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How To Handle Cravings

Written by: Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Cravings are a bit of a sticky wicket when trying to release weight. Cravings are nothing to fear. We all get them. Cravings are just information. They send signals to your body that you may need to eat certain nutrients. Cravings become problematic when we crave less nutritionally sound or ‘junk’ food like cookies, cake and chips (among others). This does not mean that you have to be a slave to your cravings. You can overcome them.

CRAVINGS ONLY LAST FOR FIVE MINUTES


I know that this seems strange but hear me out. Have you ever had a craving that felt so strong that you had to give in to it immediately? (Note – I have and so have most people at one or more points in their lives). The fact is that cravings don’t last long. We can learn to ride them out, and maybe we should.


Cravings are a bit of an impulse issue. We see something that looks yummy on TV or in the kitchen and we want it. However, if we set the timer on our phone for five minutes and walk away from the kitchen and do something else (preferably not watch TV. Studies have shown that TV watching increases the intensity of cravings and reduces our inhibitions to giving in to them.). At the end of the five minutes, if you still want the things you’re craving, then you just may have to let yourself have it.


LETTING YOURSELF HAVE WHAT YOU CRAVE


So, when the five minutes are up, you check in with your body. If you still want what you’re craving, go ahead and eat it. No regrets. No shame. Eat one portion. For example, a good portion size is like three Oreos, one large cookie or a small piece of cake or pie. If you’re going the savory route, maybe it’s a small bowl (toddler-size) of chips, popcorn, pretzels or whatever.


You will eat slowly and mindfully. At the end of the eating event, you will go ahead and stop. Check in with yourself. Are you still wanting to eat? Do you still want what you were previously craving? If you want to eat something more health-promoting, go for it and go along your way. After you eat that, you should probably be good to go.


If you still want the thing that you’re craving, set the time again for five more minutes. Repeat the previous steps. Initially, you may have to go through several five-minute intervals. Don’t be alarmed. This is natural. The mind usually takes about 20 minutes to catch up to the body. Over time, you will get a better handle on stopping your cravings sooner. At some points, you may even decide you don’t ‘need’ to give in to the craving at all.


SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU HANDLE CRAVINGS

  • Cravings and natural and normal. They give us information about what the body (or mind) needs in the moment.

  • Drinking water before eating something you crave can help fill the stomach up. Sometimes, thirst reads as hunger to our brain. So, if you think you are hungry, try drinking something first and well, that could take care of the issue.

  • Don’t fight what your body wants. If you really want the things you’re craving, let yourself have it without regret, guilt, or shame. Food is just food even if it’s ‘junk’ food. You won’t derail your whole eating plan with a slip up here or there.

  • Craving something salty and crunchy may indicate unresolved anger or tension (stress). Craving something sweet may mean you need comfort or to self-soothe. Although eating emotionally is not encouraged, it does happen, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it, especially if it’s a rare occurrence.

Basically, cravings are not something to fear. You can overcome them with a little bit of patience, mindfulness, and know-how. You don’t have to be a slave to what you crave. Just make sure to check in with yourself and see where you stand at every step of the process. Getting in the habit of checking in with yourself will help you release more weight over time. Remember – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.


Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info! Read more from Deanna!

 

Deanna Goodson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Deanna Goodson is a professional life and mental health coach, nutritional counselor, and writer. She received her coach training at Rhodes Wellness College in Canada and received an ACC credential from the International Coaching Federation in May of 2019, which was recently renewed. As a mental health coach, Deanna is well-versed in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Emotional Freedom Technique, aka Tapping. Deanna is also a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and has a certificate in Emotional Eating Psychology (EEP). She follows an intuitive eating approach for her clients and helps them repair their relationship with food.

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