Category Archives: Mindset

How To Fit Losing Weight Into Your Life

The next few blogs will focus on the most common emotional mistakes people make in their efforts to loss weight.  Today will focus on how to successfully lose weight for life.

FoundationYou’ve had some success with Weight Watchers or a low-fat or low carb diet, but now you’ve stalled.  The novelty of losing weight has worn off and now work and home life has caused you to lose focus in your efforts to lose weight.  This is a common mistake, it’s because you tried to fit your life into your diet instead of making your diet part of your life.

Mae West once said, “knowing what you want is the first step to getting it”.  The top two reasons people want to lose weight is for health and appearances.  Those are powerful reasons but keeping them front and center means addressing the issues that caused the weight gain in the first place.

What Works In Losing Weight

If you look at the National Weight Loss Registry that tracks participants who have lost at least 30 pounds for over a year, you’ll find that most maintain a low-calorie, low-fat diet and get an hour of physical activity – usually walking – a day.  Some have kept their weight off for over 65 years and have lost as much as 300 pounds!  Other findings are that participants tend to weigh themselves weekly, limit TV to no more than ten hours a week and eat breakfast daily.

How To Fit Weight Loss Into Your Life

There’s no getting around it.  Examining the patterns that lead to your weight gain is essential for lasting weight loss.  Yes, you’ll mourn some of those habits, but your weight will come right back on if you don’t address them.  The following are the three most common causes I’ve seen for weight derailment:

  1. Not putting enough value in a good night’s sleep.  People try to stretch the day by staying up late to finish watching a ball game, a late night show or playing internet games.  Before you know it, it’s been three or four hours since dinner and those high-fat, high calorie munchies in the kitchen are soon in your hand.  So not only to you go to bed full, but you wake up tired and not hungry for breakfast.  Lack of sleep is associated with a decrease in the hunger-blocking hormone Leptin, and an increase in the hunger-producing hormone Ghrelin.  Insufficient sleep causes weight gain.  Furthermore, waking up tired is not exactly conducive to wanting to work up a sweat.  At least during the work week make it a priority to get to bed at a decent hour, before you would be naturally hungry and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
  2. Develop a hobby instead of watching TV.  There is nothing more mind-numbing than watching TV.  And with all the food advertisements, it heightens the desire for snacking.  When you mind is busy, it’s off food.  Besides, having a hobby is a great way to cope with stress and boredom – the two most common reasons for non-hungry eating.
  3. Not believing in yourself.  Losing weight is not a sprint, it’s a lifelong marathon.  Anyone can lose weight quickly through a fad diet, but keeping it off means believing that you are strong, that you have willpower and that you are worth making the changes to the nonfood parts of your life that will help keep the unhealthy habits out of your life.  There will always be temptations, but they also diminish in intensity.  Have faith that you are strong enough to get through those moments and focus on what you are gaining.

Change Your Life And You Will Have Lasting Weight Loss Success

Losing weight begins with a strong foundation of getting to the root cause of your weight gain and going from there.  It’s not a diet, it’s a new way of living your life for the rest of your life.  It’s learning how to adjust your life in order to fit lasting weight loss, not fitting your life into a temporary diet.

 

Candy Cravings On Your Mind?

These next couple of blogs are part of the series of common nutritional and emotional mistakes people often make in the logistics of losing weight. Today’s focus is on candy craving.

There are times during the day when the brain just stalls and candy cravings call.   It gets fixated on something or quits making any creative breakthroughs.  That’s when the ole candy dish starts to look mighty fine….and if you grew up on the 70’s you might hum that jingle “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t” and reach into that bowl for something chocolotey, coconutty and chewy.  Maybe some of you have been disciplined enough to still have some of your Halloween candy (or maybe you just stocked up when they went down 50% the next day).  So you open that piece of candy either from home, at work or in your car and you pop it in your mouth.   Mmmmm.  Can you taste it?  Bursting with flavor, little crunchy, little chewy, little chocolatey.  All kinds of sensations and textures filling every corner of your mouth.  You’re in heaven.  You just got that initial pick-me-up feeling.

