It’s no secret that the New Year, birthdays or any new chapter brings on new inspiration and desire for health. Did you know that less than 10% will still be pursuing their resolution within just a few months.
It's common to give into temptations of your go-to unhealthy snacks, whether it's out of hunger, boredom or just because you love them. This pattern repeats itself over and over again when you're trying to lose weight or just be healthier. Why is that though? Well, have you ever made the choice to start working on a goal and said something along the lines of this: "This is it! I'm gonna be really strict until I get in shape." or "I'm going to diet and go to the gym 6 times a week starting today!" Maybe you haven't said these things specifically, but this all or nothing mindset is really common and will always end up working against you.
Everyone blames willpower or motivation, which play their own roles, but the true culprit behind the cycle of eating healthy and then craving and then binging or eating large portions of your favorite unhealthy snacks and meals. That's not realistic or healthy. This only leads to a much stronger and intense need to satisfy your cravings.
Along with that, manufactured foods are literally designed to be addictive to us with all kinds of chemicals, sugars, and fats. It’s natural that cravings are going to arise. The good news is that the more you eat healthy foods that came directly from the Earth (and not boxes and bags), the more the cravings subside.
So, today I wanted to share 5 ways that I personally navigate cravings so that they don’t get the best of me long term:
1. Create space in your plan for the foods you love - whether it’s cookies, pizza, ice cream – whatever! Plan to eat that stuff in a reasonable serving size once or twice a week (depending on what YOUR body can handle). Not depriving yourself is actually the key to staying on track.
2. Pull out your portions - let’s say you love potato chips. Don’t bring the bag with you to the couch. I don’t have to tell you how easy it is to make a bag of chips disappear! Instead, take 1 portion and leave the rest in the cabinet.
3. Don’t bring your trigger foods into your home at all - If it’s not available as cravings arise, I PROMISE you those intense cravings will pass and you’ll get past them with ease because you couldn’t just run to the fridge and appease them.
4. Experience eating - I know this sounds weird but so many of us eat in distraction whether it’s in front of the TV or while driving. You can eat hundreds of calories without paying attention or even enjoying any of it. Sitting down and paying attention to your foods and enjoying every bite is a great way to indulge and actually appreciate it!
5. Make sure it’s worth it - when you indulge once or twice a week, be sure it’s not mindless and that it’s something you REALLY want.
I hope this helps!
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Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.