Summer days, drifting away…oh those summer nights…
Where did it go?
Did you blink and miss it?
How is it that winter seems to last for ever yet summer flies by in the blink of an eye?
It is SEPTEMBER tomorrow people (gulp!).
Yes my friend, sweater weather is around the corner but that doesn’t mean we are putting our bodies away just yet, there is still a few weeks of shorts, dresses and shoulders to display!
If you read last weeks newsletter you would have seen I was writing to you about the fact that when on vacation I noticed I didn’t take my food, drink, behavioral, habitual cravings with me and a few reasons why (change of scenery/behavior and more sleep). I’m going to piggy back on that topic this week and give you a little more insight in how to conquer those darn cravings (did anyone say sea salt kettle chips?!)
Do you know that suppressing thoughts about foods you crave can make the cravings worse?
Yes, research shows that trying to suppress thoughts about certain foods can actually intensify your cravings!
Have you ever had someone tell you NOT to think about something?
Like, right now: Don’t think about how delicious a slice of your favorite cake would taste right now.
Chances are, you pictured the cake, right? (you’re welcome)
The same thing can happen when you suddenly banish foods from your diet because they are ‘bad’. When health coaching someone I don’t recommend they go on a ‘diet’, I don’t ask my ladies to cut out any food, but to find a healthier replacement, and sometimes this replacement isn’t always food, often it is an action or behavior. We build one good habit at a time and the overall effect is a sustainable lifestyle change rather than an (often) unsustainable ‘diet’.
One technique I recommend is to focus on the EFFECTS of eating the foods you crave.
For example, how do they make you feel AFTER you eat them?
Do they give you a headache or stomachache? How is your mood afterward? And your energy level? Do you feel guilty? If you’re a nighttime snacker, what will eating those foods close to bedtime do to your sleep … and how will you feel tomorrow?
The truth is, most of the foods we crave might taste good in the moment, but we don’t feel so great after. So instead of trying NOT to think about eating coconut cream pie …. what about thinking about how you’re going to feel AFTER you eat it? Try this strategy, and you may just make a different decision next time. If that doesn’t work, another thing I say to clients is that if they make the decision to eat the food then they should be happy with that decision and not attach any shoulda, woulda, coulda to it. You ate it, now move on and make a choice you are happy with next time.
Have you heard of basketball player Dwight Howard, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Let’s roll the clock back to 2014 when he was having trouble coming back after a back injury.
On the outside, he looked lean, strong, and basically invincible. But he had a BIG secret that everyone on his support crew was helping him keep: he was a major sugar freak who craved it all of the time.
Eventually, the team’s nutritionist figured out something was going terribly wrong and she confronted him, and Howard told her the truth …… he was eating a LOT of candy – the equivalent of about 24 candy bars a day, or about 500 grams of sugar!!! (For comparison’s sake, the American Heart Association recommends men eat no more than 9 tsp (36 grams) of sugar a day, and women, 6 tsp (25 grams) daily.)
That’s about 2,000 calories a day just in sugar – not to mention all the unhealthy fats and other not-good-for-you ingredients in all that candy. Some estimates put the daily calorie total at more than 5,000.
But here’s the thing. It wasn’t just that he was eating too much candy. He also had tingling in his arms and legs, and he was having trouble catching passes. The suspected reason: A nerve problem called dysesthesia, which can happen with people who have diabetes, yet on the outside, he still looked like a healthy, strong pro basketball player.
After the intervention, Howard worked with the team’s nutritionist to replace all that sugar with healthier choices that would fuel his workouts and help keep him satisfied. It wasn’t long until the tingling started to go away and his health markers (i.e., blood sugar levels) improved. Now obviously Howard’s workouts were long, intense, pro-level workouts, but it just shows:
- How vigorous workouts can ramp up your cravings and
- How important it is to plan ahead to fuel your workouts, especially if they are long or intense!
Takeaway: pay attention to how you feel AFTER your workouts and observe how different kinds of workouts (strength training, cardio, high-intensity, etc.) impact your cravings and how they make you feel later in the day.
Knowing your body is the KEY to success.
Plan ahead and fuel yourself with a light, healthy meal or snack before and afterward, to help keep those cravings at bay!
If you would like to know more about cravings and how to CRUSH YOUR CRAVINGS… head over to my Facebook Group Flourish with Zoe where you will have access to my Metabolic Boost E-book too!
About Zoë Dodds
Life, Health, and Fitness Coach
Zoë has a passion for helping and empowering women to the best version of themselves.
With 20 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry, she delivers inspiration and wealth of knowledge to her clients, some of which she shares in her blog and weekly newsletters.
Originally from England, Zoë has lived in Seattle for 9 years with her husband, two grown-up children and a Labrador called Jordi.
Click here to read more.