I’ve lost nearly 70 pounds since April of this year. Even though it has gone by so quickly, it hasn’t been without struggle. The worst part about changing your entire lifestyle is that the old lifestyle is constantly knocking on your door, begging to be let back in. What do I mean by this? Simple: Cravings. Cravings especially haunt women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is something I struggle with. But we all get intense cravings from time-to-time. Especially when we know we shouldn’t eat whatever it is that we’re craving. And, sometimes, it isn’t even what we’re craving that is the problem — it’s just that we’re craving more.
After almost 100 days into my lifestyle change, I’ve become pretty good at avoiding and, on occasion, satisfying my cravings.
Know Which Cravings Should Be Satisfied
Sometimes you need to satisfy your cravings in order to prevent yourself from completely falling off of the wagon. Also, just because you’ve changed your diet doesn’t mean that you should make yourself suffer. Don’t deny yourself anything, particularly if it’s something that you really desire. We’ve all got our guilty pleasures, and it’s healthy to indulge in great moderation. This promotes better mental and emotional well-being.
So, if you are going to indulge in a can of soda or a slice of pizza, be smart about it. Do so on cheat days or if it feels like an emergency, and don’t go crazy on your portions. On the other hand, you should also know when to avoid cravings. I get intense cravings in the evening or when I’m watching a movie. But, I recognize that it’s only because it was habitual and not because I really want it.
Keep Your Mouth Busy
Chewing on gum (preferably sugar-free) and drinking lots of water will help curb your cravings. I always bring a pack of gum with me for when I want to watch movies or do anything that highlights food. It’s been a life-saver on more than one occasion. Sometimes the act of chewing or consuming something will trick your mind and body into thinking that its cravings have been satiated. Plus, drinking a lot of water makes you feel fuller.
Keep Your Mind and Body Busy
Instead of doing stuff that triggers cravings, try doing something different. If you’re serious about losing weight, then you need to get that body in motion even when you’re not working out. If you’re using it as a tool to forget about cravings, then try doing something that utilizes both body and mind. Example: A game like croquet forces you to focus and requires you to be active, but is not physically demanding.
Leave Room For Emergency Snacks
I’ve said it many times before: Plan your meals ahead of time. If you do that, then you can give yourself leeway on the days that you’re not feeling strong. When mapping out your daily calories and portions, leave a little room for a “cheat snack”. This should only be used in cases of extreme stress. Isn’t that still emotional eating? Yes, of course it is. But preparing for a cheat snack helps to keep you on track. Therefore, it is the lesser of two evils. If you plan for it, it might even fit into your daily calorie range. If you find that you’ve gone through the day without needing it, you can substitute that guilty pleasure for something healthier (or you can eliminate it from your day altogether).
Create A Healthy Version
If you’re craving something, look online for healthier recipes if you can’t come up with one yourself. Chances are that someone, somewhere, has found a way to replicate your favorite meal or snack for far fewer calories. Example: Vegetable pizza with cauliflower crust (gluten free).