It’s rare that I meet someone who doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Some of us struggle more than others with sweet cravings. How do we choose to indulge our sweet tooth (or not to) in a healthy way? Here are 3 strategies:
First, we must take a mindful pause before we eat. Until we are fully aware of our emotions, senses, and actions, we can not get a true sense of our needs. Sometimes we are hungry and we need to eat. Other times we may be frustrated, tired or bored and looking for an escape from those uncomfortable feelings. Obviously, food will only solve the first problem and we all know those uncomfortable feelings won’t go away by eating chocolate (although, that would be awesome!). So, the next time you get a craving for something sweet, take a mindful pause to assess your needs.
Sort Through the Craving
Next, ask yourself do I really want this or is my primitive brain just craving it because it’s there, free, tempting, etc? If we always follow that primitive drive to indulge, we could end up far from our goals. Having a way to sort through a craving can help. I like to ask myself, is this special? Does this help me meet my needs? Is it going to make me feel good or lousy? Is the experience going to be worth it? For instance, the candy from a jar at work… although delicious, probably not very special. I might devour it as I walk to the water jug without actually experiencing it. But a melt-in-your-mouth s’more when you are on a family camping trip or a decadent homemade pie you only get once a year around the holidays that you sit down to savor with people who mean the world to you… those are the kind of treats that I call worth it. Simply putting a little thought into your decision can help you decide to pass or go on a sweet treat.
Give Yourself Permission
When a food is off-limits, it gains power. It’s always your choice to honor a craving or ride it out and let it pass. When you take a mindful pause and sort through it, you can the consciously ask yourself if you still want that food. Give yourself permission to say yes. Once you do, ironically, it will be a lot easier to say no.
2 Ways to Combat Cravings Before They Even Start:
Love What You Eat
Cravings can come on for various reasons, but being too restrictive can definitely trigger more cravings. If you aren’t enjoying your food maybe it’s time to look at how to put more joy and flavor onto your plate. This is different for everyone. Perhaps this means adding cocoa powder into your morning smoothie, making a flavorful sauce to go on top of your meat and roasted veggies or ending your meal with fruit.
Eat Well Balanced Meals
If you are not getting enough fat, protein or carbohydrates at each meal, there is a good chance you’ll experience cravings. We can work with you one-on-one to make sure your cravings aren’t coming from incomplete nourishment.
Food for thought:
What food(s) are truly special to you?
What foods do you crave when you are stressed, tired, lonely or sad?
How will you use this mindful activity to help you manage your cravings?