It’s 3 a.m. and you wake up obsessed with the idea of the rhubarb pie you made earlier in the evening. You crave a piece, yet you know you’re not really hungry. Here are six steps to overcome cravings.
1. Awareness – begin to seek a deeper understanding of your cravings. What happens before you have a craving? Can you identify any specific triggers? In what situations are you able to control your triggers and how? Conversely, what situations cause you to give in to triggers? The best way to help yourself understand the complexity of your specific cravings is to document them.
2. Action – as you gain insight into the causes and responses to your triggers, start to create an alternative behavior plan that you can implement the next time a craving occurs under similar circumstances. If these plans are written out, you are more likely to follow them.
3. Get creative – make a list of as many possible alternatives to giving in to cravings as you can. The crazier the ideas, the more they will serve as a distraction to the craving and redirect your thinking. Do keep in mind that the ideas should align with your overall health goal. Some people choose calming activities such as deep breathing or closing their eyes; other people pick high energy activities such as going for a brisk walk or sit-ups and push-ups.
4. Shape your environment – going back to your awareness tracking, pay attention to ways you can change your environment to be more supportive of your goal. Maybe it’s time to ditch the candy bowl on the desk. Or perhaps having fresh fruits and vegetables cut and ready to eat will help. There are lots of ways to create an environment that will support your goals without a lot of work.
5. Celebrate – need I say more? As you measure your progress and can see where your successes are, make time to celebrate in ways that support your goal (and that would probably not be indulging in that rhubarb pie at 3 a.m.)
If you’re struggling with weight and your Body Mass Index, remember that Mille Lacs Health System has a Guided Weight Loss program that can help you move towards a healthier you. Call 320-532-2337 to see if you qualify.