I’ve always struggled to eat healthy all day everyday. Of course, I blame my cravings. I’m a mood eater… I think about what I want to eat and I eat it. Since starting my fit life journey, that emotional process has been controlled and streamlined quite a bit to focus on healthier choices, but ultimately, I still like to eat what I crave. In all honestly, I just about die laughing when people ask me how I eat so well all the time, because… I don’t! I certainly try, but we’re all human and as a recovering carbaholic party girl I can tell you first hand, it’s hard as shit.
My major mental dilemma seems to begin when I’m more consistently eating healthy, because that means my cravings stop to some degree. While that may seem like a good thing, in actuality, it translates to grumpy feelings that nothing will be satisfying because there’s nothing I feel like eating. After days or weeks of great clean eating and tons of greens, whole grains and lean protein, my mind grows bored and when my body gets hungry, it’s all bad news. Questions about what I feel like eating turn into terrible nightmares of nothing…. No really, I don’t feel like anything. I let my lack of craving turn into lack of eating which undoubtedly turns into hangry bitch syndrome (hungry/angry for those who haven’t been introduced to this incredible word). Since I never believe in starving yourself or cutting out meals, I’ll usually grab something I don’t really want to eat at this hangry point…. or more likely is I’ll grab something I think I want to eat, like junk food or processed carbs, and I’ll end up feeling even worse. What a whore of a situation. Totally uncool.
So, where does that leave us? Hangry bitch all the time? No, spank you helpy helperton. Instead, I try to re-structure my mental process to conquer a long-term relationship with craving control and clean eating.
DON’T LET YOURSELF GET HUNGRY
I can already hear the “bitch, you crazy” comments after reading that title. Calm down everyone, let’s not get out of control!! What I mean by “don’t let yourself get hungry” is TAKE CONTROL of your day and your appetite! Eating small healthy meals and snacks all day long is universally recommended for a reason… not only does it keep your metabolism up but it keeps you FULL! Being full all day long might make it harder to eat that next small meal or snack, but keep going. Small portions eaten frequently throughout the day will limit the amount of meals you go into feeling absolutely starving. The hungrier you feel, the more you’ll eat and the less you’ll think about what you’re putting in your body.
Water is also key. Yes, here we go talking about drinking more water again. Seriously… do we need to keep addressing this?!? YES, actually we do. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day and add an extra 8 ounces for every serving of caffeine or alcohol you take in. Sound like a piece of cake? Great, go do it. Sound like the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life? Great, go do it anyway. No matter how full you may feel during days of eating small meals and drinking the right amount of water, you’ll shrink in size and feel better than ever.
SHIFT FROM WANT TO NEED THINKING
It is so damn common for people to go into meals thinking about what they want to eat. It seems like every conversation I hear goes something like…. “Ok, what do you feel like eating?” “We could do Italian food, Chinese food, sandwiches, Indian food, ohhh there’s that new great Thai place around the block, salads…” While there’s nothing wrong with that, per say, it instantly encourages your craving sensors. Instead, go into meals thinking about the actual ingredients or components you need to eat and pick a meal or place to eat out from there…. “Ok, what should we eat?” “I need vegetables, some good lean protein and some tasty whole grains…” “Awesome, there’s that new salad spot in town with all that, we can grab stuff to BBQ at home, we can build our own meals at Whole Foods…”
Shifting your mental process to choose meals based on their actual components will instantly change the way you eat. Stay away from thinking this “seems boring” and embrace the idea of a healthy lifestyle!! If you really feel like a “type” of food, I’m not here to stop you, but I am here to encourage you to make healthier choices. No matter where you go, you can find a healthier alternative…. ditch the fried components that you might usually include, remove a slice of bread off your usual sandwich, load up your meal with veggies and don’t forget to drink that glass of water on the table!!
EXPERIMENT, EXPORE & BE CREATIVE
Eating a “standard healthy diet” can get monotonous. The key is to experiment with new things, explore different ideas and be creative! Something as simple as adding a new spice to a meal you always make can make a world of difference. Try out every cooking method you can think of – bake, BBQ, crockpot, steam, skillet and more! Take time to try foods you’re not used to or think you might not like. As we grow and mature, so do our taste buds. I can list off at least 10 things I thought I always hated, but after trying them again I realized they’re AWESOME!! For instance, I used to stay away from avocados, tofu, salsa, mushrooms, onions, and oh my god I can’t believe how closed minded I used to be!! Something I didn’t like once upon a time when I was 5 is not necessarily something I’ll hate forever and now, I love love love giving things another chance to impress me. Go Pinterest crazy, grab a new cookbook, trade recipes with friends, re-create restaurant concepts at home and make a point to keep things fresh. Boredom is Captain Craving’s best friend…. don’t let that bad influence de-rail you from a healthy lifestyle!!
To kicking those cravings in the butt,