Are you sick and tired of giving in when an urge strikes and feeling like the “cravings” puppet?
My experience with food cravings was a struggle that lasted 25 years. The worst thing about it is that I felt totally powerless to do anything about them. The cravings always won and I felt compelled to indulge them.
I spent most of my days promising myself that I would “start tomorrow morning “ only to find myself convinced by late afternoon that “just one more time couldn’t hurt,” or “I could always start again tomorrow.” As you probably guessed, tomorrow never came.
My recovery came from learning to feed my body a diet from whole, natural foods and a shift in my thinking.
These 5 steps to banish sweet cravings will help you deal with the temptations, challenges and imbalances that drive you to want certain foods.
Step 1: A Hormone-Balancing Eating Plan.
A well-designed nutrition plan can virtually eliminate cravings. Here’s how.
If your goal is to break free from annoying cravings, then it’s important that you reprogram your biology by “detoxing” from the drug-like foods and beverages you’ve been hooked on, eating balanced regular meals, and addressing any hormonal imbalances you have.
Here is a simple healthy eating formula you can follow each day:
- Include plenty of fresh vegetables, lean proteins and healthy plant-based fats in your daily diet
- Eat carbohydrates with fat or protein, rather than on their own as they can cause a blood sugar reaction in a lot of people. This reaction leaves you hungry, and craving more carbs, within 1 – 2 hours of eating.
- Eat them together, every 4 hours or so
- Eat until hunger is gone and you feel comfortable, over a 20-minute period.
Step 2: Get Adequate Sleep.
Beating fatigue with good quality sleep helps you avoid the vicious cycle of fatigue and subsequent ‘energy cravings.
I am sure you have experienced sugar cravings when you feel tired and you may fall into a vicious cycle of fatigue, cravings, and weight leading to other health issues.
Studies indicate that getting enough sleep is one factor that can help promote weight control, by priming the brain mechanisms that govern your food choices and control your food cravings.
Some tips for better sleep include:
- Switching off devices by 6pm
- Starting a relaxation routine after dinner
- Using a worry journal to ‘park’ your worries until another time
- Setting a standard bed time, you can stick to on most nights
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sweet foods after 6pm
Step 3: Accept the cravings.
Accept your cravings as a natural part of your being and welcome them with confidence.
When I refer to accepting cravings, I am not suggesting you should act on them!
For example, when a craving strikes :
- Recognize the destructive thoughts which justify your cravings.
- Accept that the cravings exist and reassure yourself that it’s OK to feel them.
- And there is nothing “wrong” with you for feeling them so intensely.
Step 4: Changing the thought.
Accepting the craving is great and next step is identifying your thoughts. This buys you some time to change your thinking and make the right decision.
For example, when a craving strikes :
- Pause and remind yourself “This is a thought and I don’t have to act on it”.
- Do it quickly, no debate, to shut of the action the thought may provoke
- And then sit with the craving for long enough to enable you to make the right decision.
Step 5: Substitute something healthier for your craving.
We tend to crave what we reinforce. Identify and substitute something healthier for your craving, and you should eventually find you crave the healthier option instead.
For example, when a craving strikes:
- Have something on hand that is a similar flavour that addresses the cravings, but in a food that is more satisfying and healthier.
- This requires planning and preparation beforehand so that you always have these foods on hand
And lastly, remember that every craving is actually an opportunity to eradicate a bad habit, and should be welcomed, not feared!
Now I would love to hear from you.…
• What action do you take when you experience an urge to eat that is not hunger related?
Please comment below and we can start a discussion.
The Carousel would like to thank Irena Geller for her contribution.