Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cravings: How to NOT Sabotage Your Diet

You're sitting quietly at your desk, working, when all of a sudden, you have a strong desire for Tombstone frozen pizza.

You're playing with your kids when all of a sudden, you have a strong desire for a scone.

The desire is so strong, you can almost taste the food in your mouth! Then you realize that your mouth is literally watering at just the mere thought of the food. Has this ever happened to you?

OMG. Pictures like this make me want to lick the screen!
We all have cravings, some stronger than others. It's what we do about them that makes the difference in whether we take steps closer to or further from our goals. The most important thing to remember about a craving is that it's just TEMPORARY. It WILL go away.

I've been reading some research about cravings - why we have them, what causes them, and how we can effectively deal with them - without sabotaging our fitness goals.

Here are a few good resources:
I know I've briefly mentioned my struggles with making healthy choices, and I know that some of you may be having some very similar struggles. I've noticed that the cravings seem to be particularly strong in a few circumstances: the middle of prep, the end of prep, off-season when following a very structured diet with little variety.

A few weeks ago, I had some atrocious cravings for pizza. Luckily, J determined that a treat meal was ok, so I got to eat a slice of pizza. That will be my only treat meal during this prep.

Last year at this time, I kept looking at pictures of food and recipes on Pinterest. I even compiled a huge collection of recipes that I wanted to make after my show. All this did, though, was spur my mood to feel crabby because I couldn't eat those foods. Instead of staying positive by focusing on what I could have, I focused on what I couldn't have. It was very negative experience, and not one I'd like to repeat. I haven't looked at Pinterest in months, and I also haven't been obsessed with foods I can't have on my diet. It's really helped my positive outlook this year. The worst part of all that? I didn't make one recipe that I collected. Not one. What a waste of time and energy on something so clearly useless and negative.

Just because my outlook is much more positive this year doesn't mean I'm immune to cravings, though! The other night, I shoved my entire head into a bag of french fries and inhaled deeply. I really wanted some of those fries! But then I walked away. Because my competition goals are much more important to me than eating a few fries that will just glue themselves to my hips anyway.  The craving was really strong, but I knew it would pass.

Things that help me deal with cravings:
  • Drink water.
  • Drink tea or coffee.
  • Chew gum.
  • Leave the room.
  • Look at myself in the mirror and remind myself of what I want to look like on stage.
  • Smell the food (if it's in front of me) then walk away. (I know this sounds really strange, but it helps me, and I do know others who do the same thing.)
  • Eat my own food.
  • Do cardio (if it's around the time I should do cardio anyway).
I hope some of these tips help you deal with cravings too. We all seem to fall prey to them at some point; the important thing is to stay focused on your goals and believe in yourself. If you fall off the wagon, dust yourself off and climb back on again. Don't make excuses for yourself. Take responsibility and come up with some action items to help prevent it from happening again. Stop any self-loathing before it begins - remove the emotion and press the Start button on your diet again.

How do you handle cravings? Have you noticed any time frame or regularity for when they occur?


  1. Aw, man, I saw the picture and thought it was some magic anti-craving recipe!! LOL Then I read through your article... Disappointing that there's no "magic dessert," but good tips nonetheless. Only wish I had seen this before lunch instead of right after!!

  2. just found out yr blog and i find yoyr blog amazing:)