Manic: Me trying to count calories, walk 10,000 steps a day, not give in to cravings, etc. Tis’ the season to eat less and workout as our summer clothes are out of storage now, especially here in Phoenix. And since I have returned from my girl’s show choir trip, it is hard again this week. I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, so I’m writing this to remind myself of the tricks that I use and to ask you what your suggestions are when it come to busting your own cravings.
Managed: Got myself two free fitness & nutrition apps, one that counts calories and one that tracks how many steps I take on my smart phone. That makes keeping track easier…I just wish there was an app that took your cravings away. Since that doesn’t exist, I decided to share some of my tricks and tips when it comes to overcoming those pesky junky food cravings….
*Chew sugarless gum with Xylitol. The Xylitol ingredient is good for your teeth. The gum gives your mouth something else to do when it wants to chomp on carbs or sugar. Popping a piece of gum instead of a potato chip is working for me, so always keep some sugarless gum on hand.
*Eat grapes. They will satisfy your sweet tooth and give you good antioxidants . One cup of grapes only has around 60 calories, so this healthy fruit can satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your calorie count. Try them frozen for a really good treat, too.
*Brush and floss early in the evening. Once you have taken the time to do that, chances are you won’t want to eat and have to do your brushing and flushing all over again. My Mom taught me this trick.
*Make a date with yourself to work out and keep it, no matter what. Last month as I was headed out the door to jog two miles, I received a tempting text to join a couple of gal pals for wine. I had to tell myself that tonight it was my workout over wine….but I did text back a wine date and enjoyed that several days later.
*Drink unsweetened green tea. It is a natural fat burner and it gives you a little something other than water all day. Plus you will get a little pick-me-up with the caffeine, while getting the good benefits that green tea has to offer. If I’m out, I’ll buy an unsweetened green tea at Starbucks and refill that same big cup with water all day long.
*Do something else when the cravings strike. Get your nails done, play soccer in the backyard with your kids (they will LOVE that), cuddle with your pet, buy your favorite magazine and read in a nice bubble bath. Last year on Labor Day, we went boating with friends instead of going out for our usual Labor Day meal or cooking out. It ended up being so much more fun than going out for the usual celebratory high calorie meal. That was fun and that also exercised our bodies instead of our forks. Find something else to give you the pleasure that satisfying that sweet tooth gives you. The more you resist the cravings, the easier it gets. The more you give in to it, the harder it gets.
*Make a list of good foods that you enjoy. My list would include foods like watermelon, avocado (a good fat), almonds, salmon, popcorn and a handful of dark chocolate chips. When you fill your shelves with healthy foods that you like, you will feel satisfied and your body is getting better choices, too.
*Don’t drink your calories and avoid diet soda. Diet soda isn’t good for you because of the unhealthy artificial sweetners. I pretty much limit myself to water, skim milk and green tea. The only other two drinks I allow myself to enjoy is my daily coffee with fat free half & half and the occasional glass of wine. I try to keep it to one or two glasses of wine due to the high sugar content and of course the morning after hangover. The older I get, the tougher the hangover is on my body.
*When planning to dine out (one of my favorite things to do), look at the restaurant’s menu ahead of time so you can make wise choices. Then when you first sit down, tell the server that you don’t need a menu and that you already know what you want. That way you won’t be tempted by the elaborate menu with the glossy food pictures that make your mouth water. This tip has helped me a lot.
*If you give yourself a weekly cheat day, enjoy it, but be wise and purchase lower calorie treats ahead of time like Skinny Cow ice cream or baked pretzels over potato chips. I also like the Eating Right brand of foods, especially these 80 calorie chocolate raspberry ice cream bars. With the very specific food labeling in place, it makes sense to read the labels and choose your cheat foods wisely, too. My cheat foods are a handful of M&Ms mixed into popcorn (so good), Skinny Cow ice cream, trail mix with chocolate mixed in and the occasional Starbucks Peppermint Mocha…but made with skim milk and light whipped cream.
*Eat half of what you usually eat. If you really want that cheeseburger from In & Out, eat half of it instead of the entire thing. My gal pal told me that her trainer told that and it has been working for me….on most days!
I hope some of these cravings busters help you. What are your tips to avoid those figure buster cravings? Share in the comments section because as I proceed with my “watch it” plan, I will take all the help I can get. It is twice as hard when you are raising an active family who also have cravings and are hungry a lot! And this week, having just come off a fun trip and then a harrowing Disneyland trip gone bad….I’m having major cravings again, so share your tips and tricks….but do enjoy some occasional ice cream. After all, it is summertime 🙂
Those are all great tips! I read somewhere that sugar is as addictive as crack. The only sweets I buy is dark chocolate. I’ll either get the tin from Trader Joes or the bars from Ikea and allow myself two squares that I let melt in my mouth to extend the flavor. Another tip, I find that coffee will kill my appetite. If it’s late in the day, I have a cup of decaf. I buy raw almonds and snack on those. If you’re truly hungry, eat something small and with protein in it or your hunger will gradually drive you insane. I try not to buy junk food or anything I’ll be tempted by and if I do, I’ll have a small bit of it. And if it really becomes a battle of wills and I know I’m not hungry but just want to eat, I’ll ask myself if I’d rather eat that crap or be skinny. Skinny almost always wins. Unless there’s wine or cheese. I really do think sugar puts weight on you more than other foods though. Maybe because there is no nutritional value and it goes straight to fat. I might have to research that.
Great tips, Julie. I have seen those IKEA bars, but I never bought one before. The next time I’m there, I will have to get myself one for the dark chocolate snack. It is a daily struggle, but it does get easier with every day that I stay away from the sugar. Darn yummy addictive stuff.