Ask anyone what they crave, and almost everyone will be able to, without hesitation, name off at least a couple of things. For example, some research studies indicate that almost 100% of young women and nearly 70% of young men reported experiencing specific food cravings within the past year.
Everywhere you go someone is trying to shove bad food down your throat that will kill you early; news corporations repeatedly pour fear and disaster images into your brain to boost their ratings; and tech companies create addictive gadgets that hook your attention and distract you from your loved ones.
Unfortunately, many of our daily habits actually make cravings more intense and frequent, making healthy decisions harder. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it. Read on and learn 5 simple, but effective, ways to deal with your cravings.
Start a cravings journal
If you have a real problem with food cravings, keep a cravings journal for a month. If you don’t understand why, you can’t do anything about it. List the times of day you have cravings, the emotions you’re feeling at the time, and the things you crave. When you look back through your journal, ask yourself if there are any patterns, such as certain times of day when you tend to experience cravings. Are there certain emotions or situations that tend to bring them on? Learn from your mistakes; they are your best teachers, especially if you are curious, rather than just harshly judging yourself. Know your triggers for both good decisions and poor decisions. Be aware of the landmines in your life.
Create a Pattern Interrupt
A “pattern interrupt” is a strategy that disrupts your focus from whatever triggered your craving. Make a list of simple things that that can be quickly executed when a craving strikes. Some our favorite options include: Going for a walk, drinking a tall glass of water or a cup of green tea, eating a plate of veggies, calling a friend, taking a shower, listening to brain healthy music, going for a drive, or if you’re home, simply getting out of the house (and away from your temptation) usually does the trick.
Be a Good Parent to Yourself: Firm and Kind
We see people allowing their spoiled, bratty inner child get away with what they’d never allow from their children. So many people stay stuck, singing the same old refrain, “I want what I want when I want it. I don’t want to be deprived.” They want a magic pill instead of a logical solution. You need to start being a better parent to yourself. When you give in to your own tantrums you are creating your own internal behavior disorder, which is ruining your health and killing you early. When you experience a craving, be a loving, effective parent to yourself.
Handle Your Stress
When you’re under stress, your body releases the hormone cortisol, which signals your brain to seek out rewards. For many of us, our cravings are triggered by unpleasant emotions, including stress and anxiety, as well as being sleep deprived due to stress. Making sure to get enough sleep can actually reduce cravings and help you feel level-headed enough to deal with the cravings. And rather than give in to your cravings, utilize stress management techniques — take a vigorous walk, meditate, do yoga, or relax in a hot bath.
Seek Supplemental Support
Multiple research studies have found that increasing omega-3 intake can actually decrease cravings for things like nicotine, alcohol, and sugar. Additionally, BrainMD Health’s Craving Control contains six active ingredients that work synergistically to help calm the craving centers in the brain, balance blood sugar and insulin levels and promote a positive mood with clinically studied, all-natural ingredients. In addition, it can diminish the frequency and intensity of your cravings, helping you to more effectively achieve better control over your behavior.