Ready for more craving conquering tactics?
In case you missed it, click HERE to check out part 1 where we looked at why we get cravings, and what we can do to combat them!
I want to hear about your successes & struggles in the comments at the end of this post.
Are you ready for more? Lets add a few more steps to what you’ve already learned and begun to implement.
5. Be a food label detective
To eat healthy food, you need to know what’s in it! That means you have to read the label! Sugar is often disguised under different names as well as being listed more than once under the different names.
Here are just a few of the names sugar goes by: high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, cane sugar, sucrose, dextrose, maltose.
Before you put something in your grocery cart, know what it is that are buying to eat. The front of the package is designed to be an advertising billboard to “sell” you the product and the food manufacturers know how to trick us! They know the buzz words that fool us, don’t they? Words like “healthy,” “natural,” “baked,” “whole grain”, etc.
You might think baked would be healthier than fried, right. Maybe. Did you know, for example that Baked Lays Potato Chips contains more sugar than Regular Lays Potato Chips? You wouldn’t even think there would BE sugar in potato chips, right?
Even most loaves of BREAD contain high amounts of sugar. IGNORE what the front of the package says and look at the list of ingredients. If it sounds like a science experiment full of names you can’t identify, put it back on the shelf.
Most Grocery stores like Costco, Superstore, Sobeys etc.. all offer a wide selection of organic produce and other products. You may also find it beneficial to visit a health food store if that’s an option in your area.
If reading food labels seems overwhelming to you, there is a great free app I like that’s called Fooducate. You scan the barcode on the food package with your smart phone and it will give it a grade between an A and a D as well as the reason for the grade. It’s fun to start with the food in your pantry and see what grades it gives. This can also be a fun way to get the kids involved in learning more about food labels.
6. First eat something healthy
Instead, tell yourself, “I can have it, but first I’m going give my body something nutritious, such as a banana and a few nuts or a fresh salad with some protein.” This way, by the time you’re done with the healthier choice, you are way less likely be craving the sugar anymore and will skip it.
Try it and see what happens. Some of my clients that try this are skeptical at first, but are pleasantly surprised to see how well it works.
7. Satisfy your sugar cravings with healthy sweets
Approximately 40% of what we do each day is purely the result of habit. If we had to think about every single thing we did, it would be completely overwhelming, wouldn’t it?
Some of our eating patterns are purely habit and we do it without much thought.
Look at what some of your habits are and the food choices that go along with them.
Do you pour yourself a cup of coffee and automatically reach for that donut or bagel?
Do you nibble on a cookie before dinner to “hold you over” and then not feel so hungry when you sit down with your family?
Does dessert automatically mean ice cream or cake?
Healthy sweets are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that actually HELP us become healthier and feel better. Find the fruits that you and your family like and keep them on hand.
8. Are you hungry for food or are you really craving something else?
Sometimes cravings are caused by things we feel are missing from our lives and food fills the void for us. We may be conscious of the void, or not. Stress, feeling bored or being lonely can do this as well. When you feel cravings coming on be real with yourself about whether it’s the food or something else. Get in touch with what you’re craving that’s not food and learn ways to nourish yourself without food.
Ask yourself if you’re REALLY hungry…or is it something else? If you just ate a meal an hour ago and felt satiated, maybe you aren’t really hungry. See if doing something else takes your mind off of mindless munching as a distraction. Boredom can be a big trigger for cravings.
What are some things you can do instead of focusing on food?
Create your own list, but we’ve started one for you…
- Take a walk
- Get a manicure, pedicure, or massage
- Enjoy a hot shower or relaxing bath
- Spend time with friends
- Practice yoga
- Learn something new
- Read a book
- Put together a puzzle
- Spend time doing something you love that has meaning for you
These are just a few ideas. Try different things to see what works for you and focus on doing something you enjoy. Remember, sometimes we crave food when we’re bored because eating gives us something to do. So, check in with yourself to determine if you’re actually hungry.
Stay hydrated! Most people don’t consume enough water and dehydration leads to cravings. So, the next time you have a craving, drink a glass of water, wait 10 minutes and see if you still have the craving.
- Don’t skip meals – when you are super hungry, it’s easy to make poor choices
- Don’t keep it in the house – if it’s not in the house, you’ll find something else to eat
- Eat enough protein and healthy fats – these keep you satiated longer and you’ll consume fewer calories without being hungry
- Get enough sleep – we eat more when we’re tired
- Know what you’re eating (hidden sugars and chemicals) and read the food labels
- Eat something healthy first – then you might not even want the sweets or junk food
- Use healthy sweets – eat fruit instead of a treat with processed sugar
- Ask yourself if you’re craving something besides food.
- Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
In case you missed the first 4 steps, click here to read all about them.
Remember, when you understand the connection between WHAT you eat, WHY you eat, and HOW you feel, you will feel more in control and be able to make better choices.
Try to determine if some of your cravings are based more on habit or what you may be keeping in the house and look at how to best address that to make changes.
We don’t need to feel guilty about food. We just need to understand our cravings better so we figure out what we really need and do our best to make choices that support our health and our goals.
You’ve now learned 9 great ways to help curb those cravings, so decide what you will try this week. For example, try eating more whole foods during the day and not skipping meals and see how that helps.
Want more free tips, tricks and resources about conquering cravings? Click here or on the button below to join my healthy habits email list.