How to stop cravings for good
It’s Tuesday night. You’ve had a long day at work and you’re finally ready to relax and unwind, and that’s when the craving hits you.
You’ve been here before. Every day you tell yourself today will be different, you’ll eat healthy foods and get your workout in and go to bed early.
And yet, here you are, 10pm with a pint of cookie dough ice cream in front of Netflix, again.
If you’re like so many of my clients, you’ve tried almost everything to stop your cravings, to just say no to the late night sweets, to not give in, and it feels like nothing is working!
But here’s the truth…
To overcome cravings, it takes a lot more than just willpower.
Willpower doesn’t work. We only have limited amounts of willpower to use each day, and for most of us, that willpower is long gone by the time we’re trying to talk ourselves out of opening up that pack of Oreos.
The good news?
It IS possible to take back control of your cravings WITHOUT using willpower.
Below are 5 strategies from my Cravings Toolkit you can implement right away to help control those cravings and even prevent them from happening in the first place.
1. Pause, take 20 minutes before indulging.
Ok, yes this first strategy does require a *tiny* bit of willpower. But the beauty of this strategy is that you can still indulge that craving after 20 minutes if you still want to (phew!), but by waiting a few minutes, you take back control from simply reacting to the craving and get to be a bit more intentional about how you respond. You are breaking the habit of immediately indulging, which is the first step to having full control of your food choices.
2. Pay attention to what is triggering your cravings.
Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can make a plan to either avoid or address those triggers. I recommend keeping a food diary and paying attention to not only the specific foods, smells, and situations that trigger you, but also your mood, stress, and energy levels.
3. Tune into your thoughts around your cravings.
Notice the thoughts that are driving you to indulge those cravings (“I need chocolate now, I can’t not eat it”) and practice choosing and thinking counter thoughts instead (“it’s just a craving, I can handle it, it will pass”).
4. Ask yourself WHY you’re wanting to indulge that craving.
How are you wanting to feel? What is the immediate benefit you’re wanting to get from eating? Make sure you like your reasons, not just for the instant gratification, but also for your long term goals.
5. Cut out white flour and refined sugar.
These foods spike your blood sugar and throw your hormones out of balance, leading to a vicious cycle of cravings. I know cutting them out may seem tough at first, but I promise, the less you eat the more you’ll balance your hormones and hunger cues, and the fewer cravings you’ll experience overall.