We’ve all had them… those uncontrollable urges that lead you to the snack cabinet. When a craving hits, it can seem like the most important thing in the world to satisfy that craving – but have no fear! You can overcome these cravings. And you can take preventative measures in order to reduce the frequency of these cravings. Just imagine… it’s 3 p.m. and you notice a homemade plate of cookies, but you have no desire to eat them! Wouldn’t that be nice?
So use the tips below to help prevent cravings in general and to stop a craving in its tracks!
- Drink Water: we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. Stay Hydrated! Bring your water bottle with you wherever you go. Whenever you feel a slight thirst, take a gulp. Just make sure the water your drinking is clean, purified water. No need to add toxins to your body!
- Exercise Daily: exercise boosts endorphins and serotonin levels – these boosts make you feel good! They make you feel calm and happy. Oftentimes, we reach for sugary snacks when we feel down or stressed, but exercise reducing these symptoms MUCH better than a sugary snack!
- Sleep Well: it is recommended for a healthy person to spend 6-8 hours per night in a restful sleep. Sleeping well will change your overall health, including reducing your cravings. You will feel less tired throughout the day, allowing your body to use its natural internal energy rather than grabbing every piece of food you can get ahold of.
- Avoid Sugar: when someone eats sugar, there is a rush in the pleasure centers of the brain. When we feel this rush, we naturally reach for more in hopes of feeling more pleasure. Unfortunately, the effects of this sugar rush are short-lived in the brain (but last a long time on the hips!). The brain signals from ingesting sugar have been found to be similar to those produced when taking drugs. Bottom line: sugar is addictive. To steer clear of this addiction, it is best to simply abstain.
- Get your Vitamin D: make time for daily sun exposure. You’ll increase your Vitamin D levels, boost your mood, and get a breath of fresh air. All of these reduce your cortisol (stress) levels, thereby reducing cravings.
Stopping a Craving
- Distract yourself: when you notice that your mind is stuck on a food, but you’re not actually hungry, distract your mind. Find an activity that you enjoy and is mentally stimulating. If it uses both of your hands, even better! You could solve a puzzle, read a great book, create art, the sky is the limit!
- Exercise: yes, I am repeating myself… but exercise is both preventative AND useful in the moment the craving strikes. If your craving is due to low energy, you may just need to get out and get your sweat on! This may be your body asking for a physical boost. And by the time you’ve finished working out, your craving will probably have vanished!
- Journal: grab your pen and notebook. Let yourself write freely and notice what comes up. If you need a prompt, you can start with “why am I craving (fill-in-the-blank) right now?” and see where you go. Allow this to be a learning experience – you are literally learning about how your mind works when you journal! Try not to judge yourself in the process and instead approach it with a healthy dose of curiosity.
Okay, I think you’re ready to get back out there and tackle these cravings head-on! Always remember that you are more powerful than your cravings. A craving is simply a thought, and thoughts come and go like the wind. They do not control you, your behavior, or your future. You are in total control!