Be aware of when and where cravings occur.
I have been put on a fairly restrictive diet to attempt to control my memory and for cardio vascular health. As such, while I am extremely happy with the change in cuisine, I still find myself tempted and succumbing to cravings for snacks that are not part of my regimen. So what do I do about undoing almost 70 years of ingrained eating habits?
In researching this, I found some pretty good ideas, some of which were common sense (something that deserts me when it comes to eating), some of which are fairly well known, and some new ideas that are worth trying.
First is just to be aware of when and where cravings occur. For me it is at television commercials or when bored. For others it may be at one’s desk, at the grocery store, when anxious/stressed, or after a workout. It could also be at a specific time of day. Just be aware of the places and times your cravings pop up.
Then when you do indulge, keep a food diary. I was amazed at what I put away and when. Just recognizing what we ingest will often be a brake on our eating. And once you see what you indulge in, take steps to avoid the location and the smell of your favorites. That means not buying them because out of sight is often out of mind. And if you are tied to a particular time of day, brew a tea or maybe take a walk at that time.
Of course for me, one of the biggest temptations is in social events. At a party, at a church pot luck dinner (surely it is your sacred duty to try one of everything unless you want to risk hurting someone’s feelings), when your partner, friend, or family member snacks, or any other social event, I find it most difficult to stay on my plan. I think the key here is to plan ahead and rehearse in your mind what you will and won’t partake of, next is to let folks know of your preferences so they can both support you and not try to tempt you and can be your ally when others try to get you to indulge; lastly try having healthy things you can enjoy in any of these setting. Have some fruit ready, make your own dish to take to a party, eat well beforehand.
Have a meal plan and stick with it. Don’t skip a meal and think that is a victory. If healthy snacks are a part of your plan, go ahead and eat them; hunger is the enemy of your maintaining your discipline. And get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is important for general health and for weight loss.
Whatever you do, consult a professional and together plan out a healthy, tasty, and well-balanced meal and snack plan and incorporate physical exercise as a critical part of your plan.