Recently, I wrote about how you can do certain things to avoid being hit with a craving in the first place; however, sometimes you can’t avoid situations which result in making you more inclined to experience a craving. For example, when I started my first term as a teacher at a very challenging school, I was extremely stressed, frustrated, exhausted and overwhelmed. The only thing that would bring a little comfort and pleasure to my day would be dropping in to the supermarket on the way home to pick up a block of chocolate. Sound familar? After a couple times doing this I realised I needed to stop. I couldn’t just quit my job, so I implemented some of these strategies below.
- Make clean sugar-free treats for when really craving chocolate or ice-cream. My favourite healthy ice-cream is this Macadamia and Blueberry Ice-cream. I also love all of Teresa Cutter’s sweet recipes, she has heaps that are free on her website.
- Have a hot drink when feeling like you ‘need’ something after a meal. It will provide you with comfort and satisfaction and eliminate that craving for something sweet.
- Another thing to try if craving something after dinner is a hot bubble bath and reading a good book. This will also give you a feeling of comfort and pleasure without the sugar!
- If the craving is due to emotional eating, recognise and accept the feeling and find another way to cope with it, e.g. journaling, talking it through with someone, going for a walk, prayer, making a plan to remove the situation/problem from your life.
- Replace negative thoughts, e.g. ‘It’s not fair! Why can’t I just eat what I want like everyone else?’ with a positive truth, e.g. ‘Cravings always pass, I’m just feeling emotional now that’s all’. Or, ‘I’m so stressed, I need chocolate now!’ with ‘this won’t help my goal to be free from sugar addiction and to have a more toned physique’.
- Make a to do list to ease stress. This works well when you’re feeling overwhelmed with a million thoughts zooming through your head.
Sometimes you might decide to ‘give in’ to a food craving. This is not always a bad thing. Remember how I explained in my health philosophy that personally I eat highly beneficial nutritious food 90% of the time, and less beneficial more processed food 10% of the time. So if I’m really wanting chocolate or ice-cream, not because I want it to ‘make me feel better’ – emotional eating is a slippery slope, but because it tastes amazing and I thoroughly enjoy it, here’s what I do.
1) Always portion out how much I plan on eating, and put on a plate/bowl. Put the rest far away and out of sight.
2) Always eat sugary/ less beneficial food after a healthy meal or snack, so I will be full and less tempted to eat too much.
3) Enjoy your occasional treat guilt free! Guilt and stress can be just as bad for your health and wellbeing as junk food.