How many times have we started a weight loss plan and decided we need to cut out the junk we’ve been eating? We swear off ice cream, fast food, candy, fried chicken, whatever it is that gets you going. We are able to stick to our committment to ourselves for several weeks, or maybe even months, but sooner or later we revert back into old behavior.
Maybe you are getting out of the office late and that 10-piece extra crispy bucket from KFC is just too tempting to pass up. You reason with yourself and make excuses for your slip in discipline. “Well it’s just this one time” (it never is), or “I just don’t have time tonight” (yes you do, you just didn’t plan). Now, no one is suggesting you should NEVER eat the foods you have sworn off. In fact, eliminating them forever is simply setting yourself up for failure.
What needs to be accomplished is understanding that it’s not the foods you need to eliminate, it’s the CRAVINGS. What if you could go through life without a craving for pizza, chocolate, ice cream? How easy would it be to stay healthy and keep the weight off? You could indulge yourself when YOU wanted, not when your craving told you to.
1. Alter where you buy your food. If you have the choice between a healthy supermarket versus Walmart for instance, opt for the healthy one. When you are shopping, it’s easy to pick up the unhealthy processed foods when they are right in front of you. Eliminate the potential to experience a craving while you are shopping.
2. Never shop for groceries when you are hungry. Following this simple rule will completely cut down on your urge to buy things you really don’t need. Not to mention, you’ll probably save yourself a few bucks at check out. A hungry mind is a dangerous mind. Make sure you have eaten before going to the store.
3. Cook your meals in advance. Make several meals at one time so you have them throughout the week. This will eliminate the need to stop off at that fast food joint on a night you are getting out of the office late. All you have to do is pop them in the microwave or oven, and you are good to go. You’ll save money while eating healthier and better, how simple.
4. Carry a cooler of healthy snacks. Carry a cooler of healthy snacks in your car or office. Almonds, turkey sandwich, fruit, cucumber and feta salad, hummus, canned tuna, etc. If you always have healthy snacks at your reach, you’ll be less inclined to shoot over to the burrito stand for that carne asada burrito.
5. Understand all cravings will pass. Ride the craving like a wave. When you feel it beginning to hit you, recognize it. Allow the craving to enter your thoughts, but realize it is only thoughts. Shift your focus to something else and realize this is only a temporary feeling. The craving will slowly subside when you stop reasoning with yourself and thinking of excuses to cave in. Allow it to slowly drift away.
6. Indulge yourself. The point of this article is NOT to say never have the foods you like. If you can maintain a healthy diet 6 days a week, you have earned that 7th day. Now, I wouldn’t recommend eating an entire pizza, a gallon of ice cream, and a dozen Crispy Cream donuts, but allow yourself some breathing room. By indulging in the things you enjoy, you will have less desire for them. And who knows, maybe you will be able to give up those things forever? Just focus on eating right for the first 6 days, and on the last day, have what you’d like.