Do you ever feel guilty when you give into a craving? Do you eat a few pieces of chocolate or a slice of cake and immediately feel like you need to hop on the elliptical, or be “good” for the rest of the day? Does your guilt around eating “bad” foods or going off of your diet determine your mood?
Cravings are a natural part of life. Everyone has them-whether they are for sweet things, salty things, crunchy things or chewy things. The reality is that you will always be faced with cravings and temptations. The trick is to get really good at managing your response to these cravings and reacting to them in a way that doesn’t make you feel deprived or guilty.
Here are my top five tips for kicking your cravings and losing your guilt:
- Stop and think. Are you craving that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup because you want the delicious combination of chocolate and peanut butter? Or do you need a hug? Ask yourself: is my life fulfilling? Or am I using food to fix something it isn’t capable of fixing?
- Call for a Sub. If you find that you just want something sweet, try substituting a healthier option for that Reese’s. Try some almond butter with a square or two of organic dark chocolate, or a piece of fruit instead.
- Just Eat It! So the fruit isn’t doing it for you—you know that you won’t stop thinking about that peanut butter cup until you’re holding the empty wrapper. Then just eat it! If you know that you won’t be satisfied with anything else, go ahead and indulge your craving.
- Get Back to Normal. Once you’ve eaten that chocolaty peanut buttery goodness, get right back on the wagon by returning to your normal eating patterns. Don’t try to make up for treating yourself: if you skip a meal or eat very little, you will perpetuate feelings of guilt, deprivation and restriction. What’s done is done, but nothing is “ruined.” Your next meal is your next opportunity to get back on track.
- Get Support. If you find that you feel a lot of guilt when treating yourself or indulging your cravings, it may be a good idea to seek support. A health coach is a great partner to work through your food issues and help you to develop a healthy, guilt-free relationship with food.
Next time you have a hankering for a Reese’s Cup take some time to check in with yourself and get really clear about why you’re having this craving. You may be surprised at what you discover.
Always remember: the key to managing your cravings and enjoying your life is to be understanding and kind to yourself. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll never eat another Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as long as you live. It is realistic to have healthy tricks in place to handle these cravings—whether it means a healthy substitute, or mindfully indulging.
Oh, by the way…a whole food cleanse is a great way to get rid of sugar cravings– or at least to learn a little more about why you might be craving that sugar. The Winter Nutritional Reset starts next Monday, January 14th! Click here to read more and to sign up!
How do you hand your cravings? Mindfully indulge? Or Abstain? Feel free to tell me in the comments below!