Mintel’s report on Snacking Motivations and Attitudes US 2015 found that many people are snacking in order to satisfy a craving or improve work focus.  But what you choose to snack on can either be a pick-me-up and keep me up, or a pick-me-up followed quickly by a put-me down kind of feeling.  My goal is to help you see how eating soda, cookies, candy or some other sugary snack is just a short-term fix, only for that mouth-filling moment, and then poof, it’s gone and you’re tired.

Candy Cravings, A Pick-Me-Up or Put-Me-Down

Feeling tired or unproductive at work is a frustrating feeling.  Add time pressure and boredom with a task and you have a magic recipe for a candy craving.  It seems logical that candy does rev us up, giving us all kinds of energy immediately, but you have to understand what comes next.  All that extra sugar tells the pancreas to make extra insulin which then causes our blood sugars to crash.  Soda, cookies, fruit snacks and other sweets do the same thing.  That’s what makes us tired – the fluctuation in blood sugar – especially from a candy craving.

Discretionary Calories, Not Much Room For Candy Cravings

A day's worth of food

Nutrition Action Healthletter visual

Discretionary calories are the “fun” calories we should only eat after we’ve eaten the nutrient rich foods our body needs.  For a 2000 calorie diet it amounts to about 200 calories for a sedentary individual a day.  They include the sugar in coffee, the wine with dinner, the candy for the afternoon pick-me-up.  The governor in our brain should say, “hold on, will your day’s worth of food look anything like the menu above?”  Are your candy and cookie choices using up the calories your body really needs to deal with the daily attack by cancer-causing cells,  building the good HDL to fight off the artery-narrowing bad LDL, wearing out your pancreas and leading you to type 2 diabetes, or aggravating inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis?  How is that short-term candy craving fix really serving you?  If you really want that candy, save it as a reward after you’ve eaten what your body really needs and then go for a walk.

Cravings Pass And There Are Better Foods To Improve Focus

That afternoon lull might really be a sign of boredom, tiredness or need for brain stimulation. Changing your scenery, talking to someone, doing a brain teaser or doing a different task might be what your brain really needs.  If you need a pick-me-up to really improve focus, choose something from the menu example above to check off some of those nutrients your body really needs and save those discretionary calories for later.  If your mouth still really wants that candy delay it by then first get a cup of tea, talking to someone and then see if you still really want that candy.  Cravings pass and will power gets stronger, one craving at a time.

 

Logistics Of Losing Weight

Bar Harbor Penobscot Trail

A good health coach will help you find the “cairns” to lasting weight loss

Everyone has a different pattern and flow of filling their stomachs.  There are many aspects that go into the act of eating, and understanding these individualized aspects are essential for unraveling the dynamics of losing weight.  I call it the “logistics of losing weight”.

By definition logistics is the management of flow of things between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet requirements of customers and corporations.  I take the liberty of substituting certain words of this term to get to my logistics of losing weight.

My definition of “logistics of losing weight” is the management of flow of things between an individual’s original weight to future goal weight in order to meet requirements of their physical and emotional well-being.  The more the client understands the flow of things, like eating patterns and variables impacting food choices, the more success the client will have at losing weight and keeping it off.

Factors In the Logistics of Losing Weight

There are many factors that impact the “logistics of losing weight” but they can be lumped into two categories:  the nutritive and emotional value of eating.  Losing weight is not just about eating less.  It’s a tug-of-war between fueling the body and satisfying the mouth in order to successfully keep the weight off.  And through it all, it means wanting it badly enough to forego immediate temptation in order to have long-term payback.

