Here's the bad news: cravings. never. go. away. Honestly, I have cravings just about every day of the week. I've been "eating clean" for 8 YEARS and I still struggle with lusting after food. Sometimes I cave, most times I do not. Every time I'm about to give in, I remind myself of my goals. "Debbie, will this help you to lose fat or will it cause you to gain fat?" And so I tell myself, "Food is fuel, that's it." But it's a DAILY dying to self. It really is. It's hard and I am often waging war against temptation. What is your biggest craving? How do you handle it in the moment when there seems to be such urgency? There are times I rely on willpower and fight through it. But that is not enjoyable and I think it's not highly effective to feel deprived. Feeling deprived can intensify the craving and lead to future obsession which then leads to a binge.
So over the past 8 years, I've learned some practical ways to defend myself from cravings and I want you to feel equally equipped!
10 CRAVING CRUSHERS (that work): 1. Stay hydrated. Dehydration convinces our brain that we're hungry. Yes, drinking water sounds boring, but it works. Drink a minimum of 8 cups a day (with a goal of 12 cups). 2. Use BCAA's. Branched Chain Amino Acids are a natural powder I add to my water jugs 3 times a day. Every single day. Our brains are the cause of our cravings. It involves dopamine, serotonin, acetycholine, and GABA. When our brains get cortisol (thanks, stress) out of whack, welcome to cravings. BCAA's are immediately absorbed into your body and regulate your blood sugar level. Since this magical potion balances your brain chemistry, your cravings naturally evaporate. Boom. 3. Eat right. Again, this sounds like such a lame solution, I know. But if you're nourishing your body with ample protein, fibrous vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, and complex carbs -- you will prevent out of control cravings. So make sure you're staying in front of hunger with a healthy menu. Unsure how to eat right? Check out my FRESH Menu, which is loaded with exactly what you need! 4. Gum. Often our mouth just wants to be busy, so gum is a brilliant way to trick our brains into thinking we are eating. It doesn't work for me, to be honest, but I have a client who swears by it, so it can't hurt to try! 5. Fruit. When my "need" for sugar is ridiculous, I'll grab fruit for a natural sweet fix. Pick whatever fruit(s) you love most! 6. Craving Cocoa. This is my chocolate solution all the time. It's a healthy way to get my chocolate fix without guilt or regret. It's healthy and dairy-free. When I need to keep my mouth busy for a while, I sip on homemade hot cocoa (blend 1 scoop Craving Cocoa with hot water for 1 minute). Now, when liquid ain't gonna cut it, I make homemade chocolate pudding (blend 1 scoop Craving Cocoa with 1/2 cup of nondairy milk for 1 minute then refrigerate for 30 minutes). It's delicious, for real! 7. Just a taste. You know what? There are moments when we just gotta say "yes." Do we need to inhale 8 donuts? No, but if one massive bite kicks the craving to the curb, then enjoy that massive bite and move on. 8. Make trail mix. Promise, it takes 60 seconds. This is a great sweet-and-salty solution. I just dump into a big Ziploc bag: Enjoy Life chocolate chips, my favorite nuts, my favorite seeds, some unsweetened coconut flakes, some gluten-free granola, and shake the bag to mix. You can even add some dried fruit (I detest dried fruit, but maybe you don't). 9. Go for convenience. This is the real world, and sometimes we don't have time to wait for homemade pudding to set. We need something quick, fast, and in a hurry! I always keep my pantry stocked with both protein bars (I like Dale's or No Cow brand) and Mom Fuel protein powder (I like both chocolate and vanilla). You can quickly unwrap the protein bar or quickly shake protein powder with water or nondairy milk. In seconds, the gotta-wanna-needa is soothed. 10. Enjoy a healthy dessert. Yeah, they exist and don't taste like cardboard. I have so many quick and easy recipes for cookies in my Fresh Membership menu vault that you (and your family) will love. The chocolate peanut butter cookies are amazing! We CAN break the cycle! We eat what we crave, and we crave what we eat. It's often just a matter of redirecting our brain and reminding ourselves, "I can eat anything I want. I am allowed to eat anything in the world. But, I'm choosing not to because I'll feel sick and remorseful and addicted." I want to hear from you! What's your favorite way to show cravings who's boss? Or maybe you have a question about something I suggested? Message me and let's start a conversation so you can get more distance from cravings and move toward control!