You’re lying on the couch, binge-watching your favourite series, when all of a sudden the thought pops into your head: Chocolate! And now you can’t think of anything else. You’re not interested in what Stefan and Damon are up to in The Vampire Diaries – all you want is rich, delicious, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate, and you won’t stop until you get it.
That, ladies, is called a craving, and unless it’s stopped, it could go on to derail all your hard work. Here’s how to say no when temptation strikes:
1 Be honest
Are you REALLY, genuinely craving food? Or are you just bored/tired/grumpy/all of the above? If it’s the former, drink a glass of water first and see if you’re still hungry afterwards. If so, and it’s not mealtime, have a snack that won’t harm your waistline – biltong, yoghurt and raw veggies are all good choices. If it’s the latter, you don’t get to eat, sorry! Rather get up and do something that takes your mind off food so that you can make it safely to your next mealtime.
2 Eat this, not that
Often when we crave something it means we’re lacking in a particular nutrient (chocolate at THAT time of the month, anyone?). Rather give your body what it actually needs by substituting your junk food impulses for healthy alternatives:
- If you’re craving chocolate, your body may need magnesium. Get it from nuts, seeds, veggies and fruits instead.
- A desire for sugary foods could mean you’re lacking in essentials, such as chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulphur or tryptophan. Try eating fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein, fatty fish or cheese instead.
- If you want to pile your plate high with bread, pasta, and other carb-filled treats, nitrogen could be what your body’s after. Rather fill up on high-protein foods like beans, meat and fatty fish instead.
- A taste for salty foods could indicate a lack of chloride or silicon. See if fatty fish, goat’s milk, nuts or seeds keep the cravings at bay
Of course there’s nothing wrong with the odd piece of chocolate – a little bit of what you love is fine. A whole lot of what you love anytime you like, isn’t. Learn to identify your cravings and deal with them in a healthy way and you won’t run the risk of stalling your progress.
Did you know that it’s totally possible to lose weight without giving up alcohol? We’ll drink to that!