Can you control food cravings?

Chocolate, Chipotle, Cheese. YES.

There you are to taunt me again. Just when I thought I had pushed the thought of you to the back burner while I focus on developing a broader food palette.

Why do these things taunt us? It’s a terrible thing to want something, knowing you can’t have it or that the side effects outweigh the delight. One of my favorite trainers always told me “summer bodies are made in the winter”. And I’m sure she wasn’t the only trainer to say it, or the last one, but it made me realize how right she was! It’s the perfect time to focus on your eating habits and learn how to diversify your meals. With that said, since the beginning of the year, I’ve been eating less meat than I ever have. I’d say I’ve been a vegetarian for about 6 weeks, and have tried a few vegan meals here and there. Being vegan is so much stricter than being a vegetarian, and I hope one day I can get to that point. The hardest part about controlling my portions and trying a vegetarian lifestyle is cravings.

I know many of you can picture this…

I pack a delicious lunch, making sure I have enough protein, carbs, vegetables and natural sugars to keep me going throughout the day. I’m eating my lunch around 11:30AM, knowing I’ll eat another small lunch around 3PM. It’s right at 2PM when I start to crave things like tacos, cake pops from Starbucks or a pesto pizza. Clearly, I have an active imagination when it comes to food but I think that’s what also makes me a foodie. I talked with Kristie LeBeau, RDN, RN, again, and asked her what she thought about controlling cravings and she said “Distraction is a good technique. Find something else to do for 15-20 minutes and most cravings pass. Another strategy is delaying. Tell yourself you can have whatever food you're craving in an hour - if you still want it.”

I think that’s a great place to start. Kristie also mentions it’s important to eat regular meals, drink water, increase the amount of sleep you’re getting, and to break old habits (like going to the vending machine). Her tips are very practical and all things that we should consider.

I’ve also considered having cheat meals. Once a week, if I want to, I can have a meat of my choice. So far, I’ve indulged in seafood or chicken. I’ve shied away from red meat, as I have found veggie or black bean burgers really tasty. I tried to make some last week that aren’t worthy of a photo, however they were super delicious! Definitely a work in a progress.

To control food cravings, I wrote a list in my phone about my goals for eating this way.

Here is my list right now:

- To be the best version of myself

- To be healthier

- To be visibly healthy

- To show others and family it can be done

- To improve my overall wellness

- To be proactive

- To decrease my asthma symptoms

- To decrease my chances of developing high blood pressure, diabetes or any other chronic illness

- To gain confidence

Your list doesn’t have to look like mine, but you get the idea of what my motivation is to overcome food cravings. I don’t think there is a way to stop food cravings, but I do think there is a way to beat them and that starts with you.