I don’t know about you, but I struggle big time when it comes to cravings. “Hi, I’m Hollie. Please give me all the sugar and candy in sight. So nice to meet you!” But if there is one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that cravings are a psychological thing. Unless you have some sort of severe malnourishment or deficiency, you get cravings because your brain is programmed to think that you “need” it.
Give me the Spicy Chicken and no one gets hurt.
Let me tell you a little story… As some of you know, my husband and I moved to Denmark in the Fall of 2016 when I was super pregnant. I’m talking like 6/7ish months pregnant. Up until that point in my pregnancy, I just listened to my cravings as they came. I was super sick during the first 5 months so whenever something sounded good, I would just chow down (only because not that much sounded good in the first place). I was basically a slave to my cravings and I told myself that it was fine because at least it was food. Fast forward just a tiny bit to when we are in Denmark. Denmark is an all-around healthy place to live. They don’t have a ton of fast food options (no Wendy’s, Panda Express, Cafe Rio, or Taco Bell) and they make most things from scratch. Of course, you can go out of your way and hit up McDonald’s but it’s much more difficult when you don’t have a car and it would take you 2 hours to get there and back. One morning I woke up and I wanted a Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s SO BAD. Like so bad (a weird breakfast craving, I know). There was zero possibility of getting it and guess what happened? I ate a normal breakfast of oatmeal and it was boring… but my craving went away. I told my brain/body that it just wasn’t happening and I forgot about that Spicy Chicken.
7 tips to control those craving
Ever since my weird pregnancy craving situation, I’ve known from personal experience that my cravings are all mental and have nothing to do with nutrients or a physical need (I mean, who really needs a Spicy Chicken to be healthy? No one). Because of this, I’ve decided to make a list of things that help me when I am feeling out-of-control and just want to eat whatever.
1. Drink a crap-ton of water
Honestly, this should always be your first go-to defense when trying to fend off a craving. It is very common to perceive your thirst as hunger, so it is smart to just double check. If you are still hungry after drinking 2 glasses of water, then let’s try something else.
2. Eat some protein
Grab a small, low-calorie, protein-rich snack (like a bit of sliced meat, some roasted chickpeas, or an egg). Protein is really awesome at helping you feel fuller, longer. It has a very high satiety rate and that gives you a really good bang for your buck. If your stomach feels full, there is a way smaller chance that you’ll cave to the craving.
3. Stop, drop, and meditate
Meditation might sound super crunchy and a little hippy, but I am telling you that it is freaking amazing. You don’t even have to get down into the stereotypical position if you don’t want to. I find that it helps me stay a little more self-aware when I am on the floor instead of the couch. Meditation can be done anywhere and can take as little as 1 minute to clear your mind and get focused back on your goals. I have a subscription to the Headspace app and I freaking love it. They have a ton of different options and times so that you can pick the one that works the best for you. When you try meditation, let me know what you think. K?
4. Dirty mouth? Clean it up!
Brushing your teeth is a great way to physically put some space between you and your craving. Not to mention that if the minty taste is strong enough, it’ll naturally discourage you from wanting to eat right after. Have you ever brushed your teeth right before eating breakfast only to realize what a huge mistake you’ve made? Remember that feeling, people. It’s an important feeling when you are fighting the craving craze.
5. Pound the produce
You can also help fill up your stomach by eating a bowl full of broccoli, cucumbers, or bell peppers (my personal faves). They are low in calorie but they have a lot of volume. I know that a bowl of broccoli isn’t the best thing ever but you’ll start to get used to it the more that you do it.
6. Acknowledge your game plan
Decide a specific time when you will eat next. Will it be in 2 hours? 1 hour? 30 minutes? Whenever it is, tell yourself that you can wait. Just wait until your next food break. You can still eat whatever treat you are craving but you just have to wait it out. The longer you wait, the stronger you’ll feel and the craving might even go away. You never know!
7. If all else fails, just eat it
If you are really just DYING to have that naughty food then just eat it. It’s not the end of the world. You aren’t suddenly going to be 5 lbs heavier or never reach your goals. Recognize what you are doing (I am eating some chocolate), eat a small but satisfying portion (who said that if you have some then you must eat the entire chocolate bar?) and move on with your day. Try your best to move forward and don’t let it be the thing that makes you “give up” on your healthy diet for the rest of the day. Just hop right back on track and live yo’ life.