Mix Ice Cream Bowl in Plate

I believe food cravings can be one of the most powerful feelings we experience – and oftentimes hard to resist and control. However many of us have learned to recognize when we’re about to binge on something that’s not so healthy and have developed methods of coping to combat these primal urges. So today I’m asking what YOU do to beat the cravings.

To beat cravings, I’ve heard people using everything from dinking a glass of water, chewing gum, even drinking tea as a way to put the feelings at bay. But I have to be honest, for me NONE of those things work. And I’m not sure how well any ‘tricks’ work to help anyone who has a specific food they lust after. For me, eating ice cream and sugary treats are driven by my emotions. I eat them when I’m stressed, worried, anxious  and upset as a way to soothe and calm myself down. Of course this is a double-edged sword because I’m almost always angry at myself for making bad choices, which adds to my stress, which makes me eat more junk! It’s a vicious cycle and I’m sure many of you are familiar with it.

In years past I was a diet soda freak, I mean I literally drank one to two 2 liters per day of diet orange, grape, root beer or any fruity flavored soda. I used to drink it with crushed ice to make a Slushee of sorts, so for me it was a sweet treat. But I find now that my vegetable intake is what really stops my sugar cravings. Lets face it, when we crave food it’s not broccoli, or spinach or anything healthy. It’s usually all about SUGAR. It’s been said that sugar is more additive than cocaine and you know what? I agree! Taking in sugar in junk food creates a paradox; the more you eat the more you want. This is in partly due to your insulin levels rising and crashing, but I also believe that’s it’s in part due to an actual physical, physiological addiction. Your body just wants sugar once it has a taste.

By eating a mostly Paleo diet, my body doesn’t get ‘sugar’ exactly, but instead I eat a ton of fibrous vegetables that give me sustained energy, help me feel full, are great for more health and above all reduce my cravings for sugar. Although I have to tell you that when giving up sugars, white flour and white products, the first week is tough – both mentally and physically. Your body almost goes through a withdrawal of sorts but after you clear the initial ‘detox’, it’s smooth sailing.

I know you’ve all heard the ‘eat every two to three hours’ mantra that supposedly helps you beat the cravings and keeps your metabolism running strong. I don’t buy into any of that at all, although I did for years. And again, I truly believe most of our bad food choices are emotionally driven, so regardless of how many times you eat you’ll cave if the right recipe or opportunity and weakness presents itself. I know what the answer to beating cravings is – awareness. I know that if I give in to my cravings it becomes a downward spiral that often lasts for days. For me the key is knowing my personality and making a conscious choice to avoid temptation. I try not to keep bad food in my house or buy it at the store. When I go out I steer clear of places that tempt me and try to order healthy choices. But let me be clear – I cheat, of course I do. But I try to keep it to a minimum and make ‘healthier’ bad choices. As for the diet soda, I rarely drink it now and stick with mostly water.

But what about you? How do you beat the cravings? Share away.

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