Two weeks into your diet and the ball drops. You have been doing everything right, eating healthy, staying away from refined sugars and salty snacks when the cravings rear their ugly heads again. Those decadent chocolate cupcakes with the sinful frosting beckons you. How good does that penne vodka look! You can hardly control the desire to indulge. All the promises you made to yourself fade away. Beach time is still two months away and one cheat will not prevent you from reaching your healthy goal weight, or so you say to comfort yourself.
Cravings happen because of a medley of biochemical, hormonal and emotional factors. They are persistent and illogical feelings. The most commonly craved foods are savory salty snacks and sugary desserts high in calories and fat.
What can you do to beat those cravings?
Here are five easy tips:
Keep a craving diary. Write down what the cravings are, when you feel the emotion the most and how long you can hold out. It is similar to a food journal. Acknowledging your counterproductive behavior is crucial in correcting it. A visual will help you in the long run.
Equate the calories in your “crave food’ to calories burned during exercise. For example:a cupcake is on an average 275 calories. To burn that on a treadmill you will have to walk for at least 40 minutes at 4mph. This may give you pause for thought. If you indulge in that cupcake, make sure you do the equivalent in exercise. It may be easier just to take a bite and then put the rest away.
Avoid getting hungry: Hunger usually peaks mid morning, midday and after dinner. Keep a high protein snack handy. It can be a handful of nuts, a hard boiled egg, an avocado or a small plain yoghurt.
Wait it out: Cravings typically last only for 10 minutes. When the craving hits you find a distraction. It can be music, a nap, a glass of water or a few calf raises at your desk. Knowing that the craving will pass will help you control it.
Indulge the craving: If none of the above work, look for a healthy option to satisfy your craving. Be it a low fat cupcake or a baked chip instead of the high calorie version.if you really will be satisfied only with the “crave food” then have a ¼ of it and freeze the rest. Make sure to factor in the excess calories you permitted yourself into your workout!