I'm certainly no stranger to the occasional urge to rip open a chocolate bar, go through the drive-thru window, or dive into a bag of my favorite chips -- and I'll bet you aren't a stranger to this either. The occasional indulgence isn't anything to be alarmed about, but if you find yourself licking the remnants of these indulgences off your fingers on a more regular basis, you’ll need to practice some control to get in charge of those cravings. The goal here is to be in charge of your cravings, not have them be in charge of you.
Here’s how to handle these cravings and get back in the saddle for your healthy routine.
Get to the root of your cravings
Take note of when you’re going for these foods. Is it boredom? Did you have a horrible day at work? Is it that time of the month? All of these things can be a trigger for your cravings. Try to be mindful of them once you identify them. Next time the craving comes around, stop and evaluate your surroundings, noticing what may be triggering this craving. Restrain yourself 80% of the time and enjoy the things you crave 20% of the time. Eating healthy the majority of the time will lower your cravings drastically, anyway.
Try to eat regularly
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you eat regularly, meaning don't skip meals, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel. Pack a healthy snack to enjoy when you find it difficult to make it to lunch or dinner in time. By doing so, you’ll feel satisfied and will be less likely to head to the office vending machine or a quick stop at the drive-thru.
Slow down when eating
Mindful eating is the best way to keep from overeating, whether you’re eating a nutritious meal or splurging. Your brain doesn’t get the message that your stomach is full for about 20 minutes. Therefore, slowly chew your food. Savor the flavors. You will notice that the desire to eat your entire portion is diminished, and so will your appetite for dessert.
Do something else
Cravings never last forever. Eventually, you’ll forget about your craving if you distract yourself. Go for a walk, read a book, message your friends, put up the laundry or involve yourself with anything else that you can think of. Before you know it, you’ll have forgotten about that nagging craving.
If you really can’t help munching while you are watching a movie, swap out unhealthy options for healthier ones. Choose crispy carrot and celery sticks with hummus or a small serving of mixed nuts. Want something cool, sweet and refreshing? Freeze melon balls to get an ice cream-like experience without the guilt.
Keep your food cravings out of the house
You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind,” right? It’s so true when it comes to food cravings. As much as possible, keep these things out of your home. If you get late-night cravings, you won’t have those things around to binge on, and you’ll be less likely to go out of your way to get them.
Cravings will come and go, but when you're armed with solutions to combat them, you're putting yourself in the position to control the cravings, rather than being controlled by them.
So, let's get honest here. My biggest craving I get is chocolate covered anything. I notice it happens when when I'm hungry, tired and late at night.
What craving nags you the most?
And if sugar is a craving that you want to combat, Join the challenge today!
They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit.
So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is that it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit. Giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar on the other hand might take a lot longer.
When we ask that question, what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore? In other words, when will this new behavior become automatic?
While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind.
It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe.
Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day. Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day at 6pm, right after dinner for example.
A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard. Or put up a picture to remind you that you’re making frugal habits so you can one day purchase your dream home. Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center and then be prepared to stick it out. Yes it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end.
Start creating your new habits and be on your way to
better health and well-being!
It is frustrating when you are trying so hard to lose weight, but no loss is reflected on your scale; in fact, it shows you have gained a pound or two. Why does that happen?
Believe it or not, this is usually a good weight gain. Of course, if you are eating more then this could be the cause. But if not, you can expect the weight to come off over time, so be patient and stay the course.
When first starting an exercise program, your body goes through many changes. One of them is called adaptation. If you have gone from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one now that you are exercising, your body might be storing more glycogen which it uses as energy to fuel your cells.
Glycogen is made up of glucose and water. In fact, one-part glucose and three parts water. So what effect can this have on your weight? The average person carries about 15 grams of glycogen per kg of body weight. If we do the math, we see that a 200-pound person would carry about three pounds of glycogen.
However, when you bring exercising into the mix, the actual amount of glycogen stored can increase quite a bit which means carrying more weight. As your body adjusts to its new lifestyle, this excess weight will come off.
Another part of adaptation that can cause weight gain are the small tears which occur in muscle fibers as a result of exercising. These small tears are called micro-trauma and while small, they cause inflammation in the body. As part of the healing process, blood vessels open up and white blood cells are directed to the affected area. This can cause swelling until the tears are healed. These small tears are what cause you to be sore after your first few exercise sessions.
Contrary to popular belief muscle does not weigh more than fat. If you put 5 pounds of fat on a scale and 5 pounds of muscle on another scale to compare, both scales will read 5 pounds. As you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight might actually show more on the scale, but in reality you are getting healthier. The number on the scale is only one indicator you should watch.
Most people put way too much faith in that number. It can fluctuate a lot on a daily basis depending on what is going on inside your body.
My best advice is continue to eat clean, exercise regularly and be patient, your desired outcome is on its way.