As a rule, I include very little cheese in my diet. I’m not a fan of dairy products and I don’t like how cheese often makes me feel. Kind of lethargic and bloated. But, there are times when I just gotta have it because it tastes so good! It’s luscious and creamy. No Vegan cheese substitute (and I’ve tried them all) melts as gorgeously as the real thing. So, when I am really craving it, I give myself permission to eat it and enjoy it.
When you have cravings for certain foods – chocolate, ice cream, french fried potatoes, a burger, cheese or whatever – there’s a reason. Sometimes, it’s because your body just needs it. For instance, if you eat nothing but junk food for several days in a row, you might suddenly have an intense craving for a big tossed, green salad. And that might take you by surprise because, out of all the foods you desire, a salad is probably way down there at the bottom of your list. That’s your body asking you to please give it something fresh, green and nutritious. Because what you’ve been eating doesn’t contain the nutrients your body needs to function well or process and digest all that junk food. Your body wants to move it on out of your system and the high fiber and water content of a salad will help it do exactly that.
Learn to listen to your body and give it what it wants and especially when it’s asking for something healthy – like a salad.
But what about those other foods you crave? The food, snacks and treats you consider bad, fattening, forbidden or not-so-healthy choices? Perhaps you’re like me and have occasional, intense cravings for cheese?
What do you do about those types of cravings?
Here’s what I’ve learned from my own personal experiences and what I teach my clients:
Deprivation, starvation, denial, guilt and punishment don’t work!
The more I deny my cravings or deprive myself of what I crave, the more I crave it.
When I allow guilt to take over or tell myself, “I REALLY shouldn’t be having this” as I am eating foods I have convinced myself are bad, fattening or forbidden, I usually eat way more than I want or need and more often than I want and need. If I punish myself by starving all day or working out extra hard just because I had an ice cream sundae the night before, I fall into the cycle of guilt and frustration. Which will most likely intensify my cravings for more ice cream sundaes more often and instead of one scoop of ice cream with one topping; I’ll go for two or three scoops PLUS more elaborate toppings and sweet stuff added to my sundae. The little sundae will not longer be enough. And, my cravings for that bigger and better ice cream sundae will be super intense if I am having a particularly stressful or challenging day or week. That’s probably going to make it difficult to stick with my health, wellness and weight loss plan and achieve my goals.
When I give myself permission to eat what I crave, and enjoy every bite without guilt, without punishment, without apology; I eat a whole lot less and don’t crave it as often.
When I choose the highest quality varieties of the foods I crave, such as – fine, imported or artisan cheese VS slices of processed American cheese or fresh mozzarella from my local Italian market instead of a block of Polly-O mozzarella from the grocery store or plastic wrapped string cheese – I always eat less and I crave it a lot less often.
So, yesterday was one of those cheese craving days. I gave myself permission to have it. I tossed cubes of imported cheese from Ireland, made from happy, grass-fed cows, into a salad made with baby kale, sliced watermelon radish, some roasted pumpkin seeds and homemade Goddess Dressing. It was a big, luscious salad and I enjoyed every bite. And the cheese was AMAZING!
Craving satisfied and gone 🙂
What can you take away from all this?
Deprivation, starvation, denial, punishment and guilt don’t work. You’ll just end up angry, frustrated and hungry. And if you’re trying to improve your health or take off some excess weight, you’ll give up. Or the results you worked so hard to achieve, won’t last.
Pay attention to your cravings. Ask yourself if it’s really that food you’re hungry for or could it possibly be something else. Comfort. Love. Or maybe you’re lonely, bored or you’ve had an extremely stressful or upsetting day. There’s a whole emotional side to eating and why you crave some of the foods you do. That’s something I get into, in detail, with my clients.
If it’s simply because you want whatever food you’re craving, give yourself permission to have it. Without guilt or punishment. Without thinking about fat, calories, how unhealthy it might be for you, or how you’ll have to starve yourself or work out harder the next day to make up for it. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t apologize to yourself or anyone else.
Don’t put certain foods into bad, fattening or forbidden categories. If you are excluding or cutting back on certain foods, for better health, wellness or weight loss, rather than telling yourself you can’t have them, tell yourself you can have them, but you’re choosing not to. Don’t think of those foods you are trying to avoid as bad, fattening or forbidden. You are simply making room for other foods that will help you achieve your goals faster and easier. This takes practice, because you’re so conditioned to think of food in terms of good or bad. So what happens if you have an intense craving for one of those bad foods and you give into it? You’re going to experience bad feelings and especially toward yourself. Those bad feelings will eventually sabotage all your efforts.
Your mind will believe anything you tell it. And eventually, your body will follow. You’ll notice your cravings will change. Not in terms of good food/bad food; you’ll just naturally begin eating in a way that brings closer to your health or weight loss goals and fits into the happy, healthy lifestyle you are creating for yourself.
Think quality over quantity. Take the less is more approach. A small amount of the best will always be more satisfying than a large amount of the worst. Go for the best quality you can find and afford in small quantities instead of a large amount of something that’s poor quality. For instance, a small square or two of a superior quality chocolate bar will be more satisfying than one whole chocolate bar you get at the dollar store. If you’re craving beef, you might want to have steak and a baked potato over a burger and fries. Unless you’re really, really craving a burger. Go for the best burger you can possibly get! That restaurant that serves the most delicious burger ever? Go there instead of swinging by the fast food drive-thru. Enjoy a few freshly baked chocolate chip cookies rather than cookies from a bag or a box. Ice cream made with real chocolate or fruit, cream and sugar instead artificially flavored, low fat, fat-free or sugar-free varieties. Homemade lasagna instead of the frozen kind.
Savor every last bite. Seriously. You wanted it. You’re eating it. Why rob yourself of the pleasure of having it? Lick your fingers, the bowl or the plate, if you wish. When you give yourself permission to enjoy, without guilt, punishment or apology, you will eventually become satisfied faster with less and you’ll begin to crave it less often. Because you know you can have it. And thoroughly enjoy it. Any time you choose.
Yours in Happiness, Health & Success,
Hi! I’m Cynthia…..
I help amazing women become even more amazing, not just by teaching them how to eat well for health, wellness or weight loss so they can feel good and look good, but how to become the beautifully authentic, positive, confident women they desire to be and are meant to be. So they can get out there and make a real difference in their own lives and in the lives of others.