When we change our diet, more often than not it’s the hunger cravings that drive us to end up eating those foods we’ve committed to give up.
Remember that the body is very cyclic and we are creatures of habit, so using an approach which creates habits can be helpful to stop us craving those foods. Watch for the patterns of when cravings and hunger strike, and then review them and what happened in the 24 hours before, because mostly they will be because you haven’t drunk enough water, you are too tired, your sleeping pattern is out of balance, you haven’t eaten enough or properly in a balanced way across the day.
Adding a vegetable juice at the same time of day helps to bring antioxidants, and electrolytes, particularly magnesium, this is a good swap for that bar of chocolate you can’t get out of your head. Introduce each evening about 3pm-6pm and this will help with any energy drops that you may be experiencing, because often it’s the energy drops that cause our hunger cravings.
The first hour of the day matters, research shows that how you set up the first part of the day makes a lot of difference to your ongoing mindset. When we wake up we are still highly influenced due to the sleep pattern we’ve awaken from, so reaching for your phone isn’t helpful, doing your emails also isn’t a good set up for the day. Set out each evening to do the things you want to do in the morning, for instance making a good breakfast to eat or take with you, same with lunch, set your intentions for the day to make your health and wellbeing important in the wider scheme of things.
Most people tell me that it all fell apart for them with the healthy diet because they couldn’t get the foods they wanted to eat because the didn’t have time. Make the time and plan your menu for the week or next few days so that you don’t fall hungry and eat the secret treat draw!
You may also need to look at how much stress you are under, this will increase your hunger is you aren’t balancing your diet to meet these new needs put on the body.
When we are stressed we are focused on the stressors rather than the thing we are meant to be doing at the time. More often than not we then tend to eat without thinking, on the run without chewing or taking any interest in our foods. Eating mindfully is important, but it’s often easier said than done, but it’s about stopping everything around you so that you can focus on what you are eating, and truly tasting the foods. Get rid of other distractions and engage with what you are doing at the time, this is not only good advice for eating but for also reducing stress in general. We are bombarded with excessive amounts of information and I learnt to switch them off and out of my life so that overwhelm with them is kept to a minimum.
Sometimes I find cravings are driven purely by our mindset because you’ve restricted yourself so strictly for the past 6 weeks and been ‘good’ that you are like a balloon overfilled and waiting to pop. At some point, the pressure becomes too much and you go on a 2-week binge. Treats should be for high days and holidays, we shouldn’t be eating them everything day, all day as a meal replacement, did you see what I said, its ok to have them but it’s for those celebratory days. We had sweets once a week, and cakes which my mother made herself. They were prized by us and we savoured every single mouthful. Enjoy those moments and eat as though they are feeding your soul, not just your boots. Then get back to balanced eating knowing it’s helping your health and longevity.
Finally supplementing can help, B vitamins and chromium can all be helpful for managing your cravings.