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How do You beat cravings?


DerekP

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Easy!  I make healthier versions of whatever I'm craving.  Sticking to a cleaner eating lifestyle means enjoying what you love and not restricting yourself. 

 

Example:

Flatbread "Pizza" with Cauliflower Crust or Flatout Crust

 

Shakeology Ice Cream, cookies or a shake alone is most definitely a tasty treat!

 

Ezekial Bread coated Chicken Fingers and sweet potato "fries"

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I find that when I have a particular craving, I try to figure out what about that particular thing I'm craving and try to find a more healthy substitute.

 

So from a drink perspective, if I'm craving say, a beer, 9 times out of ten I want a beer because it's cold and refreshing. So I have water instead.

 

For food if I'm craving chocolate ice cream, I'm craving two things, the chocolate taste and the cold creaminess of the ice cream. So I have a yogurt cup with bit of cocoa in it.

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- If I want something I would have previously considered a 'bad food' - I want to enjoy it and have nothing but the best. Case in point, there's a fancy chocolate store in Glasgow called Kimble's. The chocolates are so expensive I can only afford about 4, they're about a pound each and that is a ridiculous price for anything but it works. It's a 4 mile round trip (give or take) to walk there and back. If I want chocolates, I walk to Kimble's, buy 4 fancy-ass chocolates, enjoy them, have a wander round town, and walk home. Quite possibly burning off more than I ate but it gets rid of the craving and I have a nice relaxing walk. And I just keep telling myself that I deserve nothing but the best - no family-sized bars of dairy milk for me! Quality over quantity!

I've found that this works pretty well.  My wife and I usually have a small tub of Talenti ice cream or gelato in the freezer.  Sometimes it only takes two or three bites and I'm good.  Otherwise, we use little 5-ounce ramekins as ice cream bowls.  Anything bigger is too much.  I also drink a lot less coffee when we get the good stuff. 

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I think getting rid of those foods makes it so much easier, because if you feel like some cake and you're in your house, you aren't going to walk to the shop for it, but if it's there you might eat it.

 

If you do eat it, try and add it into your calories, just have less carbs for the rest of the day and try make up the calories from it.

 

Also I find eating LOTS of fruit throughout the day helps with the sugar cravings a lot. Doing this has reprogrammed my brain to want fruit when it craves sugar and not sweets.

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X2 on the ridding the fridge/cupboards of naughty food, if it's within reach.. the chances of it going in your mouth are considerably higher than they would be if it wasn't there! 

 

Things that have worked for me though are planning indulgences for a specific day, this acts as both a reward and a motivator if you're really missing a certain food. A frequent craving I have is for miniature apple pies and Marmite on fresh white bloomer, slathered in an inch of butter. 

Dark chocolate works really well for me, 90% cacao+ is my jam. I break off a small square and as weird as this sounds, I hold it between my thumb & index finger and lick it as I'm watching a film in the evening or something. Melts a lot slower than regular chocolate so lasts a while and it's just.. nice! 

The method I have adopted since the start of the year though has been a bit.. sadistic. I just think to myself, is that pizza going to bring me closer to a decent physique, or push me further away? And bam. No more cravings. 

 

Oh, and drinking a lot of water helps me as well, but everyone should be doing that anyway. 

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I just got started on this and I have some crazy cravings for sugar still. It doesn't help that there's still some things like Girl Scout cookies in the house. I'm working on it, but I can't bring myself to throw them out as my parents brought them up for me from the states and they just feel special.

 

I'm doing well without coffee though, I ask myself "Do I really need this caffiene right now? Am I tired? Do I need this much sugar in my coffee? What's it like WITH LESS? *gasp*".

 

Most of my bread has been reduced to just tortillas, and only sometimes. I still find myself attempting to order a normal sandwich when I go places...which I still do, but I pick most of the bread to pieces like a crazed seagull.

 

I find that I'm struggling still, but if I allow myself some of the things I am craving, in much smaller quantities, I can try to wean myself away from it or find substitutes.

 

I also drink soooo much water. I feel like a fish.

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Mint tea has helped me more than anything else. The mint has a faintly sweet taste, and slowly sipping a cup of hot tea takes enough time that the craving is usually over by the time I'm done.

