6 Tips to Beat Binging and Combat Cravings
We have all fallen victim to it; the mouth-watering at the sight of sugary or instantly satisfying fatty foods, the agitation as we try to avoid it, and the frustration and disappointment five minutes after we’ve given in. With the remains still stuck around our mouth, we make a promise that it will be the last time – until the next time. It doesn’t make us weak, it just makes us human. Even as a personal trainer, I have struggled to say no to sugar and saturates, as have my clients. Here I share my own top tips to staying on the straight and narrow as well as those passed onto me by the wise will power warriors.
Stock the Fridge with Healthy Snacks
We are most vulnerable as soon as we get through the front door from work. Knowing that we will be eating in the next hour or so, our body seems to suddenly register the anticipation as hunger. Rather than reaching for the biscuit jar or a packet of crisps, prepare for your cravings with healthy alternatives already waiting in the fridge.
Hummus, home-made or shop bought, is far better than a bar of chocolate and can be eaten alongside carrot, cucumber, and celery, or flatbread. Similarly, making up a large smoothie or fruit salad can effortlessly keep your sweet tooth under control whilst getting your dose of the good stuff.
Drink Water and Wait
When we get a craving, it can arrive like the swelling of a wave; there feels to be so much pull and power telling us that we must eat RIGHT NOW. Like waves, the feeling crashes, and disappears. Often when we feel hungry, we are only thirsty. Try having a glass of water, milk, or a cup of tea instead. Afterwards, wait for ten minutes and see if the craving passes – if it does, great; if not, have a bit of something smart.
Out with Regular Eating Out
On the group chat appears the message: “shall we go out tonight?” and it will usually centre around food. However, the chances are that the cheesy pizza, loaded burger, or creamy pasta that we choose contains will only serve to feed our cravings but will not benefit our efforts to eat well.
Rather than eating out, consider staying in with friends and making your own low fat, high protein menu. Swap a bottle of wine or beer for a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative like elderflower cordial, sparkling water and mint. When it comes to dessert, we can still enjoy a low-fat and low-sugar option. Did someone say dark-chocolate-dipped strawberries?
Find Food-Free Ways to Socialise
Forget the food altogether and consider going for a walk, a long bike ride or hike, a pottery painting session, getting your fix of culture at the local museum or art gallery, or even hit the gym and try a new exercise class.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up About Binging
We often binge as a result of feeling beaten, by work or by ourselves. Responding in a negative and abusive manner when we binge will never help us overcome the cravings. We will always make mistakes and setbacks but the important thing is to keep moving forward afterwards. When you next binge, think about removing the temptation, or at least take greater measures of blocking your passage to the sweet treats; the delay may be enough to recognise that you don’t need to binge.
Keep On Top of Your Workout
In general, people who plan a regular workout into their weekly routine are more mindful of their commitment to a healthy lifestyle and more motivated to making long-term positive foodie-decisions. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which will elevate your mood, when binging stems from stress or feeling down, exercise can help to disable the desire for involuntary indulgence.
This is far from the only benefit of exercise. I am fortunate to love exercise and to love my job as a personal trainer. However, day-to-day new clients arrive who initially do not share that passion and fun in fitness. Having directly witnessed and supported these same people to really work at changing their attitude is phenomenal. If you are in the same position where you know the necessity of exercise but it just isn’t enjoyable, I am here to give you the joy and the drive. Get in touch to find out more, or to book your first session.