For as long as I can remember I’ve always had something sweet after my dinner. A couple of pieces of dark chocolate, a homemade mocha or half a protein bar, it’s always satisfying and I savour it. Following this strategy prevents me from feeling restricted and is manageable so I don’t feel the need to binge come Friday.
It hasn’t always been this way.
Back when I was yo-yo dieting, I would constantly try to banish this sweet from day. The very moment I’d said it aloud I’d be craving something sweet. It never lasted, and then when I’d eventually had enough…I’d binge. I’d make up for my restriction and eat it until it was either gone, or until I felt sick.
This kinda shit is exhausting, repetitive and no way to live.
Since letting go of my dieting days, and incorporating fat loss and moderation strategies I’ve found that my nightly sweet is a great tool, it feels like I have an advantage each day because I’m no longer fighting my willpower or trying to banish something which I enjoy.
I literally have my chocolate AND eat it…without feeling off the wagon or gaining weight.
Sounds good right?
Here are FIVE strategies which will help you let go of the craving and binges, instead you’ll eat a sweet with intention, enjoy it and move on without guilt and shame!
#1 Start Early
If you’ve already identified that you experience a craving at the same time each day then the first thing to consider is that your meals prior to this are not actually sustaining your energy levels or keeping you full.
Your meals are not mutually exclusive, what you eat at breakfast can and will have a direct impact on your choices later in the day. If you start your day by drinking black coffee, skipping breakfast AND are struggling with hunger, energy and cravings throughout the day then this needs to be adjusted.
Add a serving of protein and fibre at your meals, think egg whites, lean meats or protein powder, leafy greens, raw veggies in a salad and drink an extra glass of water at each meal.
#2 Preempt it
One of the worst things you can do is limit your calories in the hope that you’ll outsmart your body or brain.
You won’t. It’s not possible. Your body is smarter than you.
Instead of restricting yourself and trying to fight through the hunger and fight the urge to eat something sweet, pre empting your craving by eating/drinking something will actually put you in a better position long-term.
My go to choice is a protein shake or bar, because protein is satiating AND my cravings are usually for sweets so this hits my sweet tooth and reduces my hunger.
This is also a great strategy to use before dining out, if you aren’t that hungry but know you will be by the time you get to the restaurant, preempt this feeling and manage it by eating something before you leave the house.
Always choose higher protein/fibre choices rather than something quick like crackers or trail mix as these foods could trigger cravings and cause you to feel MORE hungry.
#3 Don’t fall into the sugar
You get to mid afternoon and you feel exhausted, you’re yawning and want to take a nap.
A colleague suggests they go and get some sugar to ‘perk you up’ – just say no…
You don’t need sugar to perk you up, this will have no benefit to your body or brain. It will taste great in the moment, but the effect is short term and you’ll crash by the time you arrive home, now even hungrier and with added cravings.
Instead get up and move around the office. Take a walk up and down the stairs, offer to make the drinks and whilst you’re waiting get some squats and lunges in. Get some added movement in, fresh air is a bonus and choose protein/fibre over sugar.
#4 Don’t wait
My favourite strategy because it is exudes #AntiDiet – have your chocolate [or insert said sweet] earlier in the day!!!
Yes, that’s right if you crave mid afternoon or at night time then I’m encouraging you to have this sweet earlier in the day rather than waiting until you’re tired/stressed and lacking energy. When you experience these emotions you are less likely to make the best choices for yourself, and even more so if you’ve felt deprived all day.
Instead have a little of what you want earlier in the day, it will take the edge off and keep you feeling satisfied.
PSA: if your thing is wine, then I don’t encourage this earlier in the day – but you’re an adult and can make you’re own choices.
#5 Practice makes Progress
These are strategies which I’ve used myself, and I use with clients, but they involve practice.
It doesn’t happen overnight, we are all at different stages on our journey’s and this was something which took me a long ass time to overcome. I believed food held the power and that I couldn’t have a serving size, or heck just have ONE and put the rest back. In reality my brain can overrule food and there will ALWAYS be more chocolate, dessert and cookies.
My go to at the moment is not having dessert when I eat out unless I really want to. I ensure I am mindful of meal choice and unless it’s a dessert I know I’ll actually enjoy [because why else would you bother?!] I will wait until I get home and have a piece of chocolate or make a cup of cocoa. This process helps to remind of abundance, and that I don’t need to eat it just because it’s there.
It enables me to say ‘NO’ and then remain satisfied by choice.
I no longer see my daily sweet as a ‘bad’ thing, because that mindset is long gone. I still have to practice when dining out or on vacation because it can be easy to get carried away with what everyone else is doing.
I still consider this to be one of the hardest parts of moderation: other people don’t understand.
Why should they understand? They’re living their life, and I’m CHOOSING how to live mine and I make these choices. There is no blame game, because it’s a choice to say ‘yes or no’.
If you are struggling with cravings or endless snacking, then let’s connect.
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