For some, it’s a very difficult journey trying to become a healthier person. We dread having to give up some of those not-so-healthy foods and things we love – especially those foods we “binge” on.
When you do make the determined effort to get on a healthier course and healthier diet, to begin with people are often so enthusiastic and determined that the momentum is great once you’ve made that decision to change your life.
However, after you have been doing it for a while, those insatiable cravings start to creep in and you are faced with choices. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people necessarily given up, but often those darn cravings creep in. Even though I try to stay on a healthy, clean eating regimen, there are times when I indulge myself in some kind of “treat.” We all need to make room in our diet to indulge occasionally. Still, it’s how you deal with those cravings in the long-term that can make or break your success.
So why do we have these cravings? There are many reasons why our brains tell us we desperately need something, when in reality we don’t. For example, I can be sitting on the couch in the evening, maybe just an hour after dinner, and my mind starts telling me I really need some chocolate, or some peanuts, or some other type of food. Sometimes it’s very hard not to give in.
If you are just beginning on your journey to a healthier lifestyle and you are experiencing these cravings, take a break to evaluate the changes you are making:
- Are you eating enough calories every day?
- Have you overcompensated at the gym and been really pushing yourself more than you should?
- Are you really stressed out?
- Are you getting enough rest?
- Are you obsessed with your wellness journey?
- Are you drinking enough water?
Let me ask you a question. What’s your calorie intake like?
Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean reducing your food intake. In fact, if you are eating more healthy choices – which include salads and fresh or cooked vegetables – you may actually find you are eating more than you have in the past. Eating healthily is more than calorie counting. If you are eating the right foods and staying on a healthy path, counting calories will become a thing of the past.
Tip: Portion control is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Try switching out your large dinner plate for a smaller plate. In doing so, you are much more likely to stay within the recommended portions you should be eating.
How about your physical exercise? Have you been in overdrive at the gym you joined to become healthy? Make sure if you are just starting out, you exercise wisely and build up your strength. Incorporate both cardio and weight training into your regimen. But whatever you are doing for your exercise, make sure you are getting the rest your body needs. Incorporate rest days into your exercise routine so that your body has time to repair itself.
Also, be sure you are getting enough sleep. 7 to 8 hours a night is recommended.
Stress is huge in affecting our cravings and food desires. Although stress affects different people in different ways, many cravings are induced by stress. So evaluate your stress level and especially what is causing your stress. What can you do to reduce your stress? Of course, exercise is a great stress-buster. Also, working out keeps us busy so that we don’t have as much time to think about food and focus on eating.
- Eating more green vegetables, fatty fish, avocados, nuts, and even drinking green tea, can help.
- Being on a healthy diet can also reduce your stress levels.
- Green tea is a great way to wind down as the amino acids in it are a wonderful caffeine combatant, thus helping you get a better night’s sleep.
When you are first transitioning into a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to obsess about it. However, in the long-run that only sets you to sabotage your success. It’s far better and more sustainable when you make small, manageable changes to your lifestyle. Taking this approach is the wisest choice rather than making all the nutrition and exercise changes at once. Just like that old saying goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” That holds true with our lifestyle changes.
When you find yourself craving something that you know you don’t want to eat, crowd out that craving with healthy food and snacks. Don’t just deprive yourself of eating and refuse to put anything in your mouth for fear you will grab for that thing you crave – get some healthy snacks or healthy food instead.
Water is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’re craving foods, maybe you’re not drinking enough water. If you are craving something unhealthy, try drinking a glass of water; wait 20 to 30 minutes and see if you’re still craving that unhealthy food. If you are still feeling hungry, then have a healthy snack.
Tip: Make sure you have prepared little bagfuls of healthy snacks that you can just grab and eat. When we have to think too much about what to eat, you” find yourself grabbing the first thing you can get hold of. Preparation and planning ahead is key to healthy eating.
Lastly, do not let discouragement sabotage your success. You may not see visible changes for a while, but you will see them as the weeks go by. Your body is changing on the inside, and as you continue to work out, exercise, eat right and sleep right, you will soon see the outside changes in your body, and you will most definitely feel the changes.
As you continue to incorporate these practices into your life, the cravings will go away and you will be in control again. Be patient! Kick the sugar habit in the but! Let the cravings go! You can do it.