I also decided (still working on this one) to try to reprogram my taste buds by not having really sweet things. Getting dessert out with coworkers one day, one of the women pushed her half-finished small slice of cheesecake away and said, "I can't finish this, it's just too rich and sweet." And I thought, what is this crazy person talking about, I could eat half of an entire cheesecake and not feel like it was too sweet or too rich. But then it occurred to me, that's what I need. It would be great if I could eat a square or two of dark chocolate and feel like it was a satisfying sweet treat, rather than eating an entire package of cookies and feeling like it's not enough. I figure if I stay away from sugary things long enough, eventually "sweet" will mean berries or dark chocolate, not straight up sugar.

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For me, chai tea did the exact same thing.  Black chai, green chai, mint chai, orange ginger chai... mmmmm. Tea. Helped replace my coffee cravings (because I love my coffee with milk and a small amount of sugar). 

 

I make my meals as delicious as possible so that it's not a 'chore', but a treat.  That's a little trickier, but with a diet heavy in meats and spices that's totally possible (I LOVE SPICY FOOD AND MEAT). 

 

And as of last weekend, when I accidentally got a real Coke instead of a diet Coke while at the pub, I think my tastebuds have changed.  The real Coke was almost horrifyingly sweet, and I used to go through a 2L pretty easily in one night.  I could barely finish it.  We also had nachos, but it was loaded with veggies and chicken and surprisingly good salsa and avocado, so that was an 'allowable' treat.  It was a party and a fundraiser, I gotta allow myself SOMEthing... :)  And I made up for it the next day by mostly just having soup and salads.

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I went with something that closely resembled my craving. I'm a former soda fiend, but upon discovery of canned naturally flavored sparkling water, it's been easy to stay off of them. Only having one or two on the the week. That also helps because I don't totally deprive myself and I'm at a point where I can go back to sparkling water once I've hit my quota of soda.

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My craving that gets me sometimes is Coke...

How I deal with it:  I tell myself that I will not drink a coke unless I have drank a bottle of water first. By time I am done with the water, the urge for coke has passed.



If I had an urge for ice cream or something I would tell myself: Ok, self... you can have that icecream *AFTER* you eat something filling.



I also can have an issue with boredom eating. My strategy for this is two-fold.

A) Minimize snacks lying around.
2) I make tea. The process of making the tea, waiting for it to be slightly cooler than the surface of the Sun, and then slowly sipping on it helps me not focus on my boredom hunger.

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My craving that gets me sometimes is Coke...

How I deal with it:  I tell myself that I will not drink a coke unless I have drank a bottle of water first. By time I am done with the water, the urge for coke has passed.

 

 

Replace coke with Dr. Pepper and that's almost the exact same way I go off it. I took a page from smoking cessation programs. I drink some water and tell myself that if I still want it in 15 minutes I can have it. It's always been successful for me.

 

And damn if taste buds don't change! I've been off the soda for a month (part of my unofficial participation in the challenge), and I decided on Saturday I wanted something sweet after dinner. We needed to go grocery shopping the next day, so none of my usual banana chips, dried blueberries or apples were around. I got a DP from the machine in the laundry room, and tried to drink it. I say tried b/c after 3 sips it was so sweet and syrupy I threw the rest away. Don't worry, I recycled the can! :nevreness:

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Replace coke with Dr. Pepper and that's almost the exact same way I go off it. I took a page from smoking cessation programs. I drink some water and tell myself that if I still want it in 15 minutes I can have it. It's always been successful for me.

 

And damn if taste buds don't change! I've been off the soda for a month (part of my unofficial participation in the challenge), and I decided on Saturday I wanted something sweet after dinner. We needed to go grocery shopping the next day, so none of my usual banana chips, dried blueberries or apples were around. I got a DP from the machine in the laundry room, and tried to drink it. I say tried b/c after 3 sips it was so sweet and syrupy I threw the rest away. Don't worry, I recycled the can! :nevreness:

Dr. Pepper... Ehrmagerd....  DDP (Diet Doctor Pepper) is the only diet beverage that I actually enjoy.

Just talking about it makes my mouth water (I have been soda free for almost a month now... when I fail, its only like 3 or 4 cans over the course of a week, so I don't fall off the wagon too hard) Hahaha....

Not today Satan.... Not today....... :P

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I definitely agree with all the people who say drinking water helps them.  

The thing I have found helped me the most (and I'm sure nobody wants to hear this) was giving up sugar completely.  I still eat fruit and if something that is not sweets/cakes/ice cream/jam/etc/etc has a bit of sugar in it somewhere I'm not too bothered.  

