How To Beat CravingsCoach Rylan No Comments »
Q: I have been trying my best to do the ‘mind over matter’ thing when someone offers me a chocolate or asks if I want to go out for beer and wings – but it’s a hell of a lot harder than I thought. What can I do to subdue the craving? Some people say drink water or green tea, but that just doesn’t seem to work for me.
First, let me tell you about a little trick that I use to decide if I’m actually hungry, or if I’m just ‘craving’ something. First, think of a food that you don’t particularly enjoy all that much, but if you are hungry, you’ll more than happily eat it. For me, it’s canned tuna. Bodybuilders around the world have a love-hate relationship with this stuff, and I am no exception. Now, I’m not talking about tuna salad here, just plan ol’ canned tuna. Back in school, I had days where I had gone more than 12 hours without eating anything because I had been so wrapped up in my work that I literally forgot to eat (by the way, I do NOT recommend you do this). When I finally stopped working, I realized how hungry I was. All that was around at the time was a can of tuna, which I would often keep in my backpack for just such emergencies. That can of tuna tasted like a gourmet feast at the time, because I was really hungry. Now ask me if I want to eat a can of tuna, plain, when I’m not really hungry, and I’m not going to be interested. So this is a great measuring tool that I use to decide if I am really hungry, or just wanting to snack.
Most people get these cravings right after dinner if they include starches or other heavy carbs in their meal. As soon as they put down the knife and fork they want something sweet. And since you’ve just eaten, you know you’re not really hungry. What it is, is just the hormones and chemicals that have been released into your system from the meal you just consumed.
The only way to beat this is good ol-fashioned determination. Sure you could grab something like a diet soda, but those have been proven to make your sweet tooth even worse. The best thing to do is not eat anything that is bad for you for at all, for at least 10 days, and the cravings will dramatically reduce or subside altogether. This means no cheating on your diet, not one little bit. Every time you eat something that you shouldn’t, you are starting the whole process over again, and the more you eat of the bad thing, the worse the cravings will be in the days to come.
When you’re struck with cravings, pick something in your mind that you would only eat if you are actually hungry, and if it sounds appetizing to you, then you ARE hungry, and you should eat. But if you’d rather pass, then it’s probably just cravings and withdrawal, and you don’t need food at the moment.
As I’ve eluded to in past posts and various articles, cravings are often a result of the withdrawal process that takes place when you begin to eliminate certain problematic foods from your diet. Although it might sound too extreme to be the case, cutting junk foods from your diet is very much like trying to kick a cocaine habit. Everything you eat is broken down into it’s chemical byproducts (some good, and some bad) and these byproducts have an effect on your body. Sugar, for instance, causes a number of chemical responses to take place; most notably is a sharp spike in serotonin – a feel good drug. Why do you think when you feel sad, depressed, or upset (all emotional responses to low serotonin) you crave things like chocolate and candy? Because it rapidly boosts your serotonin, and you feel so much better almost instantly.
This is how antidepressant medications are thought to work.
We’ve all had the experience of feeling crappy, then having a bit of junk food to make ourselves feel better – and it works! It works frighteningly well too (although the effects are very short lived). Now try and tell me that isn’t a drug addiction! It’s just in a different form. If you take just one little bite of chocolate, you are risking sending yourself into an uncontrollable feeding frenzy that will land you with a gut ache, a fuzzy head, and a nice bit of guilt to go along with it. Just like alcoholics, there is no wiggle room here. You cannot allow yourself even a little tiny bit of the foods that you know you have a weakness for, at least not for a period of 30 days like I explain in my Natural Plastic Surgery System. In the nutrition program I explain that after a certain period of time has elapsed, you can start selectively re-introducing potentially problematic foods to then determine what you can handle in moderation, and what you should avoid indefinitley.
You really do have to give yourself time to let the cravings pass. This ultimately comes down to digging in your heels and refusing to let anything bad pass your lips. No it’s not easy, and that is why so many people struggle their whole lives with weight problems. But, given enough time, the toxic byproducts of these bad foods in your system will be eliminated, and the cravings will disappear.
Also, I should mention, that if your eliminatory processes in your body are in any way overloaded (meaning less than optimal colon, kidney, and liver function – which is the case for the vast majority of people today), then it will take much longer for you to excrete these byproducts. Although not a topic most people want to discuss, I have to bring this up. If you’re not having at least one good bowel movement each day, your liver and colon are not working as they should, and you are accumulating toxins in your system that WILL cause you major problems if they haven’t already.
This is why including lots of fresh fruits and veggies, high fiber foods, and at least 2 liters of water per day in your diet is ESSENTIAL. They help you cleanse the colon, liver, and kidneys, keep you regular, detoxify the system, and replenish the much needed vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are leached from your body by harmful foods and pollutants.
Folks , this cannot be understated. You MUST be drinking 2 liters of water every day, and you MUST be getting fresh fruit and/or vegetables in each meal. This is NOT negotiable.
Clean up your diet, stick to it, and it will get easier. It will be a lot of work at first, but once you get past that initial hump (the first 7-10 days) you will be amazed at how your momentum picks up, and how it becomes easy to stick to your plan.