When You Get a Craving, Does This Ever Happen?
You push it off and can't get it off your mind for the rest of your day.
You push it off and decide to eat other healthier foods to try to satisfy the craving - but it's still there!
You indulge in your cravings and overeat, because you wanted it for so long. You feel like this is your only chance to have it and you can't have any more after this.
If yes, then make sure to read on!
All of these situations are common responses when people experience a craving.
But as you can see, you either push off the craving
(and it usually comes back the very next day)
Or you indulge, and feel guilty and bad about it afterwards.
What can we do instead?
Before we get into it, let's first define:
What Is A Craving?
Here's what a craving is NOT:
Wanting to eat because you're bored.
Wanting to eat because the food is simply there and convenient.
Wanting to eat to distract yourself and procrastinate.
Wanting to eat out of habit.
Those are all valid reasons that we eat.
But for our purposes, if you want to eat out of boredom, convenience, habit, or to distract yourself, it's not necessarily considered a craving per se.
And I'd focus more on addressing those issues itself.
Instead, a craving is a strong desire for a specific food.
You know what I mean.
Here are some of the most common cravings:
(Funny that they all start with the letter C!)
As you can see, the foods we typically crave are usually high in sugar, fat, and salt.
In other words, it's hyper-palatable (this is another word for super delicious!)
How We Tend to Handle Cravings When Trying to Lose Weight
When we experience a craving, aka a strong desire for a specific food -
Even if we try to push it away, or eat a bunch of healthier "filler" foods to try to satisfy the craving
It doesn't work.
It's still there at the end of the day.
In fact, the more we push it away, the stronger the craving tends to get.
It's like when we tell ourselves we can't have X, that makes us want it even more.
And when we eat a bunch of healthy food as an alternative to try to satisfy the craving (like fruit, veggies and dip), it often backfires because we eat a bunch of extra calories, and we STILL have the craving.
And many times, we end up eating the food we're craving anyways... 🙄
At the end of the day, these tactics are all forms of restriction and often backfire.
Instead, how can we have our cake and eat it too?
How to Handle Cravings And Still Lose Weight
Instead of asking you to muster superhuman willpower time after time to try to suppress your cravings
I'm going to propose something different.
Give yourself full permission to indulge in your cravings - in a mindful manner.
Counter-intuitively, this can actually satisfy your cravings so much that you only need to eat a moderate portion and you're good for the next little while.
Rather than restricting and resisting -
Because oftentimes, the more we restrict, the stronger the craving gets.
Which can end up in binge eating or overeating once we do give in to the food we're craving (this is bound to happen at some point if our craving isn't satisfied)
Then feeling guilty as we tell ourselves we can't have it.
And the cycle of restriction begins once again.
But here's a few caveats:
This only applies if it's a "true" craving -
In other words, not if you simply want to eat because you're bored, out of convenience, or out of habit.
(Trust me, this is super common!)
2. If you're the type of person who will eat it simply because it's around, avoid keeping it in the house
Otherwise, you're setting your environment up to encourage you to eat the food just because it's there (even if you're not necessarily craving it).
It's like putting a plate of cookies in front of you all day; it's setting yourself up for failure.
This doesn't mean you can't ever have the food
It just means that if you truly want it, you'll have to get up, go to the store (ideally walk there), and buy a single-serving portion of whatever you're craving.
(Not a dozen pack of it)
Then go home and enjoy!
3. Make sure to indulge mindfully.
By this, I mean to eat mindfully when you do indulge in your cravings.
This looks like:
Eating without distractions - no phone, laptop, or tv
Making a conscious effort to eat slowly - rather than wolfing it down
Making a conscious effort to notice all of the different tastes, textures, and smells of the food as you eat it
When you do this, you give yourself the opportunity to take a moment to truly enjoy and indulge in your food, and ultimately, to satisfy your craving.
Quality over quantity.
And that's it!
In short, give yourself full permission to indulge in your cravings.
But only if it's a true craving and not out of boredom, convenience or habit.
And when you do, indulge mindfully!
This looks like having a moderate portion of the food, eating slowly, and making a conscious effort to enjoy the different tastes, flavors, and aroma that the food offers - the whole experience of eating!
And this is how indulging in your cravings can actually help you to eat less calories in the long-run, maintain a healthy relationship with food, and not feel so restricted all of the time.
👇 Let me know down below - what's your greatest takeaway?
If you'd like more in depth tips on how to handle your cravings, click here to access my FREE Crush Your Cravings Guide!