I get asked a lot about how to deal with cravings. In this blog, I’m going to give you three ways to deal with cravings so you never have to give in again.
We all get hit with cravings from time to time, especially when we have embarked on a health kick, and we have done without some of our favourite vices for a while.
First thing we need to understand is the difference between cravings, and real hunger.
Hunger is a physical need, whilst a craving is usually emotional in nature.
As your body uses up the resources you’ve put into it, you will gradually get hungry, it’s a slow process. A craving will usually come on suddenly.
Once you start to feel hungry, the hunger will keep increasing, and will last for more than 15-20 minutes. The longer you can resist a craving, the less urgent it will feel.
Pretty much anything you eat will satisfy hunger. Usually a craving will only be satisfied by a certain food (chocolate, salty chips).
Symptoms of hunger are physical, like feeling thirsty, headaches, lightheaded, nauseas, stomach pains. Symptoms of a craving are usually emotional, like boredom, sadness, anger, loneliness, anxiousness.
Now we now how to tell the difference between hunger and a craving, let’s talk about how to deal with cravings. Watch the video below.
1/ STOP and assess. The first thing we need to do when a craving or feeling hungry is to stop and assess how we actually feel.
Instead of going on auto pilot and heading for the chocolate, learn to recognize the feelings of hunger or cravings, and pause for a minute before you act.
How are you feeling emotionally? Are you feeling bored. angry, sad, or anxious?
Has your “hunger”come on suddenly?
Are you craving something in particular?
Did you eat in the last hour?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your “hunger” is more likely to be a craving, rather than actual physical hunger.
If you still are not sure if your “hunger” is real or a craving, wait 15-20 minutes. None of us in modern Australia are that hungry we can’t wait 20 minutes for nourishment.
BONUS TIP – Grab a big glass of water, one of the symptoms of dehydration is hunger, you might just be thirsty!
If you really are physically hungry and in need of nourishment, then your physical symptoms will not abate, in fact they will increase.
A craving however will probably go away in that 15-20 minutes, especially if you have gone onto some sort of activity because you identified an emotional need in step one.
3/ PREPARE FOR SUCCESS.
Often, the excuse for grabbing the salty chips or chocolate when a craving hits is speed of preparation.
It’s quick and easy to go for the packet.
So be prepared in advance with some healthier options.
Protein balls or slices, prepared fruit / yoghurt snacks etc.
You can even use the 15-20 minutes you are waiting to see if you are really hungry to prepare a better option. If you wait and your hunger is real, then your healthy snack is ready to go, and if it was just a craving after all, then you can pop the snack in the fridge for another time.
Hit me up for a free success session by filling in the form on the right or below this post if you would like some help in beating the cravings.
Bren “Bored Tim Tam Craver” Ryan
Weight Loss Coach