3 Practical Strategies to Control Cravings
I respect everyone’s diet. I cannot force my clients, friends and family to always follow my way of eating because I believe that each person has a unique physiological make-up, lifestyle, food preferences, beliefs and goals. If a certain diet has been working for you for quite sometime now and you can confidently tell yourself that you can sustain the plan until the rest of your life, then go for it! But what if it doesn’t work? As a fitness and lifestyle coach, I have the duty and this strong passion to enlighten people on what strategy (not a diet plan) really works based on recent studies, real-life stories and my experiences.
But the final decision is still yours.
“Focus on eating strategies, not diets”
When I was younger, I used to try restrictive diets in order to lose weight. With the amount of physical activities I had, I would always end up craving for more sweets like cakes and pastries (which has more calories than a full healthy meal). I used to think about food the whole time. It was mentally draining, really stressful. So that’s when I started to search for more balance. So in 2002, I took the lifestyle and weight management certification – it was the turning point. I switched to a lifestyle-based eating – applying eating strategies based on my needs and food preferences. As time goes by, I adjusted my eating plans based on current studies, activity level, goals and health status. The improvements were gradual, but everything was worth the effort.
If you are feeling week or craving for sweets at any part of the day, that means your body doesn’t meet the nutritional needs from food for your body type, metabolism and activity level. You might need to tweak your eating plan so you can resist the urge of eating high-calorie foods especially during high-risk situations (late at night, during celebrations or when on a vacation). Just remember that if you are feeling deprived with what you’ve been eating, then the diet plan might not be for you. You can try a more realistic and healthier way of approaching food without too much restrictions. I believe it is time to focus on “how to make your diet healthier so you can live fully” than to stress yourself out while always thinking on “what diets to try in order to lose weight.”
1. Create your unique eating plan
Just keep in mind that your body needs the right amount nutrients, vitamins and minerals so you can respond to the demands required by your work, physical activities and health. Based on your food preferences, think of the healthy foods (nuts, lentils, oatmeal, whole grains like brown and red rice and oatmeal, olive oil, seeds, seafood, lean meat, vegetables and fruits) that can be realistically incorporated in your daily eating plan (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner). Consult with a nutritionist or research if you need more ideas. Make an effort to buy, prepare and cook your healthy meals. If you always eat out, plan ahead by searching online various restaurant menus. Be more self-aware about the right level of fullness and satisfaction after each meal so you won’t crave for junk and sugary foods at the end of the day.
2. Learn to let go
I like the idea of fully nourishing your body with vegetables, healthy protein foods, whole grains and water until there’s no room for flavoured drinks, sweets, and processed foods. But the sight of sugary and salty foods like chips, cakes and canned foods can always challenge ones willpower. Our environment plays a huge role in our eating habits. Keeping these foods out of sight can help you stick with your healthy eating plan. If case you crave for your favorite cookie, then go ahead and have some, but apply self-control by limiting the frequency and portion.
3. Practice over and over again
Start a lifestyle journal by writing down your food intake, activities, sleep and thoughts. Take a few minutes to analyze your day. Adjust your strategies for the next day based on your feelings and performance in terms of implementing your lifestyle plan. If you have time watching Netflix or checking your social media, then you can devote at least 5-10 minutes of your time for your health and self-improvement. Try to stick to your realistic eating plan for 30 days. Or do not stop practicing until the healthy habit becomes a part of you. If ever you will fail, never give-up. Reflect and reframe your thoughts. Ask support from your loved ones, nutritionist or fitness coach. Just continue and you will see and feel the difference. Your unnecessary cravings will just stop. You will get amazing results (more than physical) that will motivate you while you’re on your journey to having a happy, healthy and positive body.