Recently, a friend asked me what to do when cravings hit. She said she was doing well eating cleanly but still craved some good bread. Mmmm, don’t we all? Let’s talk about cravings…they can hit hard, can’t they? As women, I think they hit us harder…thanks hormones.
Sometimes what you’re craving is an indicator that your body needs a specific nutrient. For example, after a long run, I always crave salt. My body is telling me it needs those electrolytes to be replaced after a hard workout. Other times, after a long run, I crave bread. That’s my body telling me it needs to replenish my glycogen stores with some carbs. These cravings are indicators to me that I need to replenish nutrients my body is lacking in that moment. However, I also crave sugar…my body isn’t telling me it needs sugar, it’s telling me ‘You’re addicted, girlfriend.’. I love sugar….all the sugar. This is new to me since I was pregnant (again, thanks hormones). All I used to want was salt, and now I want salt and sugar. Bah! How do I deal with this? Instead of binging on gummy bears (which totally happened while pregnant, btw) I’ll either eat a few (4-5) gummy bears a couple times a week or eat lots of fruit since it’s sugary and satisfies that sweet tooth but has extra nutrients…currently chowing down on a ton of blueberries. If I’ve had a great week of eating clean and working out well, I’ll treat myself to frozen yogurt at the end of the week. Just don’t treat yourself every day with frozen yogurt 😉
I don’t cut anything out of my diet completely. I’m against that because there always ends up being a binge if you restrict too much. If your biggest craving is bread, have a piece of toast a couple times a week. Do it on days when your workout is a tough one to make up for it. You need extra carbs on those days anyway. Or find a healthier alternative that will still satisfy your craving. For example, Ezekiel bread is a great alternative because it’s less processed, has more protein in it, and comes in tons of yummy flavors (hello, cinnamon raisin!). Find a balance between eating the foods you crave and still fueling your body for optimum performance in all areas of life, not just exercising. We know how we feel after we dive into a bag of candy or tub of popcorn…not great, right? We want to have the energy to get up in the morning, workout, take care of our kids, go to work, etc. You must fuel your body correctly in order to do this. Fueling it on bad food will only make your day bad, and I don’t want you to have a bad day! BALANCE.
All in all, you’re going to get cravings, there’s no getting around that. Starting training your body to change what you’re craving. If you choose healthier snacks, over time you can change your taste buds to be satisfied with a piece of fruit instead of an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (ugh, my fav). It’ll help you be more in tune with what your body needs and you’ll feel better physically since you’re providing your body with better nutrients.
What are your biggest cravings?