There’s nothing like determination, willpower and focus to keep you on target. Couple that with a smart nutrition and exercise plan and you’ll be unstoppable. And when it comes to determination, one of the greatest benefits of persevering with regular exercise is the crossover to the rest of your life. If you’ve stuck to your exercise plan over the past months or even the past weeks then I’ll bet you’ve learned to:
- Manage stress more effectively
- Stay calm(er!) when you’d usually be frantic
- Delay gratification when times are tough
If you think about it, reaching continually for the water bottle or sweat towel, or even checking your phone during a tough workout is no different to reaching for that Freddo Frog, glass of wine, creamy pasta (insert your own indulgence) during or after a stressful day.
Despite all this, we all give have our weakness of choice. For me there’s one temptation I still find it hard to avoid. And I’m guessing I’m not the only one. It’s hard to tell if it’s years of habit, the ready availability of this drug of my choice (chocolate!), or a genuine demand from my brain, but come mid-afternoon I automatically think of one thing.
I want it, I need it, I must have it.
And I do. Or at least, I used to. You might not be a chocoholic, but I’ll bet you’ve experienced some sort of cravings before, and whether it’s a regular urge or not, the fact is that when those feelings of desire overwhelm you it’s hard to resist giving in.
But here’s the good news – just as you can learn how to still your mind and wait just one, two, three, even ten seconds longer before giving up on that tough set in the gym, you can also learn how to overcome those sweet craving and wait those extra minutes or hours until the urgent need has passed.
Five Ways To Curb Your Sweet Tooth
1. Stop the cravings before they show up
I’ve found that many of my clients – even the ‘healthy’ eaters – rely heavily on carbohydrates over proteins and fats. Protein and fat are a crucial part of your diet. They form the building blocks of your hormonal system, and without them your body cannot perform all it’s metabolic duties.
When you don’t include (natural, whole sources of) protein and fat in your main meals, or only do so from time to time, your body starts sending distress signals telling your brain to get nutrition immediately! Sugar is what you’ll crave because it provides that quick fix .. followed by a quick dump leading to further cravings. If you lay the foundations by including protein and fat at breakfast and lunch, the sugar cravings will gradually stop.
2. Remove Temptation Or Remove Yourself
It’s just too easy to dip into the biscuit jar or sweets bag when everyone else is doing it. If you can’t clear your office space of sweet devils then remove yourself.
At mid-afternoon munchie time, just make your excuses and get out of there – fast! Even if it means you sit in the toilet cubicle for 15 minutes. If you work from home, keep a rule of no sweets in the house. That way you’ll have to make the effort to go out, and this is easier to talk yourself out of. Sounds simple, but it works.
3. Brush Your Teeth
We’re conditioned to understand that freshly brushed teeth mean food is behind us. Try this simple distraction technique as soon as the sweet urge hits you, and then …
4. Get Busy
Ever noticed you always seem to eat more junk when you’re having a slow day? Make mid-afternoon (or whenever your cravings hit) your ‘super-productive’ time. Schedule meetings for this time, run errands, do housework – just do something that requires you keep moving and let the temptation time go by that little bit faster.
5. Get (true) Satisfaction
Once the cravings set in, they’re only going to get worse until your body gets what it needs. Guess what? True satisfaction means real food, in all its glorious richness.
Try indulging with a small piece of quality cheese, some avocado with sea salt on thinly sliced sourdough, or some natural nut butter with celery sticks. The key here is to go for fat or protein based snacks, not sugar based – even fruit. Once sweet cravings have set in, carbs will only make it worse.
Eating and living well doesn’t need to be a constant battle – if you follow these points you’ll find it easier and easier to push away the demand for instant gratification, and you may even find your newfound will-power crossing back over into the gym.
Next time the urge hits you you’ll be well equipped to hold out, and you know that the true gratification which follows such determination is well worth waiting for.
Life is Now. Press Play.
PS: Yes I do still go for the chocolate from time to time – but I ensure it is a conscious choice not a daily habit!
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