We all have those moments when we CRAVE something. The urge is so strong that we lose all sense and blow whatever gains we’ve made. I am so strong willed when in show prep mode that I would never think to give into those cravings. But I will be honest, I do give in during the off-season. My goal during my next off-season is to be better and follow my own tips below:
Ensure You Are Eating Enough of the Proper Calories Make sure you take in enough for breakfast and lunch so you do not approach the afternoon on empty. This will create killer cravings and binges – make time to eat the proper meals and snacks. KNOW when your weak times are and plan a snack. Example, I like to snack in late evening so I always plan out enough macros to allow for a good bedtime snack.
Wait 15 Minutes When a craving hits, it takes over your world but it doesn’t last long. Distract yourself for 10-15 min. by cleaning the house, filing those papers, playing with your kids, walking your pet, or running errands. You´ll feel productive and forget all about it.
Stay Hydrated Water acts as a natural appetite suppressant by keeping your stomach full and fending off dehydration, which can lead to false cravings and hunger. As an added bonus water helps your body metabolize stored fat by helping the kidney´s flush out waste and it prevents bloating. Water is one of the best craving busters – you can even try warm water or tea.
Balance Your Meals You’ve probably already heard this but eating high carb meals usually trigger cravings for more carbs and sugar. Balancing your meals with protein and a little healthy fat will satisfy you more and reduce cravings big time. Eat protein and carbs together!
Get Your ZZZ’s Sleep deprivation and fatigue often lead to carb cravings because carbs are your body’s number one source of energy. Getting enough sleep or making up for lost sleep with a good nap can prevent serious dips in your energy levels that often lead to cravings.
Exercise It Away Life can get pretty hectic and stressful and a little treat sounds like a good pick me up but just think of the calories and the guilt. If you want to make yourself feel better, go for a brisk walk, climb flights of stairs, do 100 crunches, do jumping jacks, or drop and do burpees. You’ll produce some feel good endorphins and forget all about that treat. Remember it takes over 500 burpees to burn off 1 large serving of french fries. You cannot exercise away a bad diet.
Brush It Away A thorough brushing and flossing distracts you and leaves you with a minty taste in your mouth, one that you won’t want to ruin with the taste of food. Plus think about how impressed your dentist will be next time you go in for a check-up.
Write It Off Keep a journal and you’ll be amazed how often you turn to food in times of stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue or just boredom. A food/mood journal can be extremely helpful in figuring out patterns and devising coping strategies for those stressful times when you would otherwise turn to food. A journal also keeps you honest and it makes you accountable to yourself. Nobody wants to write down that they ate half a pan of brownies or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Writing those entries and seeing the actual fat and carb grams and calories will snap you right out of the craving.
Quick Tips Chew gum to keep your jaw busy, step on the scale to shock you out of eating that cookie, look at pictures of yourself – the ones you don’t want anybody else to see, call a friend or your trainer, etc. I know if I go to Facebook I will see enough motivation to stick to the program!
Treat Day Plan on ONE day of the week that you can have a treat meal, snack, whatever. In my world these are called high-carb or refeed days. I plan these days out and look forward to them. It helps to know that treats are ahead. Lately my treat of choice is peanut butter pop-tarts? Other times it has been a burger with a large plate of home-made fries, ice-cream, biscuits, etc. I make my craving of the week work into my diet (macros) and knowing that I have something to look forward to helps. Makes it taste that much better!
Hope this helps….