One of the hardest parts about getting in shape is controlling your cravings. We all get them, and once we do, we feel like all our hard work goes down the drain. Well, that's not right, but the cravings are real, and we all need ways to deal with them. The question is, do you give in to your desires or not?
Well, let's first take a look at why you have cravings. You're having cravings are because you're on a get fit journey. You decided to cut particular foods out because of its unhealthy, and that's a good thing.
The issue with you doing that is now you're establishing a lousy relationship with food. You now categorize food as GOOD VS BAD. Although it's a good idea to remove junk from your diet, you still need to keep certain foods around that you enjoy.
What you don't realize is that you can still get fit and again eat some of your favorite foods. All you have to do is control your portions and ensure that you keep a consistent gym schedule. The food you eat should follow the 80/20 rule. The 80% percent of foods you eat is nutrient-dense and beneficial to your body while the 20 percent is whatever food you want.
This way is better suited for a long and successful fit lifestyle because now you incorporate the majority of the "GOOD' with a little bit of the "NOT SO GOOD" and not hate food or the food you eat.
Now when it comes to craving the foods you know you shouldn't eat nor want to eat things can be tricky. There are a few ways you can control those unwanted food desires of yours so that you never have them again.
Let's say you're trying to cut back on Chinese food because you feel its something you don't need and it's causing more harm than good. You distance yourself from it by not walking around the areas you know have those restaurants, even if it means walking around the corner or walking an extra block. Another tip is to stay away from people who eat it; we usually tend to pick up on poor eating habits from friends and family because they influence us. If someone like a co-worker eats Chinese food for there lunch you know to avoid that person during that period of the day. This same method goes for anyone you're living with that might order take out.
I suggest having a conversation with them, so they know what you're doing. Believe it or not, that can play a significant role by not letting you see or smell it. So distance yourself and all cost because just the slightest sight or smell can pull you in. Over time you won't have those cravings because the food will begin to taste unpleasant. If you don't believe it, takes any bit of junk food and avoid eating it for 30-40 days and try having it again, I'm sure you'll spit it out.
2. Drink water after your meal.
Cravings partially come from not being satiated; your body didn't get everything it needed to be satisfied. So you feel the need for more food. Usually, this occurs with junk food, so I recommend drinking water after your meal. When you drink water after your meal, the water will take up space in your stomach, possibly being absorbed by the food and you won't crave any food because there won't be a want to eat. Water can be fulling, even with a small amount of food.
3. Consume more protein
Our bodies need protein to help build muscle, protein-like foods can be very filling and keep you from wanting anything because once you're giving your body nutrients that it needs your body won't ask for anything else. So options can be a protein shake with either milk or water. If milk I recommend almond, 1% or soy. Aiming for one of those options over whole milk will do your stomach a whole lot better. Lean meat like chicken breast, grilled chicken, and ground beef are fantastic options for protein as well as greek yogurt.
4. Cook Everything
One thing I realize with staying fit and eating is that it's best to cook everything you eat. Cooking everything allows you to know what's in your food, so you know what's going in your body. Process foods typically have chemicals in them that keeps you coming back for more; at times, it's a mental, logical game when it comes to food. Over time you develop a particular taste, and no matter how bad it is you crave it, unfortunately, that taste usually is wanted from junk.
5. Get enough sleep
Sleeping can affect your cravings because appetite is mostly influenced by hormones that fluctuate throughout the day. Cashing during the day because you didn't get enough rest can put you in a down mood. When people are generally in a down mood, they go after any happiness to get them out of it, and food is the number one choice. This also happens when dealing with stress, so I suggest staying stress-free at all cost.
Learning how to eat is a significant factor with not just fitness but life. Some might even say fitness is life, and when you think about the daily movements we perform, it's true.
Cravings will occur, and that's okay, its what you crave is the question. Are your desires absolute junk that does more harm than good to your body, or are you wanting something with fewer nutrient benefits but still okay to the point where you won't feel sick after consuming it.
The goal is to have a good relationship with food and be comfortable in your skin. The way you look and feel plays into the food we eat, certain foods are meant for our bodies and others are not.
As I was once told, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
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NASM CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
NASM FITNESS NUTRITION SPECIALIST
NASM FAT LOSS SPECIALIST