Sweet Tips for Staying Healthy
Sometimes, eating right isn’t about managing hunger—it is about managing cravings. We’ve all been there before: It is just about time to call it a night and you are sitting on the couch watching TV. The house is quieting down and you are finally feeling calm and relaxed after a long day. You know it is best to just go to bed, but you can’t get the thought of a sweet snack out of your mind.
Late night cravings are some of the worst, but they aren’t the only threat out there. Cravings come at all times of the day and in all shapes and sizes. There are times when a craving will be something manageable, and other times when a craving will be so strong and specific that the thought of overcoming it feels impossible. During your medical weight loss program, learning how to manage these moments can set you up for weight loss success.
What is a Craving?
A craving is a mental manifestation of hunger. When you experience a craving, your body isn’t telling you that it requires nourishment. Instead, it is your brain saying that the synapses that detect pleasure would like a sweet treat. When you are trying to improve your health and are focusing on weight loss it is especially important that you learn to identify these false manifestations of hunger and find ways to make it through the evening without undoing the great choices you’ve made throughout the day.
The best way to fight a craving is to plan ahead. Cravings are common, and if you have a craving once, chances are you’ll get it again. The best thing to do is recognize that cravings happen and keep something around that will help you overcome a craving when it strikes.
Here are a few tips on how you can manage cravings in the moment:
- If a craving comes late at night, consider preempting it by going to bed earlier. If you can’t wind down much earlier, at least head into your bedroom and shut down the kitchen for the night by turning off the lights and putting dinner away as soon as you are done eating.
- Always opt for water first. When you find yourself wandering into the kitchen and wondering what is there for you to snack on, just take a glass of ice water and go sit down. See if you are still hungry in 30 minutes before opting for a snack.
- If you want something a bit more flavorful than water, consider putting a bit of citrus in your water or opting for a cup of hot tea, instead.
Finally, you can plan ahead for a successful craving attack by purchasing healthy snacks that will meet your taste buds’ needs. In addition to having the snack ready to go, calculate the snack into your daily caloric intake ahead of time. Knowing that you have a budgeted snack ready to go in the evening can help you avoid the guilt and uncertainty that often comes with a craving.