05 June 2013

The Why's and What's of Overcoming Food Cravings

This is a guest contribution from Carla Bruns.


I know what you want me to say. You want me to say that everything is going to be so easy and once you just do these little tips or tricks then you won’t want those “bad” foods anymore. And you’ll be totally okay after only a week or so. If this were true, I’d also have a pill for you to take that would give you the body of Jennifer Aniston (or insert whatever person’s physique you admire). The truth is, we’re all human, we all have desires and wants that may or may not be good us, and it takes a lot of mental work and willpower. Now before you go away, let’s chat a little.

I believe that there are why’s and what’s that need to be defined before you can get to the how of overcoming food cravings. This mental work that I’m talking about can’t only be conversations you have with yourself in your mind, they need to be written down. Concrete.

 
So get out your journal and write about WHY you want to change your diet.
Please don’t write “to be healthy” and then think this is over. Healthy is abstract and arbitrary. You must define exactly what healthy means to you. Does it mean walking up and down the stairs comfortably, being able to do CrossFit, getting off of medication? Define your why, concretely, explicitly, thoroughly.

I have a perfectly lovely client who is trying very hard to drop some weight. She often doesn’t complete her food journal. When I asked her why she says because she knows the choices are bad so she doesn’t want to write them down. My question is why are you eating something if you know it’s only going to make you feel “guilty”, “bad” or “regretful”? And this doesn’t just happen when you hire a personal trainer, people have these feelings all the time. I can’t tell you you’re why, you have to figure that out on your own. But once you have that down it’s so much easier to stop eating foods that you know aren’t fueling your body for health, fitness, and success. So what is your why…is it stress, boredom, feeling down?

Now that you know why, WHAT is it?
I’ll use myself as an example. I have been soda free since the beginning of May. It was a hard and tough road. Why? Because I drank soda when I was stressed. On top of that our refrigerator at work is stocked with sodas. And I can help myself. Can you imagine the horror of being a stress eater and having the place that causes you stress opening supplying you with your trigger food? Here’s the amazing thing, now that I’ve not had the soda, I’m actually less stressed! I can’t explain why but certainly not being hyped up on caffeine and sugar has helped. Now what is your trigger food? Just like people with drug problems, eating/drinking that trigger food usually has you moving on to other foods as well. I drank soda. Then ate chips. Stop the soda. Stop the chips.

Now finally, we can get onto what you can do. 
I posed the question on Facebook and here are some great what’s that have helped other people.
  • Think about what you want, and how it's going to affect you once the flavor sensation goes away. 
  • Occupy yourself instead. 
  • Call a friend, go for a jog, read a book, get out of the house & do something meaningful! 
  • Don't buy it! If it's not in the house, it's not in my mouth
  • I give myself permission to have one serving of whatever it is, but only if I wait 30 minutes or until I am truly physically hungry again to have it. 
  • Usually by the time 30 minutes passes I don't want it anymore. 
  • I don't cut out the things that make me happy (which is sweets). I allow myself one sweet a day, but it has to be dark chocolate (which I don't love, which means I won't overindulge and I still get a sweet). 
  • Phase out slowly! 
  • I find that chewing gum helps me avoid temptation. 
  • I don't bring the food into my house. I know I can crush a whole pack of Oreos, so I avoid the aisle at the store and they never make it home. 
  • Don’t go into convenience stores. Pay at the pump! 

My personal what is just keeping on top of my first why and remembering my goals and objectives.

Are you ready to get rid of those cravings now?

About Carla Bruns
Hi! My name is Carla Bruns. I'm a forty something fitness, food, and healthy living blogger over at Real Into. I hold a BS in Psychology, am aFso Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Spencer Pilates Instructor and Brand Ambassador. Real Into follows all my latest obsessions in food, fitness, health, and all things fun. I hope to see you around soon!
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16 comments:

  1. I have found that when I stop drinking soda, I stop craving it! Can you be addicted to soda?!! Right now I am not drinking it at all. I know it is bad for you so I am trying to avoid it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can be addicted to soda! I was! Staying away from it is the best decision.

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  2. I can handle soda. Carbs is my biggest weakness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just make sure they are good carbs. Whole unprocessed grains, brown and wild rice, veggies, etc.

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  3. Dr pepper is my weakness. I am like the client. I don't keep a journal bc I know I'm not up to par. I think I will start. These are great tips, Thx Carli!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Keep a journal! It's hard to see exactly what you need to change unless you write it down.

      Delete
  4. I know I eat when I am bored and emotional (ANY emotion) LOL. I should try that 30 minute wait, I know I have no self control when it comes to food. It makes me feel better in the moment and then I am so upset afterwards.

    http://www.dinoheromommy.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I eat when I'm stressed and bored. I make sure to think to myself...why do I want to eat? If I'm not genuinely hungry, I don't eat it. It's hard work but you CSN retrain your brain. :)

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  5. My biggest weakness is my evening cocktail - the drink itself isn't the problem - the problem is I like to have a snack, too (usually potato chips!!). I have started adding in more evening workouts so that cuts out the wine (or whatever beverage) and therefore the chips.
    Great post, Carli!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you, Kim! Good idea to start the evening workouts!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've never been big on soda, but I have a major sweet tooth. When I cut out the sweets, I eventually don't want them. It usually takes like a week, but only one day of cheating and getting that sugar in my system and my body craves it again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Fantastic post, Carli! I am a boredom eater. Someone told me this week, "If hunger isn't your problem, food isn't your answer." TOO TRUE.

    One of the hardest things for me is keeping a food journal. I know for a fact I do better when I'm keeping one. It keeps me accountable and I can look back and see what things gave me trouble. It's really key. --Lisa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds so much like me, Lisa. I'm currently spending this school holiday with my kids at my parents' house. And foods keep finding me. Or to be honest, i keep finding food to beat boredom. I know the power of food journal to keep myself on track. But i hardly keep one. :(

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  9. Oh goodness my worst craving is salt, by a million. I am so bad with it!!

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  10. Lisa, I too eat when I'm bored! I love what that person told you...great advice. Have you tried using an electronic journal vs. paper. You might like that better.

    Nellie, I'm with you! Salt, salt, salt. That's why I have such a potato chip addiction. And all that salt in soda.

    Honeybee, get out and play with the kids! :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great article, im a dreadful boredom eater :(

    ReplyDelete

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