Until coming to David’s Way, I had actively searched for ways to control my weight since I was four years old. My mother had made me painfully aware of any real or imagined extra fat lurking on my four year old body. I seesawed up and down the scale throughout my childhood, adolescence, teens and young adulthood, tormented by salt and sugar cravings so bad that at times I felt like life was almost not worth living because although I wanted to be fit, the cravings ruled my life. I learned a thing or two along the way.
Sometimes the only action necessary when cravings hit is diversion. Take a walk, call a friend, work out, even chewing gum can change your train of thought and satisfy a sweet craving. Get something else on your mind.
Quite often we are thirsty, even dehydrated, and strangely enough misinterpret that as a craving for sugar, salt or fat. As we dehydrate our brains just know they are missing something essential and cravings will set in to drive us to seek nourishment. Drink up when you feel the urge to binge and see how you feel when you’re well hydrated.
A mistake that many people make is simply not having adequate food available when they need it. As you put off eating, again, you will begin to crave high calorie, high carbohydrate foods because your brain loves carbs. Plan your meals and carry your meals wherever you go. The lure of the drive-thru will lose some of it’s glow when you’re full of healthy food.
Make sure to get enough protein. One study showed that increased protein intake reduced cravings by 60%. The desire to snack at night was reduced by 50%. (1) I eat a massive amount of protein and avoid sugar and never have cravings. If you don’t like meat there are plenty of other protein choices, beans, soy, quinoa and eggs are excellent choices.
Find a purpose or a hobby or an activity that motivates you to be your best self. Health is the greatest purpose, vanity will only take you so far. Hobbies and activities should make you be active and cause you to fuel with healthy foods to have your best performance. I am a heavy strength trainer and it pushes me to my limit physically and forces me to eat just the right amount of healthy food, too little and I am not strong, too much or the wrong foods and I am lethargic and weak. Choose your activities and friends well.
Make sure to get enough sleep. Inadequate rest will cause terrible cravings as your energy starved body and brain search for ways to boost their lagging energy reserves. Again, carbohydrates are your brain’s first choice for calories and if you get sleep deprived, a thick crust pizza just might be in your future, the whole pizza.
And never, ever, ever…shop hungry. You will, without fail, buy all the wrong food and you will eat it. Leave it in the store. Eat well before you shop and shop the periphery of the store. The highly processed foods are in the center aisles. Beware!
Above all, avoid sugar. Sugar will call for more sugar and you will spiral out of control. I once worked for a major weight loss company that told it’s members that they could continue to eat sugar and control their weight. It never worked. I witnessed a repeated behavior of members becoming almost successful, almost controlling their weight, almost getting radically healthy only to fall back into the sugar trap like a fly on fly paper and spiral out of control again. There were a few, very few, who became successful. Leave it in the store and in a week or so, you won’t even miss it.
Make up your mind to be healthy. A commitment to health will help you dismiss even the most intense cravings. After all, you don’t want to sabotage your own hard work. When you first begin to get your cravings under control, for a short time, it will be hard. Embrace the hard work as growing pains and celebrate your victory when you are free of the lifestyle that was built around your cravings. A new lifestyle built around fitness and good health is your new reality. Make a commitment to your good health today!