer on a regular basis and I have eaten a piece or two every single day for the last 6 months. When Halloween rolled around last year, I could care less about any piece of candy I had encountered because I had been eating it everyday. And I did not notice a single negative change in my body.
Sometimes for breakfast I eat whole eggs, sometimes with bacon AND toast.
At dinner I leave cheese on my salads and I take bites of my boyfriends fries, double bacon cheese burgers and carne asada burritos.
I have been know to dip my daily chocolate in a jar of peanut butter.
If I did ALL these things at every meal, in large quantities, every single day I probably would not be able to maintain my physique in the way I want. BUT I do at least one or two of these things, in small quantities, every single day!!
Mainstream thinking avoids these kinds of foods when dieting, but science is actually showing that by restricting food like this, we are actually increases our cravings for it. Recognize your temptation but do not dwell on it. Focus on the foods you can eat and practice building small indulgences in to your routine most days during the week and see how you do.
The 10 minute rule.
There is something about instant gratification that we thrive off of, thrive in a sense that it makes us feel good temporarily. The bag of chips may make us feel good in the moment, but not after. The entire pizza may feel comforting temporarily, but create a whole range of discomfort from anxiety and guilt to bloating and physical discomfort.
Usually it is less about the food, and more about having something instantly. Studies actually show that the longer you wait for something, the less important it is to you. The longer you wait for something the easier it is to say no. This is called delaying gratification.
So, here is how I would like you to implement this with your eating. The next time you are tempted by late night snacking, dessert, fast food, or going back for seconds when you are stuffed, I want you to do this: Wait 10 minutes. Tell yourself that if in 10 minutes you still want that particular food, you can have it. When food becomes less about the immediate gratification it makes it easier to say no. Give this a try and see how it works for you.
The Peanut Butter Effect – Face Your Fear
Now for this last piece of advice, you have to give yourself a little bit of love, trust and benefit of the doubt. Remember the more you resist something, the more you want it. The more you try to avoid a certain food, the more you desire it.
If you love ice cream and often feel tempted by it, it is much easier to keep it out of the house. This does help. When you do not have it around you won’t eat it. And that may be a good idea to start but what happens when you go to a birthday party, your friend orders ice cream after dinner or the whole family stops by Coldstone? How will you handle it when faced with what you fear the most? How can you indulge without overindulging?
I had to face my love/fear of peanut butter by buying individual peanut butter packets for 6 months or so. I went through a phase where peanut butter fingers were my favorite snacks. Friends reference anyone? Anyways, you can rack up 500 calories and 50 grams of fat without even thinking about it!
So I spent way too much money buying individual serving sized peanut butter packs for awhile to help control my intake. Once I realized that I could have one serving and be ok, I introduced the jar back into my home and the relationship improved greatly. You could use my daily chocolate indulging as an example as well. When having these things often, in moderation of course, I don’t crave them or feel the need to HAVE to have them.
The other day it was 9 pm and I realized I hadn’t had my daily chocolate. I expected myself to run to the fridge to get it, but I just shrugged my shoulders and felt like I could take it or leave it.
When we can develop this kind of relationship with food, it is less mentally consuming and draining and we can put more energy and time into others things. And isn’t that what we want? To live in a way where we feel freedom from food and the stress that comes with it.