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Everybody has cravings; these little desires to eat something we don’t need, or do something we know we shouldn’t. They can derail progress, piss people off, and are just absolute bullshit.
How do you deal with cravings? This is a question I haven’t had to answer in a long time. I used to crave things all of the time. When I was over 400 lbs, I gave in to every single craving. I do still have problems, but I’ve internalized some of the mechanisms I use to overcome cravings, so I don’t think about them as often.
So what works?
Well, to be successful with this, you have to stop giving into the craving. I know, that’s super simplistic, but that’s the end goal, not where we’re starting.
1. Move your ass the moment you start craving something
Separate yourself from what you’re craving. A craving, like hunger, is a sensation that will go away. This means that you need to go for a walk, hit the punching bag, or go do a chore/some other task you need to get done. This will allow you to put your energy into something more productive than giving in.
This also helps create a habitual response to cravings; if you go do something useful whenever you crave things, you will naturally start doing something useful when your cravings hit. If you put in the work, the machine will eventually run by itself, so to speak.
2. Discuss your craving (honestly) with yourself
I have (possibly?) odd inner dialogues about cravings, and I’ve been having them for so long that I’ve gotten used to them. I have them when I have cravings for soda, grapes, candy, whatever. Sometimes I have them out loud, as I find that makes it easier.
I ask myself some/all of the following:
- “Do I actually want this, or am I just habitually eating?”
- “Have I already had enough of this today (or some other time period)?”
- “Is there any point in eating this?”
There are varieties of the above, but these are the blueprint. If you stop and really have a conversation with yourself, it becomes harder and harder to say yes. Note: you will not be perfect. You have to develop this process, and you may give into your cravings more than you intend. Like everything, the point is progress not perfection. I have been doing this for awhile and still fuck up sometimes. Perfection is a goal for the perpetually unhappy.
The important part is that you honestly discuss the above with yourself. Hold yourself accountable. If you only kinda want the food, you don’t really want the food. Capitalize on these moments where you realize you don’t really want/need the food, because the more you do, they more they happen.
3. Stop buying what you crave
Some people have issues with moderation. They can behave in an almost addict-like fashion when it comes to certain foods. If this is you, stop buying what you crave for awhile. We don’t realize it, but cravings will go away after you don’t have something for awhile. When starting keto, for instance, many people have cravings for carbs for a moment. They eventually go away, but they can be incredibly difficult to deal with at first. Step one should be: stop buying them.
However you choose to handle your cravings, be consistent. The more you do it, the easier it will be, the better it will work for you.