It is great to have a plan and to track what you eat, but there will be times where you would rather not bother with that, or you just feel like eating a whole birthday cake by yourself. It happens; it is OK. Here is how I deal with days like that.
First, I take a few deep breaths and assess why I am having those food cravings. Is it because I’m sad, tired, bored, looking for a distraction, or maybe just hungry? I have different strategies for each of these situations (and of course there are many more than these examples).
Dealing with emotional eating, like being sad, is tough because eating can dampen those sad feelings for a short while, but most people end up feeling worse afterward. I find that recognizing what’s going on and saying it out loud can be a great way of defusing the situation. “Yes, I’m sad. It’s OK to be sad sometimes, and a pint of ice cream or that cake I keep thinking about won’t change that.”
Same goes for being tired. Our appetite increases when we don’t get enough sleep and it is tempting to overeat. I rely on my meal plan for guidance when I’m tired. I look at my nutrition tracker and assess if I actually need more food or a nap.
The food tracker also comes in handy when hunger hits and I’m ready to devour anything sweet. For me, those cravings most often hit me around 4 PM. For the longest time, I thought it was just me until I started to coach people from all over the world and found that many ended up craving a treat in the afternoon.
However, what I also found was that most of us who have those afternoon cravings tend to under-eat during the day or simply go for too long between meals. That means that by 4 PM, we are hungry and eating a good nutritious snack will solve the issue. Most of us will be at work or on the move at that time so planning ahead and bringing a good snack with you is essential. It’s like the saying “never go grocery shopping when hungry” and it’s true. Try having yogurt with nuts and berries or a piece of fruit, or a protein bar such as a Quest bar and your afternoon cravings will most likely be reduced.