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How to Fight Food Cravings

Have you ever sat at the table holding your belly saying "why did I just eat that?"

I know I have a few times, and I am sure you have as well.

It's okay we have all been there.

Food cravings can be so powerful that you feel like they control you sometimes, but it doesn't have to be that way.

In fact, today I am going to give you foolproof behavioral tips to fight the food cravings once and for all, giving you the power back!

It is often to hear people say "show some discipline" and while yes that is helpful, it often is not the answer. Having discipline usually will last half a second, and the other half...well, you are left rubbing your belly saying "why did I just eat that?"

So if it isn't discipline, what is it?

Fighting food craving really boils down to three things:

  • Understanding the root of your cravings

  • Identifying your trigger

  • Changing your pattern

Understand the root of your cravings

How often do you feel guilty for craving fruit, a steak, or even a smoothie? I bet never. Unfortunately most cravings aren't for the good stuff.

When we have cravings it is often for sweet, salty, and fried foods.

Otherwise known as foods that will rob your progress and leave you feeling drained of energy.

When we have cravings, the cycle often looks like this... first comes the craving, followed by the action of eating the junk food, then the satisfaction or reward from eating the food that hits the craving.

This cycle leaves you with a hit of feel good emotions that satisfies you, and can drag you down a very dangerous road of giving into the craving.

The more often you indulge in the craving, the stronger the craving becomes and the more power it holds over you.

This is when its time to identify your trigger..

Identifying your trigger

Building awareness around your cravings is a powerful tool. Often times triggers or cravings can arise when seeing a restaurant sign, a commercial, a smell, a social event or even sometimes a conversation about food.

One of the most powerful ways to take back control is to start identifying when in the day you have these cravings the most.

A great tool is to start writing down when and where you have these cravings, and start building awareness around when these urges appear the strongest.

From there it boils down to changing your habits and your environment to control the cravings.

What we track we can control.

Start a notes sheet in your phone and start tracking when these cravings appear and learn to take the control back!

*Note... this will not be a 1 time activity, it might take a few weeks or maybe days but that is okay because we always want to be focused on the long term approach with our health.

Changing your pattern

Maybe you find yourself heading to the pantry for the cookies an hour after dinner. You know you aren't really hungry because you just had a well balanced dinner of protein, carbohydrates and fats but, you find yourself craving something sweet anyway.

Congratulations! You have identified a pattern in your cravings. You now can break the pattern and take the power back with these FIVE behavioral changes!

1) Give the craving a timeout.

Meaning when you feel it coming or it’s there, sit with that craving for 5-10 minutes without taking action. It allows you to contemplate your decisions, & let yourself know you’re in-charge.

2) Do something that is NOT chewing.

Usually cravings are psychological not physical so by doing something like, calling a friend, working on a project, responding to an email.. etc. it will take your mind off it and the craving will go away(cravings last around 15-20mins)

3) Try a 24 hour fast.

No you won’t die, yes it will be hard , yes fasting will bring a laundry list of emotions, cravings & Hunger, BUT you’ll notice that these feelings come and go very fast, and can be an empowering opportunity for you to lean into the urges and say “it’s okay to be hungry”

4) Eat the right foods during the day.

As coaches we aren’t in the business of telling people when exactly to eat because that’s not right and we know that, however, what we see is that folks who are often restricting their intake during the day will have more nighttime cravings.

Let’s keep it simple.. if you find yourself having aggressive night time cravings - look at what you’re eating during the day and think about implementing more protein , more veggies at breakfast & some more smart carbs. What you eat early matters!

I find the people with the most cravings severely under eat protein. A good rule of thumb is to eat 1 gram per 1 pound of bodyweight of protein DAILY.

5) Indulge

Give into the craving BUT eat it slowly, enjoy it ... like really enjoy it.

or follow the rule I like to use... “you can have it but you have to make it yourself”

Whatever it is, ice cream, potato chips, cake, double cheese burger.. whatever it is you can have BUT you must make it yourself. So potato chips have to be thinly sliced, ice cream has to frozen first, etc etc.

The point here is by the time you actually allow yourself, and prepare your treat of choice, the craving subsides!

You can not mess this up.

The final thoughts I want to leave you with is...IT'S OK. If you have food cravings and give into them sometimes it means that you are human.

It is so important to understand that even if you do give into the cravings sometimes, you can not mess this journey up unless you 100% give up on your diet and training plan all together.

I am certain that if you implement the above tactics into your routine you will be better equipped to fight your cravings for years and years to come..

But always remember, you can't mess this up. You got this!

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