Work With Your Cravings … For the Best Results

Holy Calorie Bombs!

I came across this list yesterday of the top 10 sources of calories in the US diet …

  1. Grain-based desserts (cakes, cookies, donuts, pies, crisps, cobblers, and granola bars)
  2. Breads
  3. Fried chicken and nuggets]
  4. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks
  5. Pizza
  6. Alcoholic beverages
  7. Pasta and pasta dishes
  8. Mexican mixed dishes
  9. Beef and beef-mixed dishes
  10. Dairy desserts

Ok… be honest. Which one is your weakness? For me, number 10 is my Achilles heel. I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE my ice-cream!

The problem with the majority of these foods is that they are high fat, high calorie, AND highly rewarding as well as easily available, which makes it difficult for most of us to resist.

But resist is what most of us try to do. We will power our way out of the temptation and deprive ourselves of the foods that we know are bad for us. There’s nothing wrong with that if it works for you.

But willpower is a depleting asset, which means the more of it  you use, the less you have. So it’s not uncommon that after a long stressful day at work – when you have will powered your way to the gym, past the cookies on May’s desk, past the fried chicken at the cafeteria, through some tough project – that your cup of will power is empty in the late afternoon!

Nothing derails a weight loss or healthy eating plan faster than deprivation + easy availability of food + depleted willpower!

Instead of will power, how about responsibly giving into your cravings. What???? Novel approach – but it’s a trick I picked up from researcher Brad Pilon and it’s what I tell my clients.

Deprivation is the mother of failure. So try the exercise below.

What are your must have foods? The foods that if you still get to eat those, it will make make your weight loss or your healthy eating plan much easier to adapt to. They are the foods that make you happy and that without make you feel miserable.

  • List about 5 foods that you must eat that will not make you feel deprived. Here are my must haves
    • plantain chips. I love crunchy things … and plantain chips have my taste buds 🙂
    • panini’s … I love the texture of the toasted bread
    • ice cream – grapenut. I’m a sucker for ice-cream!!
    • chocolate – no reasons needed!
    • wine – again … no reasons needed!!
  • Figure out how to keep these foods in the rotation (and in small portions) so that you do not feel restricted. Here’s how it works for me!
    • On some mornings, I have a few plantain chips (just a few) with my smoothie or I crumble a few into my soup for lunch.
    • I’ll have a half a panini with lean meat like turkey and just a small bit of mayo – served with a veggie soup for lunch.
    • I enjoy ice cream once every couple weeks – a little bowl is enough to prevent cravings from building up!
    • I enjoy a square or two of dark chocolate after dinner on most nights. And I add cacao or chocolate protein powder to my smoothies
    • Finally … on some nights I may eat less of a serving at dinner or give up my starchy carb and replace it with a glass of wine.

It’s what you do the majority of the time that makes the most difference. So eat healthy foods 90% of the time. Then instead of relying on will power to be “perfect” in your diet – give yourself permission to enjoy your “must haves” responsibly for your 10%.

I would rather you include a few treats along the way if it will make you stick with eating healthy in the long-term. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Now I’m off for a bowl of ice-cream 🙂

Tell me below how you deal with cravings … do you resist it away?  Do you find other ways to indulge?  Share, please!