Nutritive Value of Eating

Nutritive value is the umbrella term for knowing how to plan, shop and prepare a healthy meal.  It means understanding the relationship between carbs, protein and fat and why they are each important.  It means knowing how to make substitutions that will still please your mouth, yet not compromise the end goal of weight loss.  It’s about finding the right foods that will keep you full.  It’s about knowing why eating whole, real food with simple ingredients is better than eating calorie free foods with lots of chemicals.  It’s about the journey in learning all these things over time, not overnight.

Emotional Value of Eating

Emotions play a big role in food choices.  Eating is a way people connect with one another and it often comes with expectations.  Addressing the emotional components of eating is essential for lasting weight loss.  This means being open to new recipes, putting time into planning and preparing meals and finding coping strategies to deal with temptation.   It also means exploring feelings of hunger and understanding what is real hunger, and what is mouth hunger and what is behind each type of hunger at different times.  It’s about continuously observing actions and patterns in order to gain “will-power” so you will get through temptation.  It also means becoming self-aware without judgement because this process is a journey and no one gets it right immediately.

A Good Health Coach

There is nothing like a good health coach to help you lose weight.  An impartial, supportive and knowledgeable coach will get you to your goal.  A good health coach will address both the nutritional and emotional components of eating by navigating you through your logistics of losing weight and keeping it off.

Barbara does personal health coaching in person or through Skype and can be reached at barbarahgroth@gmail.com.  Like her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AHealthyWeighTodayLLC/

 

Life Lessons From Nature

I always find autumn to be a time of reflection.  I am tempted to go outside whenever possible knowing that soon the extreme cold will limit my exploration.  My eyes seem to gain acuity realizing they will be starved for months to come.

Over the past month on my hikes, quirky things have jumped out at me, which seem to be nature talking to me – little life lessons from nature.  I think they are worth sharing because these images spotlight and mimic some common struggles we humans experience.  You might get a different message from these pictures, but just contemplating them leads to a sense of peace and calmness.  And sometimes calmness is a nice place to be.  Calmness gives us energy for other areas in our lives.

Life Lessons From Nature:  Know When To Let Go

dandelion rootSometimes we hold on to opinions so deeply we lose sight of what the opinion was founded on.  The attachment to that opinion becomes the cause of the fight.  And like nature, where moisture, soil, sun and nutrients can change, conditions in our own lives change and warrants us always to try to observe with new eyes for more better understanding.

Life Lessons From Nature:  Make The Best Of Your Gifts

tomato plant on the curbWe are all dealt our cards in life, our genetics that determine our personality, our health and our looks.  It’s so easy to compare and judge someone else’s cards in life and forget to make the best of what gifts we have.

Accept your hand of cards, play them to the best of your ability and bear fruit!

Life Lessons From Nature:  Get Out Of The Rut

Get Out Of The RutIt’s so easy to fall into a routine and become stuck in our thinking.  I remember how hectic it was trying to balance raising three children along with work, managing the household chores and finding personal time.  My form of adaptation was to always get up early and keep to the routine.  I found over time that keeping to the routine was my own personal kind of rut.  Over time I learned to be more creative with my use of time and break out of some of the conventional thinking I was raised with.  I broke up household chores into small increments done daily between waiting for something to boil, preheat or bake.  I was more mindful about the notion of cleanliness and with what frequency.  I learned to look ahead and anticipate needs of my kids, work and home in order to avoid feelings of last-minute stress and keep a steady pace.  Getting out of the rut affords the opportunity to be creative with how one thinks and acts on life.  It’s energizing and empowering.

Life Lessons From Nature:  Believe In Yourself

believe in yourselfThere are times in life when it feels you may be going against the current.  The people in your life may disagree with your life choices but you need to follow your gut and be true to yourself.

Standing alone can be scary and cause uncertainty but those feelings come and go with conviction.  If you are following your heart and you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

Life Lessons From Nature:  Adapt To Life’s Challenges

yield

If your current environment is keeping you from thriving, then decide to either change it or change your perspective on it.

Blaming the environment instead of making changes will stunt your growth and keep you from finding lasting happiness.

