Managing Cravings and Expectations

Managing cravings and expectations is a large part of your metamorphosis when overhauling your lifestyle.

For the last few days, I’ve been craving and indulging in my sweet tooth. Cakes, pies, pastries…bring it! However, this morning, I woke up with my sweet tooth in full swing again, except this time, I decided that instead of empty calories, I’d load up on nature’s dessert — fresh fruit. I picked up a bunch and never looked back. Meanwhile, I stayed away from the office snacks. If I can do it, you can too.
Sugar sugar
Image by dhammza / off via Flickr

For a time, your body will be constantly fighting with you as well as friends, family, and co-workers. As you transition into, let’s say, eating less meat or less sugar, you’ll suddenly find that your mind is flooded with thoughts and cravings of the very foods you’re trying to rid yourself of. That’s a natural reaction to deal with, since that’s how your body and mind deals with the absence of something. It simply demands more for it, hoping to strike some sort of equilibrium. However, learning to manage those cravings, which is really just another signal for your body’s expectations, will help you better deal with those screaming voices inside your head that inch your fingers closer to the cookie jar.

  1. Having a clear goal from the outset will help you maintain control. Better yet, have a plan in place for when the cravings strike. (Instead of reaching for a snack, reach for a glass of water first and see if that helps.)
  2. Be clear about what you are cutting out. Let’s say you’re cutting out sugar for awhile. Does it mean white sugar? What about sugar substitutes? Sugar is in a lot of the foods you eat as well, so make sure to do your research at home before venturing out and putting yourself in a vulnerable position.
  3. Know that there’s always a better substitute. Say you’re craving a big juicy hamburger. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that craving, but if you speed over to the nearest McDonald’s, you’ll quell the craving but you’ll also get hungry again pretty quickly. Your body is pretty much an expert at discerning between what is nutritious and what is not. When you eat something nutritious, you stay satiated for a longer period of time — meaning you stay somewhat full, or at least not hungry — than when you eat something with lots of empty calories. If you feel like a burger, FINE, go get one…but at least get one that is well crafted out of the best ingredients possible. After all, you are what you eat…you might as well get the good stuff, right?
  4. Review your progress thus far. If you’ve lost a few pounds or fifty, maybe reminding yourself that confidence feels better than whatever your craving tastes will help you stay on target.
Not only will managing these cravings be important, you’ll also need to manage expectations as well. Sometimes you’ll have to reschedule your previously social life around your new activities and friends. Training for a marathon may get in the way with things like dinners, nights out, clubbing, and happy hour, but it is up to you to set those boundaries and manage those expectations. Make your intentions clear from the get-go with your significant other and family members before embarking on your journey. You’ll definitely need their love and support when things get tough for you.
What are some tips you have for managing cravings and expectations?
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