Even for the most committed followers of the Paleo diet cravings can sometimes spell trouble. It can often prove difficult to keep to a diet when your mouth salivates as you imagine there are certain foods you want. Even if you get past such can you see yourself coping with such when you enjoy your new Paleo lifestyle so much?
Probably not! This is why you need to come up with some kind of plan other than your own “will-power” to prevent cravings from taking over. You should save your will-power for when it is needed the most. To help you cope with your cravings better I will offer some ways you may find useful over the next few days.
You’ll find not having cravings is much better to deal with than trying to get over them. Before you even think of looking for mind tricks you can use you should first do the following things to help with reducing how many cravings you suffer from.
a. It is best to eat when you’re hungry. Is your stomach growling, and then it’s telling you it’s hungry. Make sure you only consume the best quality protein and fat possible, as these can help to prevent your cravings from beginning. In fact, you may find that your cravings will diminish once you have eaten some good quality protein and fat.
b. Don’t limit how many carbs you are eating. Many people who are following the Paleo diet find that including more foods containing what we classify as friendly starch in their diet regularly finds their cravings for junk food full of carbs like crackers or bread stops.
Most of our cravings arise because of us restricting how many calories, carbs or fats we eat. So you can prevent your cravings from taking hold by not restricting these.
You may not think that this is important, but even if you just get up and walk around for a few minutes this can help to break the hold your cravings may have on you. Once they have disappeared, then the chances of them returning is minimal.
The kinds of things you could do to help your cravings to take hold is to read a book, look at something that makes you smile, watch your favourite film or TV series, do some gentle stretching or yoga, take a nap (if possible, but not at your desk at work), do some tidying up of your computer files.
As long as it is something random, you’ll find that this helps to prevent your cravings from taking their hold on you. By interrupting such you are helping to prevent your desire to have something to eat much less vital, and this makes choosing what you should eat much easier.
In a study carried out they found that when you crave something to it, it isn’t because you are hungry but you are feeling more negative about things. Most people crave sweet things when they are anxious, bored, stressed or lonely. The problem is eating junk food to help bring these feelings under control only lasts for a short while.
However if you can boost your mood in another way, this will then help to eliminate the feelings you are experiencing and which has caused you to crave sweet things initially.
The kinds of things you should do to help get you in a better mood is to buy yourself something that is fun just because you can. Or go somewhere you haven’t been before, even to the park. Take some time out for yourself and do whatever you want, even if it will not be productive. Why not plan a surprise for someone you care for.
This isn’t for the faint-hearted However sometimes you’ll find that just sitting quietly and letting yourself feel the craving with no shame or judgement can help. Often what you find is being upset about the craving is more upsetting than the cravings themselves. If you can remain calm and accept that this is happening then you will find the craving becomes a lot more manageable.
Make sure that you look at the cravings you are feeling with detachment, and remind yourself that it isn’t you, rather it is an emotion that you are experiencing now and eventually it will pass. Rather than making you inadequate or weak, remind yourself it is just part of who you are. By acknowledging it you will find that fighting it and letting it go becomes a whole lot easier, especially when you are only just starting to follow a Paleo lifestyle.
Often you’ll find a common response to dealing with your craving for food is that you want to eat something. Making something for yourself is a great idea. This is where making your own Paleo crackers and cookies come in.
Whenever you feel a little peckish and start to crave something junk then why not eat some fruit. Dates are a great substitute when you are feeling the need for something sweet or sugary. This really works when you crave food for its own sake.
However replacing non-Paleo food with Paleo substitutes won’t work if you are craving such because you are stressed, lonely or bored. In fact, it won’t be able to fill the whole just as junk food won’t be able to.
It is important that before you try to create something Paleo to replace the junk you are craving you need to take a real honest look at why you want such food. Is it for the sake of it or is it because it helps to make you feel better? If you want to eat to help make you feel better, then you won’t be doing yourself any favours by eating something in replacement. The only way to deal with this is to deal with the way you are feeling by looking at what has caused you to feel this way.
One trick that you can use that athlete’s use is to visualize how you want to feel when you face a craving. What you need to do is find somewhere quiet then play a video in your mind of the way you want to be when faced with a craving, and then concentrate on what you would do to achieve your goal.
By taking on the role of the hero in your mind you may find that you then have the power to act against the cravings you are feeling at this time.
It isn’t only mental distractions that can help to prevent cravings; physical ones can help. It is important that you make sure that you take yourself away completely from the food that you may be craving. Go somewhere that you no that you won’t be tempted by the foods you are craving.
If you can do this then you are helping to stop yourself having to win the “I want to, but I shouldn’t” battle. In fact, you’ll that this will no longer be an issue as the food you are craving isn’t available to you any longer. Now it is possible to use the mental energy you have available to do other things. It really does become a lot easier to eliminate your cravings for pizza for example if you can’t smell it.
This is probably one of the most effective ways of helping to deal with your cravings when you are following a Paleo diet. Whilst exercising you are distracted because you must make sure that whatever you are doing is done correctly.
Also, when you exercise your body releases endorphins, which is a chemical that helps to make you feel good, and offers the same kind of buzz you would get from eating junk food. Once you begin feeling good as I do after every run each day you’ll find your craving for something like chocolate becomes reduced.
Once you start exercising and feeling good your find it much easier to say no to food that will not help you feel any better in the long run.
However, it is important to note that not everything I have mentioned in this article will help you. We are all different and therefore the cravings we experience will differ from one person to the next. You may find that you need to try a few of these methods out to find one that really works for you.
Even if you do struggle at first when it comes to following a Paleo lifestyle then use this is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and even if you do lapse make sure that you get right back on the horse again.