Life Lessons From Nature:  Everyday Is An Opportunity

Sunrise from Cadillac Mt, Acadia

We all make mistakes and have regrets, but tomorrow is a new day.  Wake up each day with renewed fervor.   Make amends whenever possible, but otherwise, let go of the past because it is stealing your present.  And today is the beginning of the rest of your life.  All things are possible for you.

quinoa custard for dessert!

No Guilt Desserts

A carb overhaul means making your dessert indulgences tasty and healthy.  It doesn’t mean less joy and satisfaction; it just means adopting new recipes and being creative with old ones.  The Center For Science In the Public Interest (CSPI), a consumer advocacy organization whose mission is to conduct research as well as to advocate for the consumer, posted a wonderful document in their Nutrition Action Health Letter on what a typical day’s worth of food should contain in order to meet the body’s nutritional needs.  If you care about having your body perform at its best and reward you with great energy, sleep, less inflammation, less gastrointestinal issues, fewer headaches, better blood pressure, better blood sugar and less artery clogging fats, then pay attention now.

A Day’s Worth of Food is based on the Omniheart study which examined three different dietary approaches to reduce heart disease.  A day’s worth of food was a hybrid of two of the diets with emphasis on more protein and replacing saturated fats with more unsaturated fats.  The following daily guidelines is what is recommended to lower coronary heart disease risk:

  • 11 servings of fruits and vegetables (with more emphasis on the non-starchy veggies)
  • 4 servings of grains
  • 2 servings of dairy
  • 2 servings of legumes and nuts
  • 1 serving of meat, poultry or fish
  • 2 servings of oil and fats
  • 2 servings of desserts

Wow, you say, actually 2 servings of desserts.  That means one dessert after lunch and one dessert after dinner.  No problemo.

Well, look more carefully at the bottom and see what they describe as a portion of dessert:  one small cookie or 1 teaspoon sugar.  Ok, that means I could have sugar in my tea and one cookie or I could have 2 cookies and no sugar in my tea or I could have no cookie and 2 cups of tea with sugar.  All sugars are about the same whether its honey, Agave, molasses, maple syrup or brown sugar – they all deliver about 4-5 gms of carbs per teaspoon.

You Do Not Have to Desert Desserts!!

I do not despair; I look at this as a challenge.  I ask myself, how can I stay within the recommendations without compromising my taste buds?  With the list including fruit, milk, eggs, nuts and whole grains, it’s a no brainer to find ways to incorporate these into the dessert.  Fruit is a natural sweetener allowing the ability to cut back on sugar without compromising the taste.  Using whole grain flour or oatmeal is just as good in things like crisps, coffee cakes and even cookies (think oatmeal cookies).  Adding plain fat-free Greek yogurt to the batter does nothing to disturb flavor yet adds dairy and protein.  Flax seed is a nice oil substitute and adds heart healthy fiber and some inflammation reducing omega 3’s.  Using cinnamon, nutmeg and even lemon can hide the decreased amount of sugar.

Using oatmeal in a crisp topping is a nice way to get a whole grain and is as satisfying as a piece of pie made with white flour.  Adding cinnamon and nutmeg has a way of enhancing sweetness while allowing less sugar to be put in the crisp.  Making a topping of crisp with just 3 tbsp of butter blended with a pastry knife is just as tasty as a two pie crust made with a cup of shortening.  My Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp is as good as any pie and is even better if it is made from blueberries grown in your own yard.  Blueberries are so easy to grow and give such a high yield for months each season.

Want something warm and soft for dessert with just a bit of texture on a cold winter day?  My quinoa custard really hits the spot, delivers nice protein from the eggs, dairy, Greek yogurt and quinoa, has nice fiber, and tastes sweet yet is low in sugar.  It dissolves in your mouth if you are a custard kind of person.

