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How to Navigate Unwanted Cravings

– Giselle Hanson (Health Coach)

We all get cravings, and often they’re unwanted. The trick is figuring out where they come from so that you can respond accordingly. Here are some steps you can go through when a craving hits!

1.Delay the impulse

When a craving jumps into your mind, instead of reaching for that bag of chips, check the time and wait 10 minutes. Then reassess – Do you still really want to eat it? Has the feeling shifted at all? You might find it was a brief whim and it has passed. 

2. Water

Often when we think we’re hungry we’re actually thirsty. Are you dehydrated? Have a big glass of water and see how you feel. 

3. Check your nutrition

Sometimes you’re craving something because your body is needing nutrients. Have you missed something today? For me, I get endless cravings when I haven’t had enough protein. So if I’m craving something and I’m due a proper meal, I’ll make something protein-rich and more often than not, the craving disappears.

4. Predict outcome

Stopping before you give in to a craving and imagining how it will make you feel can be really useful in figuring out whether or not you really want it. Are you going to feel sluggish and tired after loading up on those hot chippies? Are you going to be disappointed in yourself? I’m a big advocate for guilt-free treats (in moderation) but if you eat this treat, will you feel bad after? If so, think about whether the few seconds of pleasure are worth it. If you think you’ll feel satisfied and pleased afterwards, go nuts, but if not, maybe time to put the cupcake down.

5. Healthy alternatives

‘Healthy’ doesn’t mean it’s not going to be yummy. Think about the type of food you’re craving and find an alternative that will be nourishing and make you feel good. Craving hot chips? Chop up some potatoes/sweet potatoes and throw them in the oven (skin on for extra fibre!). Craving ice cream? Blend up some frozen banana. Sweet and savoury? Slice some apple/pear and put a scrape of nut butter on it. 

6. Distraction

Done all the above steps and can’t shake the craving? Go and do something else that takes you away from the temptation. Do a quick workout or walk around the block, have a stretch or put on your favourite song and stare out the window. Or brush your teeth! Many things taste unpleasant after toothpaste.

7. Portion/balance

OK so you’ve gone through all the alternatives and can’t see a way out of succumbing to the craving. Eat that cake! Just make it a respectable portion, don’t eat the whole thing. Shake off that all-or-nothing mentality, sit there and savour every bite!