5 Step How to: Stop Cravings and Tame Temptation
Do you find temptation around every corner? Doing your best to confine your ice cream habit to cheat day but things are slipping? Temptation isn’t just for daytime soaps, but the good news is that it’s not as tough to beat as they’d have us think.
Why do we see people wrestling with being tempted on TV, sometimes for months at a time? Its because temptation is everywhere, right? And deep down inside we’re all on the verge of falling to it?
Temptation makes for interesting plot lines because it allows tension to build and can smoothly lead to even more interesting plot lines like infidelity, crime and self-destruction through any number of TV soap methods like drugs.
So then, what about you, and me, eating our beans and thinking about chocolate? (sometimes I wish black beans weren’t so close in color to chocolate).
What about when we’re heading for our walk outside and the sofa is calling our name? Or, in summer weather those juicy burgers and ice cold beers?? What are your favorite temptations that come calling on you right when you don’t need them?
Now that we’re thinking about them, let’s get one thing straight – they’re healthy! Having the temptations that is, perhaps not the actual triple fudge banana sundae that’s floating through my mind right now. But having temptations is a sign the you’re alive! So don’t lock them away.
Where it’s easy to get a little lost is in thinking the actual object of the craving is to blame for feeling tempted. There’s usually an underlying reason such a temptation finds you.
Loving the looking of a juicy hamburger? Maybe you haven’t been keeping up with your beans and meat enough lately and your body is craving some protein. It’s common to crave foods, especially if your fat intake is suddenly incredibly low.
Thinking the sofa looks like a better option than the gym? Maybe you’re not giving your body all the rest it needs each night.
Think it’s hard to get to the bottom of those temptations? It’s not, but a bit of practice helps.
Let’s take a look at a very common example: Snacking. I could have used candy, pizza, but the process is the same.
Step 1: Identify if the craving is a one-time thing, or is recurring.
In the case of snacking, it is recurring – let’s assume it comes most days.
Step 2: Look behind the action, or what’s involved.
Snacking involves eating something in between meals, sometimes at a desk, or on the move. However, if we simply try to control what’s at our desk or around us, things could get tough. Snacking seems to have some part of boredom involved, as it’s less about the actual kind of food and more about just having some. It could also indicate stomach acid issues, as putting food in an acidic stomach calms it.
Step 3: Get to the bottom of it!
From step 2, we progress to finding what’s the real cause of our craving. In this case, if we rule out any medical issue, like high stomach acid (which could be stress related), then we look at the activity, and the fact that it ‘cures’ boredom. We need to consider why we might be bored in the first place, and if its a reason that could be changed. Is it because we’re working at an unchallenging job? Is it because there are worries that are carried through the day, and unconsciously they create nervous tension, which needs a release? It could be as simple as lack of food at mealtimes.
Step 4: Re-engineer, don’t replace
Now we have a chance to actually make a great positive change in our lives. Rather than simply replacing a cookie with a carrot, we’re on the edge of being able to do away with those snacks altogether! Looking at the source of the problem, rather than focusing on the craving, can help dig to the bottom of something, unravel it, and give us a chance to simply work with it and change it. If the cause in Step 3 was nervous tension, quite possibly the antidote to a habit of snacking on cookies is a walk at lunchtime, or some kind of workout before work, not a carrot.
Step 5: Give yourself the best chance to succeed
If the answer to Step 1 was ‘recurring’ then now is the time to help yourself out by approaching the situation with you new solution, but realize that changing a habit does take some time. 4-6 weeks is generally long enough for something to feel like ‘normal’, so work out a plan of action, and follow through by marking it out on a calendar. You will be amazed how quickly the time flies by, and how you’re able, after a short period of time, to look back and wonder how your craving used to get your attention so easily.
If your craving is a one-off, then by now you should have found the underlying reason for it, and if so, then take some action on it! A lot of food cravings have their roots in missed meals, lack of a certain kind of nutrient, or a habit of looking for life’s variety and interest in food.
When on slow carb, people might find the food repetitive or boring. This can be quite challenging for some people, especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys getting a lot of variety and interest from your food. For anyone who feels like they’re just bored with beans, or sick of spinach, I recommend looking behind the cravings that come along – because they’re a sign that you’re looking for variety. This variety can be found in different ways other than food, and some examples of this include varying your workouts or activities, watching some different things on TV, finding some new things to read online, taking up a new hobby or learning something new. All of these will provide plenty of variety, so that food becomes functional, and practical, and life remains interesting. Remember cheat day meals can get as interesting as you like!
I know that you can beat those cravings, and a few minutes thinking about them before they attack can make it a lot easier!
Do you have a craving that drives you crazy? Or do you have some tips to share? Leave a comment below!
Photo by Pixaio
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