Feel like a cake?  Try my Apple Crumb Cake.  This dessert is high in protein with the eggs, Greek yogurt, and whole grains, as well as high in fiber and the McCoun apples and cinnamon make up for the difference in less sugar than most cakes contain.  You could also use this same cake batter and make a lemon blueberry cake.  Omit the crumb topping and use blueberries and lemon juice instead of the apples.  Use plain fat-free Greek yogurt instead of the vanilla yogurt.  And once it comes out of the oven squirt the juice from one lemon over the cake and dust the top with confectioners sugar once it has cooled.  Both are so healthy you can have them for breakfast and no you are starting the day in a healthy way!

Want something cold and creamy to hit that sweet spot?  My Mango Frozen Yogurt dessert is high in protein, low in fat, delivers a serving of fruit and dairy while being low in sugar.  Even a cup of this creamy dessert would keep you within the two teaspoons of sugar allowance a day.  All you need is an electric ice cream maker that you can find for under $30.  If you want you can pour this mixture in popsicle molds to savor the taste a little longer.  You could substitute any fruit for the mango.

Delicious and Nutritious Desserts

That’s my goal.  I take ideas from old recipes that aren’t as healthy and I find a way to make them healthier depending on whether or not I want crunchy, cakie, soft or warm or creamie sensations for dessert.  I look at batter as a vehicle for delivering wholesome, healthy yumminess.  I look at Greek yogurt as a way to augment my protein.  I look at fruit as nature’s sweetener.  It’s all in the perspective.  It’s all in the attitude.  It’s all in what’s important:  choosing to give your demanding taste buds anything they want or carefully considering what surrounds them on the way to nourishing your body to keep it at peak performance.

 

Great sources of fiber!

Ten Steps To A Carb Overhaul

Ten years ago, I could never have written this article.  My diet has changed significantly since then as a result of working with patients with chronic disease, especially diabetes and coming to terms with my own family history of type 2 diabetes.  I still had a child at home who along with my husband was the recipient of my increased awareness and experimentation with different recipe recreations.  Like the gradual shifting of the coast line of Maine, I gradually shifted my taste buds, food expectations, and purpose of food.  It started with the tangibles of eating, but soon became the intangibles of eating like eating patterns, boredom, and meal planning strategies.  These are the steps that helped me to overhaul my carbs.

Ten Steps to Your Carb Overhaul

Carb overhaul

This is a carb overhaul!

1.  Eat more non-starchy vegetables.  These aren’t carbs but they replace some of those not-so healthy carbs you might otherwise choose to go with your meat.  I know many people say they hate them or just skip them all together.  But the reality is those people haven’t really given them their best shot at trying a variety of them or finding a way to prepare them so they can at least tolerate them.  You don’t have to love them.  You just need to consume them.

Aside from all the vitamins, minerals and fiber, they will more importantly give you volume, color and jazz on your plate that the extra carbs used to take.  Can you imagine the plate above. without all the tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives?   I think I would be searching the cabinets before dinner was even cleaned up!  I recommend keeping cut up fresh veggies to have with hummus or yogurt dip.  Add a veggie to breakfast by having a smoothie or making an omelette.   Sneak them in soups or puree them into tomato sauces.   Mix them in your mashed potatoes.   Add them to sautees.  Play with it, find what works, and double up on what you like so you can get at least 2-3 cups in the course of the day.

2.  Experiment with other grains.  Nothing is more indicative of a carb overhaul than a flirtation and eventually an adoring relationship with grains.  Grains like quinoa and farro have a nutty flavor and can be eaten for breakfast or are great added to soups and sautes.  A quarter cup of dry quinoa has 5 grams of fiber and protein.  I made a custard with quinoa instead of rice that was delicious.  Not only was it wonderful for dessert but it made a great breakfast with lots of fiber and protein from the grain and eggs.

A quarter cup of dry farro has 7 grams of protein and fiber.  I use farro and other grains instead of rice.   I added farro to my chicken soup instead of rice or noodles.  It gave it more texture and it handled reheating much better than noodles.

