I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the first issues I tackled when switching over to a healthier, happier life style. The biggest change, even bigger than my portion sizes, was controlling my ferocious cravings. Cravings can unpin even the most holier-than-thou lifestyle.
The other night at The Scuffer I was talking to Chris about cravings and how I never heard him talking about them, thus this first section is for the ladies. Think about it girls: when was the last time you heard your best guy friend lusting after a pint of Ben and Jerry’s? Or when was your boyfriend jonesing hard for some chocolate covered (insert delicious, unhealthy food item.) As much as I think there are some more serious, biological reasons we have cravings, I also think a lot of the reason cravings plague females is because the notion is foisted (yup, foisted) on us.
Mom: PMSing sweetie? I bet you’re craving some chocolate.
Boy issues got you down? Have some potato chips.
On the verge of an emotional breakdown? Here, have some ice cream!
For many girls this idea of emotional eating has been ingrained in us the minute our mothers sensed puberty’s bitchy-ness rearing its ugly head. Admit it: our parents were tough, but we were hellions, and puberty is over! Thank goodness. No more acne. No more mood swings. How about no more needing to soothe every rough patch with a cookie? And while boys are less likely to have tell-tale emotional eating habits, I’ve noticed that they generally make worse meal choices. Pizza, burgers, and fried treats are major food groups and since guys tend to have faster metabolisms (and fat deposits itself in different places) they don’t always have to address their bad eating habits until later in life.
Sometimes are bodies are craving things because we are missing an essential nutrient, vitamin, or amino acid. If you’re a vegetarian who has surpassed the realm of meat cravings, has settled into a plant based diet, and are suddenly craving burgers and wings it may be your bodies way of telling you it needs more protein or iron. That’s when you up your bean or quinoa intake and start supplementing an iron pill. But, let’s be real, most peoples’ cravings aren’t the sign of a deficiency, but our sweet tooth whining for attention. Last time I checked cookie dough ice cream didn’t run through my veins.
To put it simply your body craves what you give it most. If you workout out your body will crave the feeling the moving. Runners who take time off for injury or sickness are well known to go through withdrawals. If you give yourself fresh salads during the summer you will crave salads. It also goes the negative way. If you give yourself chips your body will crave chips. If you give yourself soda your body will crave soda. It’s not much different than the body craving crack-cocaine if you’re a crack addict. Except the fact that crack is a lot worse than soda, but you get the point. For example, I never used to be a chocolate fiend and didn’t understand peoples near orgasms inducing lust for the dark stuff. And then I found dark chocolate. It was innocent at first. A few nibbles there, a few bites there, and before I knew it I was walking to City Market purely for the chocolate bars. Moral of the story, as I do love my morals, don’t go down a path you aren’t ready to walk. It took weeks to climb out of that chocolate craving hole.
We really need to approach this all A.A style. Before you deal with your cravings you have to accept them. “Hello, my name is Jocellyn, and I have a problem with sweets.” There. Now how do I find a solution to the problem? Sometimes you have to grit and bear it, baby. You have to tell yourself “no, I will not eat you snickers.” Some people say you only live once, but I think it’s completely okay to discipline yourself against eating snickers on the regs. Once in a while is okay, but every day—nope! Sometimes just a few weeks without the devil food will cure us of our cravings. Other times we need to supplement new and healthier foods in. Since I’m someone who likes sweets, fruits are a great way to satisfy that stubborn tooth of mine. I’ll eat some bananas, some apples, some pomegranate seeds, or drink a fruit smoothie. That usually does it. Other times I’ll try to find a healthier way to re-create my favorite treat. Tosca Reno has a greattttt recipe for peanut butter cups. If you know me, you know that my car floor is covered in Reese’s wrappers. I even dream about them sometimes… They’re honestly the unhealthiest thing I eat; Dear God why did they start making the Big Cup in a king size? Her recipe allows me to eat them in a slightly healthier way. The calories might be the same, but since they’re made with protein powder I’m getting the added benefit. If you’re someone that likes salty food then buy some salted almonds. Take it another step and buy plain almonds and add the salt yourself to cut down on the amount.
I guarantee that if you give yourself a few weeks from the offending food you won’t think about it as much. Give yourself a few months of eating it sparingly and the taste will be completely different. Maybe it’s too sweet or too salty. I know I can barely stand drinking a can of soda! Cravings can be complex, but a lot of the time with a bit of will power and patience you can overcome them. Don’t let them control you. And remember, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting a cold-war style embargo on bad foods. Don’t let people make you feel silly for being disciplined enough to only indulge certain occasions.
Now peel on into your break ❤
Up next: How to approach the holiday food and alcohol festivities, because I know you’re probably stressin’ over it…and shouldn’t!
- 1 Scoop (Chocolate) Protein Powder
- 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-2 packets stevia
- 2 tbsp water
1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Divide into 2 – 4 portions in muffin tins.
3. Freeze for at least an hour.
Preparation Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: Freeze for at least 1 hour. More is better.
*Store up to 3 days