If you’re sitting in a very important meeting, glued to the TV for this weeks episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or listening to your best pal undergo a harrowing breakup story, you should be focused on what’s happening. But all you can think of is a brownie, or a big bucket of chips and salsa. Unfortunately we don’t crave things like celery sticks like we do chocolate or chips, but you can learn how to curb your cravings without feeling deprived. There’s a way to rethink how you think about food, letting you eat less, and feel more fulfilled at the end of it all.
Smarter Snacking – it’s unfair that our favorite snacks are the bad boys of food. They’re hot, fun, sassy, and your mom warned you about them. And, it may not be your fault. Your appetite for decadent food dates back to caveman times when food was scarce, and high calorie foods were what sustained our ancestors. The scarcity of food made our own bodies yearn for sustainable foods, and encouraged our bodies to eat them. Now that we are living in an age of a fast food joint on every corner, happy hour Monday through Friday and date nights filled with champagne and steak, food is not scarce. But, out history has determined that we still want and need high calorie foods, although we do not want them to live any longer, because they’re all around us and don’t have to be indulged in so often. Cavemen did not get the luxury of daily indulgences, but we do have that luxury. In these instances, you should be trading down for a lighter version of your craving. If it is a huge chocolate brownie, have only a square of dark chocolate. Crunchy chips do you in every time? Try carrot sticks and hummus for a change.
Plan a Splurge – If you’ve got a tough time saying No to certain foods that you crave, go ahead and have them, but just once a day, or once a week, whatever you can handle. You can look at you see and say “It’s almost 4pm! I’m going to have that cup of ice cream!” Or if you know that you have a business party, a birthday party, or a trip planned, give yourself some leeway on these events, but hold back on regular days.
Be Aware of the Afternoon Slump – You would not get up and have a bag of potato chips for breakfast, but at 4pm, they sound divine, right? After a hard day, your blood sugar is dipping and you don’t have the capability to overcome the temptation to snack. If you’re truly hungry, go for a healthy snack like a piece of fruit, which has natural sugars that should appease your craving. If you really aren’t that hungry, pop in a mint, it will refresh you and prevent you from digging into that bag of chips.
Do not make “the cut” – should you opt to swear off all fried foods indefinitely, good for you, that is a fantastic idea. But if you are enticed with a serving of French fries or Buffalo wings, you might ditch your book and go completely overboard. Have a half serving of ice cream, Orlando Animal Trapping, chips, fries, wings or potato skins, whatever it is. That way you are not completely depriving yourself, and will have the willpower to say No when you really don’t crave these foods. And if you are having a level 10 craving, you will feel better about it because you won’t have been indulging all week long.
Use your own eyes – If you feel as though you cannot for one more minute using a chocolate chip cookie, take some time off to peruse the internet, catch up on that magazine you have been trying to read, return emails to friends which are far away, or organize your photo albums. When you keep your eyes occupied doing something that has been long on your list of things to do, you will think that craving drop, and go away entirely. It is just keeping busy. And watching the screen, or paying attention to what year the photos are taken into put them in the appropriate album, or dog-earing pages on your latest magazine can keep your eyes trained on something. . .something that’s not food. And you’ll get beyond the craving.
Less is More – If you can’t get beyond your craving, take it and proceed. If chocolate is the demon, go ahead and give in. But, don’t consume an entire box of Thin Mints. Have one decadent piece of chocolate, like a Raspberry and Chocolate Truffle. The rich texture and taste will be more than sufficient to squelch your craving, and you can then proceed, and beyond the craving. You’re human, and it is OK to enjoy your food, even if it’s a piece of chocolate.
If you know what your downfalls with food are, stop fighting them and just accept that you LOVE chips and guacamole, and that’s just the way it is. As soon as you accept that you’ve got a few items of food that you know are harmful for you, you can keep yourself in check when they are in front of you. Tell yourself that here it is, and you will have some, but not it all. As soon as you let go of forcing yourself to permanently disdain the foods you love, you’ll have the ability to control the way you eat them. No one but you is making you eat that entire family size serving of chips and guacamole.
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