3.  Explore different beans.   Dried beans are loaded with vitamins, fiber and protein.  And they are cheap.  Before you go to bed just dump the beans in a pot and soak them over night and slow cook them in a crock pot or a pan for a few hours.  I freeze the extra I can’t use that day.  Try my Three Bean Salad which lasts a week in the frig and is a wonderful side dish in the summer, full of fresh veggies, cilantro and lime juice.

If you can’t be bothered with that process then buy canned beans or try lentil beans which take only an hour to cook.  A quarter cup of dried lentils has 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein.  They make a great soup, can be mixed with other grains or can be a salad topper.

4.  Determine your trigger carbs and get them out of the house.  For me it was potato chips.  I tried getting smaller bags, getting individual bags, and even substituting them for black bean chips, but I finally figured out that I just couldn’t have them in the house in any amount or related form.  The black bean chips were tasty and a little less of a draw but I still ate too many of them.

I finally figured out that I was occasionally ok with getting the one or three ounce bag of them on rare occasions.  For some people keeping them out of sight, like in the cabinet or closet can eliminate the temptation but from my experience very few people are able to do that.  It takes just one bad day, bad conversation, or some other moment of weakness and they are quickly devoured.

5.  Stop the juices, sodas, flavored coffees, vitamin waters, chocolate milk.  Throw out the containers of orange juice or other fruit drinks or juices and instead, just eat your fruit.  You will get more fiber, less processing and lots of vitamins.  Juice glasses are bigger than in the past and 8 oz of juice will give you 30 grams of blood sugar spiking carbs with little natural fiber.  Stop the sodas, even the diet sodas, they only elevate the bar for our taste buds.  Try seltzer water or water with lemon.  Your tongue will adjust.

frotherNo more mocha, choca, lots-of-carbs hot drinks.  Invest in a coffee grinder, grind your own fresh coffee beans and get a frother.  I LOVE my freshly ground coffee and can enjoy it with just a 1/2 tsp of sugar or a bit of Stevia and lots of fresh 1% frothed milk!

6.  Change your expectations of food textures and density.  Whole grain cereal, crackers and bread will be denser, nuttier and chewier.  If you are one of those people who doesn’t eat the crust, this will take some time.  Start with oatmeal bread.  Try Triscuits instead of Ritz crackers.  Add quinoa to your white rice.  Try Uncle Sam’s cereal instead of Honey Bunches of Oats.  Or maybe you just need a complete overhaul a few days a week and try something totally new instead of just trying to recreate a favorite meal.  I started a couple of months ago making my smoothie 5 days a week and I really love it.  It never really occurred to me until I saw my daughter making one.  It just wasn’t in my repertoire until recently.

7.  Make your desserts healthy.  This is an opportunity to be creative.  Get a serving of fruit and whole grains by making a fruit crisp.  Get a serving of milk, fruit and whole grain by making a quinoa custard.  Cool off in hot weather with a berry/Greek yogurt popsicle by combining the two in a blender until smooth and then pouring in popsicle molds.  Or get an ice cream maker and try making your own fruit ice cream.

8.  Get your family and coworkers on board.  You can please some of the people at least some of the time.  Get your people on your team.  A carb overhaul isn’t a punishment.  Food is not just about filling a void.  It’s about giving your body what it really needs so it can work right and treat you right, plain and simple.  Make it fun, it’s all in the attitude.

9.  Have your LDL and blood sugar checked before and after your diet change.  I tell my clients to give it three months.  It takes about 3 months for awkward changes to be comfortable, for cholesterol to come down from all the extra fiber and for blood sugars to stabilize.  If your LDL was high before, I guarantee you it will be lower.  If your fasting blood sugar was elevated or approaching 100, I guarantee you it will be lower.  And I guarantee you the changes you have made will be more comfortable, less awkward and your creativity will be sparked.

