There is a reason why I run when it's still dark outside. The sun. It's brutal. Since I normally run on Thursdays, I set the alarm for 4:30am. I thought I heard rain outside my window and said to myself, I can run later. Later ended up being a run at 8:15am. I ran 4 miles. It wasn't fun. Thinking back, I don't even know if it was rain tapping outside, or if it was the fan making a noise.
|Red Face after 4 miles|
I came upon this article about cravings. Do you ever notice that when you indulge, it takes a while to get rid of cravings. The more you indulge, the more you want to indulge. Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself if eating that cupcake or cookie is worth it, because chances are, I will crave it again real soon.
Just as a night of drinking gives you a nasty hangover, too much processed food hitting your bliss point can set you up for a sugar, fat, and salt withdrawal. That can create a "second meal effect," leaving us hungrier than usual. "It takes the body two or three days to forget that sugar high," says Ashley Koff, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and a dietitian for the CW's new reality show, Shedding for the Wedding. "If you eat a slice of cake on Monday, be prepared to keep craving it until Thursday."What do you do? Here's what Fitness magazine suggests:
To Curb Cravings...Avoid your triggers. Spend a day taking note of where you are and what you're doing when you experience cravings; then try to change one trigger at a time. "Take a different route to work if it's impossible to drive by the doughnut shop without stopping," suggests Kathy McManus, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Take control. Develop strategies for the triggers you can't avoid. For example, if someone brings cupcakes to a meeting, resolve that you'll split one with a colleague or take just a couple of bites. "Remember, you have the power to make healthy choices," Gearhardt says.
Stick to a schedule. Aim to eat only at set meal and snack times -- about every four hours -- to help prevent mindless grazing.
Get some satisfaction. If you bring a salad for lunch every day, it's no wonder you're likely to ditch it for pizza. Include indulgences a few times a week, but keep portions reasonable. "Packing a few cookies to satisfy your need for something sweet is a better strategy than depriving yourself until you rebel and eat a huge sundae," says Leslie Bonci, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences.
Cut back on coffee. "Too much caffeine can lead to a sugar craving, because you'll need a pick-me-up a few hours later," Koff says. Drink no more than two cups of java a day and pair them with protein, like almonds, to keep your energy level steady.
Give your meal a happy ending. Come up with an "enough" signal that lets you know when a meal is over. Nutrition and psychiatry professor Roberts, for example, likes to finish dinner with a cup of decaf tea: "I enjoy it, and then I know eating is done for the day," she says.
I incorporate many of these daily. I try to eat often, and stick to a schedule. When I am running around and want to avoid fast food, I carry my insulated lunch pack and have some healthy options available. One of my lifesavers is no-bake protein bars. They are tasty and filling. I can't stand store bought protein bars. I might as well eat chalk.
I like the happy ending idea. I do this as well. I didn't know it had a name. The urge to eat something will sometimes hit me before bedtime. I like to have green tea with agave. This usually satisfies any craving. Sometimes just waiting 10 minutes is all it takes.
When you give in to a craving, don't beat yourself up. It's not the end of the world, unless you are training for a fitness competition or the Miss America pageant. Make a conscious decision to eat well the rest of the day. Don't throw out the rest of the day because you had a brownie.
I also make foods that are like a treat, but are healthy. I like Katie's no-bake lemon poppy seed cookies, and my lean cereal bars.
If you are trying to make fitness gains, have a cheat meal or dessert, not a cheat DAY. Do you know how much damage can be done in a day? Just from my personal experience, you won't make any progress. That's the difference between spinning your tires and actually getting somewhere.
Here's another tip:
Don't drink blue Gatorade and take a self portrait on my phone. It will end up on my blog.
Do you have any tricks to beat cravings or stay on track to avoid them?