This post is for those who commented on my facebook page “I need tips for when I’m craving junk food!!”
First of all, this is probably not going to be the regular tips that you may expect from a nutritionist and personal trainer.
First thing that I will always say is:
1.) EAT WHAT YOU CRAVE.
First and foremost my attitude towards life and food is BALANCE. I do not think you should banish all junk food and in fact I think that when you do you just want it more. Ever start a diet and all of a sudden want every single thing that contains sugar in large quantities for no apparent reason? It’s like when people tell you not to think about a pink elephant. You are going to want what you can’t have!! Imagine if you really craved brownies. You LOVE brownies. But you know they aren’t not ideal nutritionally and you really want to lose 10lbs, so you never make brownies or enjoy them. When you do have them you go completely overboard because you feel like you need go straight back on your diet “tomorrow” and you already “ruined” today so might as well eat the whole pan. Then you feel terribly guilty for over indulging in brownies and it is just a terrible cycle.
Here’s another scenario. Imagine if you could eat brownies whenever you wanted? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert. You eat as many brownies as you like. Pretty soon those brownies are not going to look so appetizing and you’ll probably be craving some fruits and vegetables pretty quick.
Here is what I propose: Do not make foods off limits. Eat lots of healthy foods during the day and make sure you are getting your nutrition in line (if you need help with this, you know who to call). You may actually find that you aren’t craving the brownie anymore when you are actually fuelling your body properly and eating enough carbohydrates! At the end of the day you still want a brownie? Get the absolute BEST brownie you can have. Don’t settle for anything dry or stale or less than AMAZING. You are going to put it on a plate and eat without distractions and ENJOY EVERY BITE of that brownie. Maybe you won’t even want more than one bite- because guess what- you can have another bite in an hour. Or tomorrow. Or you can eat the whole damn thing as long as you are loving each and every bite! Studies have shown that after 3 bites of something it really doesn’t taste that great anymore and you have successfully filled that craving.
Today I had a great breakfast, snack, and lunch and I was craving something sweet. I put a scoop of my favourite ice-cream in a cute little bowl. I had about 2 bites. It was delicious and just what I needed! I didn’t need a whole bowl or even a whole scoop. I felt happy and satisfied. I can eat ice-cream whenever I want, so I don’t feel the need to eat the entire carton in one sitting.
So thats my number one tip. If you are CONSTANTLY craving sugar/carbs/junk and maybe you want to reduce these cravings for health reasons; here are some ideas that I find work well if I am in fact eating out of boredom or emotional reasons.
1.) Get a whole bunch of teas! I LOVE TEA. There are soooo many flavours. A nice hot cup of tea curled up on the couch post dinner can be immensely satisfying, not to mention hydrating and good for you. I love David’s Tea and literally have about 50 different flavours in my house for whatever craving may strike!
2.) Make sure you are eating enough during the day! SO MANY of my clients come to me for a nutrition consult and they always say “I’m so hungry all the time I don’t know whats wrong with me!” NOTHING is wrong with you! You are NOT EATING ENOUGH. I know it seems completely obvious but for some reason everyone has this preconceived notion of what they “should” be eating, and if they eat more than that they feel like they are out of control. We have completely lost touch with our hunger and fullness signals in this day and age. We eat because of the time of the day, because we are feeling upset or bored, and then we deny our hunger because it’s not lunch time yet? It’s crazy. Try this tomorrow: eliminate all “shoulds”. There is nothing off limits. There are no certain foods you need to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are absolutely no rules. Here is the only thing you need to think about
1.) Am I hungry?
2.) What do I want to eat?
3.) Am I full?
It’s very interesting when you start to take away all of these external reasons why we eat and just eat what you like when you are hungry until you are satisfied.
You might be REALLY hungry when you wake up and you want a sandwich. Eat that sandwich I don’t care what time it is! Stop when you are satisfied, not STUFFED.
Then maybe an hour later you are hungry again. What do you want? Eat that. Enjoy it.
This concept is really hard for people to grasp but once you do it can be very freeing and amazing! I want this to be what all my nutrition clients achieve once they reach their goals with their meal plans, and have their metabolism working properly. The times when this won’t work for a lot of people is if they having been dieting or ignoring hunger signals for a long time. Their hunger signals will be out of whack and this won’t be beneficial for you until you get used to eating regular, stable meals.
Also make sure you are drinking lots of water all the time- thirst can feel like hunger or cravings as well!
Also there are healthy substitutions to your favourite desserts and treats that you can enjoy but if you don’t actually think they taste good this method is not going to work. You need to experiment with different recipes because healthy food can taste amazing! You can also make amazingly yummy desserts- just make sure you like them! You can’t trick your brain into eating some plain greek yogurt instead of icecream and actually feel satisfied. You’ll just feel more deprived, then eat the ice-cream too, and guess what- you just consumed more calories than if you just ate the real thing first! So I’m all about experimenting with healthy foods, but I also think you should enjoy the real thing too.
If you find a work out routine that you love, and you eat healthy 80-90% of the time (because it feels GOOD!) and enjoy treats when you crave them- you will be living the best kind of lifestyle there is 🙂
I hope this posts helps!