Got the munchies? Concerned about not having control over your cravings that will add inches to your waistline? Why do these bad cravings hit when your shield is down and you're at your most vulnerable? Having the willpower to overcome the BAD munchies isn't always easy and it's okay to do it every now and again. Even allowing a 200 calorie cheat snack daily can be good mentally for your health and fitness journey but ONLY IF YOU DESERVE IT. Which means:
- You are consistent with your work outs. (5 days a week/30 minutes minimum)
- You're eating clean, healthy, delicious food most of the time. (80% clean/20% wiggle room — these percentages can be tweaked slightly but you get the point)
- Promoting your metabolism. (12 ounces of chilled H2O first thing out of bed, not skipping breakfast, 5-7 minute physical activity within 10 minutes of waking, and green tea, just to name a few.
It's also important to differentiate between TRUE hunger and trigger induced appetite or cravings. Hunger can be a sign of not being properly hydrated, so have a big glass of water to see if your body is truly craving food. Here are a few tips to help rein in those bad cravings in 2013!
- Keep tempting foods out of reach. Control your environment. If you do the shopping, don't buy empty calories CRAP. If you don't do the shopping, ensure that you and the shopper are on the same page. If waistline expanding, energy depleting food do enter home, put it in the far back corners of your pantry or way up high so that you think twice about eating it — do not make it easily accessible. Let those closest to you (family, friends, co-workers, etc;) know that you've made some healthy lifestyle changes— you just might be surprised the support you receive.
- Identify food triggers. What causes you to have bad cravings? Is it boredom, stress, emotional eating, tired, alcohol induced? Then do something. Work on a project, favorite hobby, or simply just move and get some fun physical activity in— maybe your work out? Take a hard good look at that bad craving you want to fulfill. Does your body really want that calorie-laden donut? How is it going to make you feel 20 minutes after you eat it? Take some time to stop, breath, meditate and realize what's really important when you're stressed or overwhelmed — it'll get you back on track reminding you what foods are going to make you feel better physically and mentally. If you're planning on having a little fun and adult beverages are going to be served, then PREPARE. Have lean protein options readily available so that when it comes time to eat, you don't have to do a lot of thinking and instead of reaching for those gut expanding foods, you opt for body leaning foods. If it's a night out on the town, remind those with you about your health and fitness goals, you may be surprised the support you receive when it comes time to chow down. Last but not least, make sure to get plenty of rest to properly take on your day and put you in the best position possible when it comes to nutrition. If you didn't get proper rest the night before, take a 30 minute nap on your lunch break to refresh the body and mind so that you're physically and mentally ready for the second part of your day!
- Drink green tea. Liquid can satisfy your oral fixation and green tea has a zillion great benefits for your body. Since it's hot, unlike cold tap water, you'll have to take your time and sip it slowly. This will buy you the time to let your munchies pass. Plus green tea has the powerful antioxidant, EGCG, which promotes metabolism.
- Don't skip meals. Eating a sensible breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacking will eliminate any actual hunger pangs that your body might be feeling and the subsequent bad snacking that may follow. It's important to keep your body properly fueled with nourishing foods. Re-think your relationship with food and understand not everything you eat has to be the bad food you've been used to eating but rather food that will energize you making your body and mind feel great! Also remember, FOOD IS FUEL, and how much you eat should be comparable to your daily physical activity.
- Stock up on healthy snack foods. Replace unhealthy snack foods with more nutritional options. Keep these great tasting healthy snacks readily available throughout your day — in your office desk, car glove compartment, backpack, purse, jacket, etc;
- Don't snack from the package. After all you don't want to look like an OGRE. Eating right out of the bad can cause you to eat more than a serving size. Get to know your food like any good relationship. Know a serving size — grab that paper towel or plate and portion the snack out so that you're satisfying that craving within reason. Go ahead and pair-up that snack with something healthy so that you don't go back for seconds.
- Brush your teeth. Believe it or not, the minty freshness of a clean mouth can curb food cravings. Try it and then go kiss someone!
- Distract yourself. You may discover that your bad munchies will pass. Take the pooch for a walk, finish a chore or stop procrastinating on that phone call to mom. Distracting yourself from the bad munchies is one of the best ways to overcome them.
- Ask yourself what does your body really want. Stop, think, take a minute before you give in to that indulgence. It's probably not an unhealthy snack your body really wants or needs.
- You may be dehydrated. Check yourself. How many ounces of beautiful body slimming H20 have you had today? (half your ideal body weight, in ounces daily). If you're behind catch up! Dehydration is often mistaken for hunger. Plus staying hydrated helps you lose weight, get leaner and keeps the skin looking healthy and radiant!