What Are You Craving?
Food craving are normal and we all get them from time to time right? Whether it’s the need for some chocolate, a bowl of ice cream, a huge pizza or juicy burger, whatever – there are simply times when we know exactly what we want and will stop at nothing until we get it. Despite this, due to the ‘unhealthy’ nature of most cravings, it is a common trait to try and suppress such feelings, attempting to ignore that burning desire for a specific food.
I have to say, I have fallen victim to this countless times and, despite really wanting to devour a huge piece of chocolate cake, told myself this is unnecessary and that chicken and vegetables will be much more satisfying. Whilst for a few hours, or maybe even days, I have managed to convince myself of this and resist the urge, I am yet to remember a time where I didn’t eventually cave and end up devouring not only that slice of chocolate cake, but probably another one, along with biscuits, ice cream, peanut butter, toast, cereal – you name it. As you can imagine, this left me feeling shit and wishing I had just eaten that one piece of cake when I really wanted it. Not to mention, sugar addicted, with even stronger cravings, which were too hard to suppress and lasted for a good week.
So, how have I tackled this problem? Well, it’s been a long time coming, but I think I’ve finally got things under control and it all comes down to the flexible dieting approach I take. As long as I am not in a calorie surplus (ie. Consuming more than I burn), I will not gain fat, no matter what it is I am putting into my stomach. Whilst I have macro nutrient goals to meet – total protein, fats, carbs etc and of course micro nutrient quantities – fibre, vitamins etc, if I choose to get there with a chocolate bar over a banana, at the end of the day, I know it will make no difference to my goals.
Now, this by no means gives me the licence to choose ice cream over fruit every single day, because of course, one is better for my health than the other (an important life factor of course). What it does allow me to do however, is substitute certain foods into my diet, when and if I want them, knowing there will be no negative repercussions to my progress. In fact, it’s likely to do me the world of good, as I satisfy my cravings and don’t feel the need to later indulge, then exceeding my calorie allowance.
Take the other day for example, I had been craving chocolate spread all day at work, but obviously I had no Nutella to hand (and spooning it out the jar at work probably isn’t acceptable – although maybe it should be…). As soon as I got home, I went straight into the kitchen and whipped myself up 750 calories worth of protein pancakes, topped with peanut butter and Cadburys caramel spread and I enjoyed every single bite. Obviously this was not the healthiest of dinners and I wouldn’t do it very often, but for one night, who cares! Did I go over any of my macros for the day? – no! Did I gain 10lb from it? – no! Was I left feeling immensely satisfied and happy? – absolutely! And you know what, I actually woke up feeling leaner than I have done in a while… (maybe pancakes for dinner is the way forward?).
What I am trying to say, is don’t be stupid and ignore the messages your body is sending you. If you want something, don’t be afraid to have it, because it’s deemed unhealthy. Progress works on a long-term basis and you will only undo all your hard work in the gym by over eating for a sustained period of time. By listening to cravings on the occasions you have them and feeding your body with necessary feel good foods when you want them, you are less likely to spend your time feeling deprived and underwhelmed with your choices. And as we all know, those feelings are definitely not #lifegoals.
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