(3 MINUTE READ)
Last week I asked those who follow me on instagram what newsletter topics they’d like to see in the future. I got an overwhelming response for how to deal with cravings and meal timing. So this week I’m covering cravings and next week will be meal timing!
So let’s dive right in : ) First off, it’s normal to crave delicious food. Eating is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. Often times, when we embark on a health/fitness journey, we have it in our minds that in order to eat well we have to sacrifice flavor in our everyday meals and avoid indulgent foods in general.
That is mistake #1. First, eating well shouldn’t be bland & boring. Second, you can still indulge and stay on track.
Cravings happen for a reason. Here’s what I see most often:
1.You’re not properly fueling your body. Either not enough calories in general OR not getting enough protein or fat. Both of these play large roles in overall satiety AND hormone regulation. Imbalanced meals (not having a solid portion of protein, carb and fat) lead to blood sugar spikes and dips. This physiologically makes you crave sugar/carbs because your body knows those are quick sources of fuel when it’s deprived!
2.You’re being too restrictive. Listen, life is meant to be lived. Reaching your health and fitness goals is NOT and all or nothing endeavor. It’s what you do MOST of the time that matters. So be consistent with nutrient dense / balanced meals but don’t be afraid to have a meal here and there that doesn’t quite fit your typical regimen. What’s most important is that when you do indulge, you slow down, truly savor/enjoy the food and and step away when you are full. Remember, you can always have it again another time. The less you restrict the less you’ll feel out of control when you do indulge.
3.You’re not making an effort to make nutritious foods taste good. Every week I show my easy meal preps on my Instagram story. My biggest tip with this is make healthy versions of meals you’d typically gravitate towards when you go out to eat OR simply enough, foods you crave! I personally love the website skinnytaste.com for delicious, healthy meals for meal prep or the whole family but there are SO many resources out there, you just have to make an effort.
4.You’re relying on food to mask a negative or uncomfortable feeling. Aka emotional eating. While you think you are craving a food, you’re actually craving a feeling. A feeling that’s better than one you are experiencing at the given moment. The issue here is that the positive emotion you get from food is only temporary and doesn’t solve the problem. So what I recommend doing in this situation is take a step back and simply analyze your emotions, allow yourself to feel them and make a decision that reflects how you’d rather feel instead.
Lastly, sometimes it’s just a matter of finding something that tastes delicious AND keeps you in line with your goals. Find something that scratches that itch when you don’t actually want indulge. For me it’s the Level 1 Bars by 1st Phorm, they taste like candy bars and I literally have one daily.
However, sometimes indulging is just what you need/want. In this case, have what you are TRULY craving (and have taken the time to think through) and move on. For example, when I truly want ice cream, I don’t try to make some healthy concoction, I just have the damn ice cream, enjoy the hell out of it and move on with my life.
It all boils down to practicing hitting the pause button when a craving hits and asking yourself these questions:
Did I have balanced meals today?
Am I making an effort to eat things that I enjoy?
Am I allowing things in moderation regularly?
Am I just trying to mask an emotion?
How do I want to feel later?
Would a nutritious substitute do the trick? (sometimes it won’t-sometimes you need the real deal!)
I hope this was helpful and please reach out if you have any questions!