Last month I had the most cravings that I have had in a really long time. The week of my period was the worst week of the entire month because I wanted it all: ice cream, cake, pizza, french fries, sushi, brownies…all the things! There was a time in my life when I would feel bad because I had cravings. I would feel like I was doing something wrong and believed that I just didn’t have the willpower to “stay on track” when cravings came. Have you ever felt like that?
The crazy thing is, I’ve realized that cravings have nothing to do with a lack of willpower. Cravings are normal. We all have them from time to time, and that does not change just because we are trying to get healthier and lose weight. When we believe that cravings are abnormal is when we run into trouble. We either end up feeling bad and trying to eat things that won’t satisfy our craving or end up going off the deep end, instead of respecting the craving for what it is, a normal part of life. Cravings are not the enemy. It’s how we deal with them that matter. I have found that there is a way to deal with cravings, without derailing progress or spiraling out of control.
I feel like some of ya’ll have struggles too, when it comes to this topic so I wanted to talk to on this month’s weigh-in post about what helps me to get through those times when I have cravings. If you need some help with knowing what to do when cravings hit, just keep on reading because I’m going to share the exact process that I go through when I get cravings and at the end I will share with you how much weight I lost last month, despite having a month of cravings and satisfying them when they came.
6 Things To Do The Next Time You Have A Craving
#1 Evaluate whether you are having a legitimate craving
The first thing that you should do when you have a “craving” is to determine if you are having a legitimate craving or not. Sometimes we have legitimate cravings and sometimes the different things that are going on in our life cause us to have emotional moments where we just want to eat for other reasons. To find out if you are having a legitimate craving, determine where the craving is coming from… Are you bored and just want to eat? Are you sad and just want to eat your sorrows away? In my opinion, these are not legitimate cravings. For example: if I am sad and “craving” sweets I won’t have them because for a long time I struggled with emotional eating and it will become a downward spiral if I let it. In times like this, I am not having a legitimate craving, I simply want sweets as an attempt to escape how I’m feeling. If you struggle with emotional eating you may find the post How I Overcame Emotional Eating And How You Can Too helpful.
#2 Accept the craving for what it is, a craving
If you are having a legitimate craving then the second step is to accept the craving for what it is, a craving. Understand that just because you have a craving, you should not feel bad about it. Cravings do not have to derail you and you do not have to feel guilty at all. As I said earlier, we all have cravings from time to time. We must accept that it is not out of the ordinary and we are not doing anything wrong. You don’t lack willpower, nor are you weak for having a craving.
#3 Determine what will satisfy the craving that you are having
What are you craving? Is there a healthier alternative that will satisfy your craving? For instance, when I am craving dessert I usually reach for weight watchers or skinny cow ice cream bars, or homemade brownies that I keep in my freezer. While in most instances these healthier alternatives will satisfy my sweet tooth, there are times when I want something from a local bakery or restaurant and only that will do. In those times I allow myself to have exactly what I am craving. It’s important to determine what will satisfy the craving because in most cases a healthier alternative will do the trick.
#4 Determine how much you will eat before you get it
Determine how much of the specific food you think you will need to have to satisfy the craving, without you going overboard, and decide to eat that much. If you end up eating less that’s fine, but the problem comes when we allow ourselves to have a free for all. For instance, on Sunday all I wanted was pizza so I ordered a small pizza and decided that I would eat no more than half before I got to the restaurant. The key is, I decided that I would not eat the whole pizza before I even ordered it. Watch the portions of the things that you choose to eat to satisfy your craving. There is a fine line between satisfying your craving and going overboard. It’s important to know the difference.
#5 Consider how the food will make you feel after you eat it
Sometimes when we have cravings we don’t consider how eating that food will make us feel physically after we eat it. For example: Sushi is one of my favorite foods, and I had a place that I really enjoyed going to. It was cheap and the sushi tasted really good. The problem was every time that I went there, afterwards, I would feel sleepy and mentally foggy because of all of the rice that they put on their sushi. I had to stop going to that place, but I did not have to give up eating sushi. I just had to find a new place. Now, I have a new go-to place that is delicious and always hits the spot when I need my sushi fix. The good part is it does not leave me feeling terrible physically after I eat there. Simply by considering how certain foods make us feel after eating helps us to make better choices. It is not about depriving ourselves, it’s about considering how we will feel physically after satisfying that craving.
#6 Get rid of the all or nothing mindset, satisfy your craving, and move on
It’s important not to let satisfying a craving throw you off course. Just because you are allowing yourself to have a brownie, doesn’t mean that you need to have 3 or 4. Oftentimes because we struggle with guilt for having things that we crave, we get into the all or nothing mindset… “If I eat this brownie I may as well have 3 or 4 and while I’m at it, I may as well have pizza for dinner. I’ve already messed up the day. I’ll get back on track tomorrow.” Does this sound familiar? I’m here to tell you that it should not be like that. I believe in satisfying the craving, without guilt, and moving on. Remember just because you satisfy your craving does not mean that you have ruined any progress that you have made. If you struggle with food guilt, check out the post 4 Tips To Overcome Food Guilt Forever.
Sometimes we make cravings out to be more than what they are. We let the fact that we have cravings make us feel bad about ourselves or cause us to go off the deep end. The sooner we realize that cravings are a normal part of life, the better off we are and the more successful we will be with long-term weight loss. I hope you found some value in this post and feel more equipped to handle the times when cravings hit, without feeling bad about yourself or going overboard. Which of these tips was the most helpful to you?
APRIL’S WEIGHT LOSS NUMBERS
Starting Weight January 2018: 253
Ending Weight March 2019: 214.0
Week 27 Weigh-In (April 3, 2019): 214.6
Week 28 Weigh-In (April 10, 2019): 213.8
Week 29 Weigh-In (April 17, 2019): 214.6
Week 30 Weigh-In (April 24, 2019): 211.4
Weight Lost Since Last Month: -2.6 lbs
Total Weight Lost Overall: -41.6 lbs
As you can see in the month of April, even with all of the cravings that I had, I was still able to lose 2.6 pounds. I am very happy with my weight loss and each month that I overcome challenges I get more confidence to continue to move forward. I hope that by me sharing these weigh-ins with you, you also get encouragement to continue on with your weight loss journey or get motivated to get started if you haven’t already. I’ll talk to you on next month’s weigh-in post.
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