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 mindfulness strategies:
Often times we crave sweets because of some underlying thought or emotion that drives a desire for something comforting. When the craving hits we must take a mindful pause to become aware of our emotions, senses, and actions. We may be frustrated, stressed, tired or bored and looking for an escape from those uncomfortable feelings. Unfortunately, we all know those feelings won’t go away by eating chocolate (although, that would be awesome!). Yet our brain seems to think it will work every time. A little mindfulness and a full toolbox of ways to soothe yourself without food can go a long way when it comes to managing that sweet tooth.
Sort Through the Craving
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 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 then consciously ask yourself if you still want that food. Give yourself permission to say yes without any judgemental thoughts (like I’m being bad or I’m cheating). Once you do, ironically, it will be a lot easier to say no if you want to.
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 a bit of honey and 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.
How can you combat cravings before the start?
Eating Well Balanced Meals can help you stop cravings before they start.
If you are not getting the right combination of fat, protein or carbohydrates at each meal, this could lead to cravings. A Well Balanced plate includes a full cup of colorful non-starchy vegetables and fruits that are full of nutrients and fiber. A fourth of your plate should contain a healthy protein-rich food and the other fourth should have a complex carbohydrate like sweet potato or brown rice. Lastly, a healthy fat should compliment the meal like a sauce made from olive oil or a few slices of avocado.
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? If you like these ideas and want to learn more, we’re happy to help 🙂