And the Questions You Need to Be Asking Yourself Before You Give In
Losing weight sounds simple enough. Eat less, move more. When you put it in those terms, weight loss almost seems…easy. But we know weight loss is anything but easy. And that’s because weight loss isn’t actually as simple as that.
There are so many more factors and variables that affect our ability to lose weight. And the hardest part? Staying on track and avoiding temptation.
You know the feeling. You wake up in the morning ready to take on the day. You’ve packed your healthy lunch, pre-tracked your day and planned your workout. But then you arrive at the office and find a box of donuts in the kitchen.
You try to turn your back, to avoid them, but they seem to be looking at you, calling to you. You say you don’t need them, that you can skip this time, but part of your brain doesn’t believe you. And eventually your willpower wanes and you pick up that donut, take it to your desk and devour it.
Then, the guilt sets in. You’ve ruined your diet. You were on such a roll too! How could you be so weak? The donut didn’t even taste as good as you thought it would, and now it’s giving you a bit of a stomach ache. And that voice in your head says you’ll never lose the weight.
The Power of Cravings
Cravings are powerful things. They come on so suddenly and take over your brain so you can’t think of anything else. And they won’t be satisfied until you give in.
But the truth is cravings only happen in your head. When you’re losing weight and avoiding fatty foods like donuts, your brain sees it as deprivation. So when you see that donut, your brain tells you that it wants it, and it wants it now.
But each time you give in, you’re making it more likely that you’ll give in again. And the opposite is true too. If you can ignore your craving, next time you get one it’ll be easier to ignore.
Cravings are kind of like addiction. Even if you don’t experience true food addiction, any type of craving triggers the same type of response as an alcohol or drug addict would have. You want to get your fix.
Getting Rid of Cravings for Good
There’s no magic formula for getting rid of your cravings. And those people who tell you their bodies crave vegetables now are full of it. Cravings are natural, and you’re going to experience them from time to time. You can’t control getting a craving, but you can control how you deal with it.
It’s time you had a strategy for dealing with cravings, so that the next time you get a craving, you know exactly what to do to crush it once and for all. To conquer cravings, ask yourself these questions. The answers will help you see your craving for exactly what it is: merely a brain wave.
Questions to Ask to Conquer Cravings
Can you wait?
When you get a craving, often you want what you’re craving right away. But that urgency isn’t reality. So start by trying to delay your craving. Once you’re able to do it one time, you’ll see that you can do it again and again.
Cravings don’t last. They seem powerful in the moment, but they can be defeated easily. You simply need to wait out the storm.
Can you avoid it?
If you’ve tried waiting and your craving is still coming at you full force, try to escape it. Our cravings are the result of a trigger. For example, if every day after work you drive by a McDonald’s, that would be the trigger that’s making you crave a Big Mac.
So the key is to avoid that trigger. Go home a different route. Avoid the kitchen until the donuts are gone. Or simply just walk away.
Get someone else involved in your journey too. Whenever you have a craving, tell them about it. They’ll hold you accountable to stay on track.
Can you replace it?
Sometimes you may be craving one thing, but your body actually needs something else. Maybe you’re just hungry for lunch or maybe you just really want carbs. Whatever it is, try to work it into your plan in a healthy way.
You can also try getting your mind off your craving by doing something healthy and productive. Go to the gym or take a walk. Do an activity you love, like writing or painting or reading. Whatever you can do to get yourself to stop thinking about whatever you’re craving.
What will it feel like to give in?
If you still can’t get that donut off your mind, it’s time to do a little visualization. Think about how it will really feel to eat that donut. Will it taste as good as you think? Then, visualize what it will feel like after you give in. Will you be disappointed in yourself? Will it cause you to give in to other temptations? You need to think about the consequences of giving into that temptation before you actually do. Then you can determine whether or not it will be worth it.
Will you enjoy it?
If all else fails, and you’re still thinking about that donut, just eat it. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to not overthink your craving too much. If it’s something you truly enjoy, then indulging a little may be better for you than letting your mind obsess over whether or not to give in to that craving.
But think about how it will feel when you do give in to your craving. If it will make you feel good, do it. But if you’re only going to feel guilty, it’s not worth it.
Assess the Situation
Cravings and temptation often are affected by other factors too. It’s often not just about that donut but about something else going on in your life. Are you stressed? Worried? Anxious? These thoughts and emotions can make it more likely for you to not only give in to cravings, but also get them in the first place.
If this is the case, the best thing you can do to conquer your cravings it to first conquer your stress. You need to deal with the real issue at hand, not the effects of it. Focus on self care and find ways to relax and put your mind at ease. In weight loss, mindset is everything, so it’s just as important for you to make time to take care of your mind as it is to take care of your body.
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