 

Treating sweet foods like cigarettes, where I said to myself "I have a problem where I am addicted to these, and if I want to not be addicted to them I have to just not have them anymore" has really helped me.  It has now been over two months, and there have only been a couple of times when I've been tempted (and two times when I have eaten sugar, when someone has made something special and it would hurt their feelings if I refused it).  I just accepted that sweets are something I have a problem with, and other than the first few days or week, I have had no cravings.  

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I've been experimenting this week with this lovely product called "coconut water."

Honestly, never really bought into the hype before now.  And no, I'm not talking about the sugary or flavored versions, I'm talking about the 100% pure coconut water (I'm buying the Naked brand myself).  It's got a nice mild sweetness to it and is a tad more filling than regular water.  I find that its flavor is appealing and helps curb my mild sweet tooth (I'm not a huge fan of sweets..but like anyone, one bite of something sugary and I find myself hooked for a bit).  It's also fantastic when added to my protein shakes.

Like some other people here, I also favor drinking tea a lot, I put a dab of raw honey in from time to time as well.

I too have removed unhealthy foods from my home. Beer being the only exception, but I have self-imposed limitations on that that I stick to.  My fridge right now is mostly full of veggies, tuna, beverages (milk, coconut water, aloe vera juices (love these)), and a variety of sauces/dressings (which we all tend to have).  This is pretty much 75% of the food in my place and my go to for most meals.  I do have previously made dishes in the freezer (another great tip..make healthy comfort foods, freeze the leftovers, nuke them when you are too lazy to cook and crave something bad), random snacks (gluten free crackers, peanuts, brazil nuts, etc).  My diet is honestly far from flawless..because I do allow myself a few things here and there..but that's what keeps me on it.  And the results I've been seeing lately..they speak for themselves.

At the end of the day, if you are getting the nutrients you need, you feel good, you look good (or are seeing the results you seek happening) and you eat mostly clean and good foods..that's all that really matters.  It is ok in my opinion to treat yourself sometimes..but if you find that treating yourself leads you to slipping into old habits..find an alternative.  Maybe try some tasty coconut water for that sweet tooth..I swear..it actually does help. ;)

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Serving sized packages really helped me. My mom got a huge box filled with single serving bags of lays potato chips. Occasionally I would have 2 bags, but usually coming to the end of the bag was enough to stop me. Last night I got myself some chips to go with my barbequed beef sandwich, and I got about the amount that would have come in a little bag, maybe a little less, and I was satisfied when they were gone.  Also getting my serving and putting the rest back in the cupboard, not just eating a few out of the bag!

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If I have a hankering for something unhealthy, I either

  1. try to ignore it - which has hit-or-miss success
  2. find a similar, healthy alternative - like blended frozen banana is remarkably creamy like ice cream
  3. figure out the basis of the craving - if its chocolate, have a handful of these almonds, if it is ice cream (sense a pattern?) have a creamy yogurt 

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Best thing you can do is just dont buy junky food IMO, and after you dont eat fast food for long enough it starts to make you sick lol. So you get the choice of eating something bad and getting sick, or waiting to get home. 99% of the time i just wait to go home. 

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I have a bunch of different ways, so if one of the methods doesn't work, I can still try others. 

 

Preventatively, purging all of the bad stuff from your kitchen/other places where you keep food means that it's much harder for you to give in to whatever you're craving. 

 

Lately I've found (counterintuitively) that if I really focus on the the unhealthy food I'm craving and what it's made of (white flour, sugar, etc.) and how those components can harm my health, I find that the craving subsides and I lose my appetite for it. I'm having more success with that method than I have with others in the past.

 

Some things, like pizza, you can recreate in healthier ways (like cauliflower crust pizza or blending a frozen banana to make a surprisingly close ice cream substitute). Other times, if I think about the components of whatever you're craving (are you craving something salty? crunchy? with tomato sauce and cheese?) I can think of something similar that has those categories. It's never a perfect substitute, but it usually helps conquer the craving. 

 

You can try thinking about or cooking something new and exciting that really appeals to you (but is healthy) to get your craving instincts focused on the delicious new thing instead.

 

You can also just try to wait it out if all else fails. If it's still weighing on you and draining your willpower after a day or two, it might be easiest to just have a small amount of what you're craving so you can get on with your life.

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