We All Face Cravings…
Eat what you crave.
Don’t try to ignore your food cravings; that makes it nearly impossible to deal with them. If you instead give into your cravings consistently, the foods you crave with be less special. You won’t see them as forbidden or off-limits, and, therefore, you’ll pay attention to how much actually satisfies your desire.
The fear of giving in to cravings is that you’ll start eating chocolate 24/7. When you first start allowing yourself to give in to the cravings, you might eat the sweets or treats more often than before. As time goes on, the novelty will wear off, and you’ll feel much more balanced with the indulgent foods.
Enjoy the food slowly and mindfully.
Savoring your food is a big key to satisfying cravings. If you eat it quickly, you’ll miss the point of satisfaction. You also might end up with a stomach-ache if you’re eating something more rich or sugary. Take a break after each bite. Use your senses, and take in the appearance, smells, textures, and tastes.
Pay attention so you know the moment you’re satisfied. When you give in to your cravings and practice the slow, mindful approach to your food, you’ll more quickly find that point of satisfaction. Some days you might be satisfied when you’re just a few bites in! Other days you’ll eat it all. Allow your body and mind to work together to dictate how much you eat.
Let your cravings lead you to higher standards for your food and indulgences.
When you’re craving ice cream, eat the real thing (milk alternative ice creams count as “real”). Don’t go for the low calorie, diet version of the food you’re craving. When you choose the low calorie option, the package usually says, “just x number of calories in a whole pint.” They do that to encourage you to eat the whole pint!
Rather than choosing the low cal version, choose the full fat, full calorie, high-quality ingredient option. It will taste better, and the higher fat content will allow you to feel satisfied sooner.
Whatever the craving, get the tastiest version of it you can find. If it’s something you can make at home, find the freshest ingredients and highest quality, organic options when possible. I always tell the dancers I work with that I love a peanut butter cup, and Reese’s used to be my go-to snack. Now, the overly processed, overly sweetened ingredients don’t taste good to me at all. I’ve upgraded my PB cup obsession to Theo’s. (Ingredients are just: Cocoa Beans*+, Peanut Butter, Cane Sugar*+, Cocoa Butter*+, Powdered Sugar, Peanut Flour*, Salt, Rosemary Extract, Ground Vanilla Bean*.) I’m satisfied with just 1/2 or 1 cup!
Put the food you’re craving on a plate.
As you deal with cravings, never eat straight out of the container. It encourages you to eat more than you want or need. Putting food on a plate is respectful of the food and your body. It honors your food choices. You’re not hiding your choices by eating quickly or out of the container.
Pick a lovely plate or bowl. Make your food look nice and super appetizing. Taking the time to do these things will encourage you to take your time as you eat. Don’t rush. Slow it all down.
When cravings aren’t about the food.
Some cravings are connected to a nutrient deficiency or a need for emotional support or social interaction. Pay close attention to things you crave regularly. Look into possible nutrient deficiencies tied to particular cravings; you will crave things that your body needs. A craving for chocolate may signal a need for magnesium while you might crave meat or eggs if your body needs protein.
Be empowered to choose the foods that will satisfy your needs AND make you feel good.
If you’re feeling lonely or needing social interaction, you might crave certain foods to fill that void. Ask yourself every single day (in fact, throughout the day) how you’re feeling. Need to connect with a friend or someone in your family? Allow yourself the time and space to prioritize that connection.
Some foods are addictive.
When food is more processed and higher in fat and sugar, it can be addictive. Foods such as cheese and processed sweets or desserts, have an effect on the pleasure centers of our brains that can have an addictive quality.
If you’re drawn to something every single day or throughout each day, take some time to assess if the food desire has become an addiction. It might be time to scale back or fill your meals with more nutrient-dense foods to dampen the need for the addictive food.
The trouble with “self-control”.
The common response to cravings is to practice “self-control.” That might work for a while but when you can’t control it anymore, you might give in, go totally overboard, and binge. A few bites of cake or even a few pieces of cake over the course of a month (or honestly, even a week) is a much better approach than staying away from it completely, then eating a whole cake in one sitting.
You can eat the foods you desire and reach your personal best dancers’ body. Food fear is what’s holding you back. Allow yourself to get to a peaceful place with food by slowly letting yourself enjoy the foods you fear. The less stress you put on your food choices, the better you’ll be at following your body’s cues.
How do you deal with cravings? What approach works for you? What have you tried? Have you upgraded your indulgences to higher quality versions? Share your thoughts in the comments!!!