10.  Notice how you feel over time.  This is the payback.  You will feel better.  Your life will become a ten.  Your energy level will become a ten.  People will notice.  Your spirits will improve because your body is getting just what it needs and it will perform at a ten.  Just try it for three months and try your hardest.  Don’t focus on what you are giving up, focus on what you are getting.   I know this to be 100% true.

Cravings

Time, The Test For Cravings

I have to admit, I love a good deal.  There are few things as rewarding to me as buying an item  way below cost, especially if the item is something I really need.  And the weeks right after the holidays are one of the best times to get great deals.

Recently, I was on one of my favorite websites, Sierra Trading Post, prompted by an email promotion for free shipping and extra 30% off on clearance items.  My impulse was to check out the online clearance items immediately but after spending 10 minutes on the website it occurred to me that I was not shopping with a particular purpose.  I was shopping for the pursuit of “the deal”.  The pants I saw looked wonderful and had great reviews and the price was ridiculously cheap, but I realized I was being sucked into the shopping vortex of aimless buying without a real need, just to take advantage of “the deal”.

I stopped myself, closed the window and said to myself, if I feel the same way about the pants tomorrow then I would consider purchasing them, but only after letting 24 hours pass.   The next day, I realized that I really did not want the pants and my strong impulse to buy them had passed.  I also realized that this impulse to shop online was triggered by a tempting email promotion.  Had I not received the email, I would not have wasted 15 minutes of my day.  This lead me to go through my emails and “unsubscribe” to several of my favorite clothing vendors.  Get rid of the trigger, decrease the impulse.

Food Cravings

The shopping impulse is very similar to food cravings.  The holidays are finally over which means gone are the many temptations of cookies, sweet breads, chocolate and other mouth satisfying seasonal treats.  I can look back and recall the times I found myself in the kitchen reaching for the box of homemade toffee and wanting just a little piece.  I also noticed that these cravings passed more easily on some days.  It became a little game for me to witness my desires for all the holiday goodies and to create some personal rules to abide by. First of all I had to understand what made my resistance to temptation stronger on some days more than others.  This is what I observed:

  • On days I did not eat 3 balanced meals, I had more cravings in the afternoon and evening
  • I noticed that days when I had more on my mind and was more distracted, I had more cravings.
  • I found that when I brought the whole container of tempting foods out to the room while I watched TV, I ate much more of it than I had intended and really regretted my choice.
  • I noticed that keeping tempting foods out of eye sight made a big difference in the frequency of my cravings.
  • I noticed that I had more cravings when I was bored, feeling anxious or felt justified to enjoy a treat because “this only happens once a year”.
  • Lastly I noticed that over time my cravings diminished in the course of an evening and that other things, like drinking hot tea, helped assuage my desires.

Next, I addressed each of the observations.  I did not skip lunch – I had at least a protein and carb like low fat cottage cheese and fruit or a piece of whole grain toast.  I made lists of the things I had to do to give me more focus and sense of control.  I tried to make plans just for the next day and not jump too far ahead in my thoughts.

I put the chex mix out of sight and quit taking the whole container out by the TV.  I changed my self talk to “you are going to regret the extra pounds you will put on if you continue to eat this way” and strongly considered the feelings of regret for the 2-15 minutes of splurging.  And finally, I did not immediately react to my craving – I gave myself at least 15 minutes before acting on my temptations while also getting back in the habit of fixing a hot cup of tea around 7:30 in the evening.  I find having something warm to drink is satisfying and diminishes my desires for something sweet or crunchie.

Time

Lord Byron, an early 1800 British poet said:

“Time! the corrector when our judgments err”

Although, lord Byron most likely was talking about discernment of the heart, this saying can  apply to coping with cravings as well.  Giving in to impulses is usually due to poor judgment and lack of planning.  Having a plan to control temptations and having a rule to delay immediate satisfaction will not only improve your sense of self-control, but will leave you with more time to do things you really want to do!