How to best avoid temptation when it comes to eating healthy
- Visualise your reward - Really sit and think about how making the right decision is going to benefit you in getting that 10kg of fat off or fitting into those jeans you once used to with ease. Visualise the feeling of that moment as best you can to make the temptation dissipate more effectively.
- Alternatively, visualise the consequences - Imagine the feeling you will have if you are diagnosed with diabetes. This is of course an over-exaggeration to just one bowl of ice cream. But this method can help repel you from making that initial decision that can lead down that dark path. Be cautious not to use this method as a way to shame yourself, just use it as a way to gain some perspective and realise the possible consequences of your actions.
- Be Mindful of WHY you may be experiencing a food craving - Ask yourself "do I really need this?" "What is really going on to make me feel this way?". This may not always work, but at least for some people, it can help in adapting their mindset to make the right decisions in regards to cravings in the future. You will slowly get used to stopping and thinking before you buy that hamburger.
- Postpone rather than eliminate - The cold turkey method may work for some people, and that's great! But it doesn't work for us all. This is where it can be helpful to tell yourself "I'll have it later", rather than "I'll never have it again". Psychological research shows that in choosing to eat something later, you slowly get rid of the cravings more effectively than if you quit cold turkey (How many people do we know that have gone cold turkey on cigarettes and then bounced right back to square one?)
- Replace your habits - If you are actually hungry, then its ok to eat. Just replace the bad foods with a healthy snack, i.e.:
- A craving for simple carbohydrates or sugars could suggest that in fact your body is in need of more protein or complex carbohydrates for energy. Carbohydrates break down into sugars. This in turn means that sugars themselves and simple carbohydrates are not a good source of energy as they are broken down immediately and your body doesn't stay satisfied nor does it need to work at all to break them down. - your body will receive more energy from high protein sources and complex carbohydrates because they are broken down at a slower rate. When looking for good protein sources, nuts, Low-fat milk, cheeses, beans and lean meats are a good option to go for.
- If you are craving salty foods, then this may suggest that your body is lacking in essential electrolytes such as potassium, chloride, calcium and sodium. Before you head for the salty snacks - try to hydrate yourself. If this doesn't work - eat a banana and some low-fat yoghurt
- Cook your own meals - Restaurants and particularly fast foods are renowned for being high in salt and simple carbohydrates. Making your own variety of healthy foods at home may help to stave off those naughty cravings. Other examples will include packing a lunch and taking it with you to work rather than heading down to the food court and grabbing something bad when the cravings kick in
- The power of distraction - When you feel a bad food craving coming on, distract yourself. Go for a walk at lunch to clear your head or go for a swim etc… Breaking that habit can really be beneficial in helping to avoid those naughty food cravings
- Change your response to stress - Many people seek out the classic comfort foods when the daily routine is disrupted or broken in some way. We need to break this habit of relating stress to bad food. Much like the method of distraction, go to the gym, go for a walk/run, use any means that you can in order to break that initial habit.
Change your mindset and change your habits in order to change your outcome!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.