Conscious and healthy eating is not always an easy task. Food temptations often become great challenges that sometimes we just can’t overcome. However, there are some strategies and techniques that we can all put into practice to resist the temptations and to continue with the healthy lifestyle that we choose.
NO to Food Bans
Many people often use the term ‘diet’ to refer to a weight loss plan in which there are many forbidden foods. Actually, the word diet refers to our way of eating, to the food we normally eat, which can be more or less healthy. It’s not strange to hear phrases like “I can’t eat dessert because I’m on a diet“, or “the nutritionist gave me a diet that bans bread, pasta and potatoes.”
The truth is that prohibition is never advisable, because when foods are not allowed, your desire for them actually increases, which generates a lot of anxiety around what you can and can’t eat. Banning foods almost always ends in food binging. You have to keep in mind that in a plan to lose weight you can eat everything, as long as you watch out for the frequency and quantity of your “treats”.
Have Healthy Options Always on Hand
A very useful strategy for not giving in to cravings is to have healthy choices available at all times; at home, at work, in the car, in your bag or purse. Dried fruits, fresh fruits, whole grains and cereal bars can be preserved without the need of a refrigerator and help you to overcome those moments of great temptation.
If you want to feed yourself in a healthy way you must supply yourself with nutritious foods, and you should not keep unhealthy snacks, ice cream, cookies, etc. in your pantry. When you want to give yourself a treat or if you have guests and want to entertain them with a lemon pie, for example, you should buy or prepare the right portion so you aren’t tempted to eat too much.
Hunger is not a Good Counselor
Having 5 or 6 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and snacks) is an excellent technique to not give in to temptation because you keep hunger at bay and you can control what you eat. On the other hand, when you have a party and you know in advance that the food choices will be unhealthy, it’s best to eat before you go, because if you feel very hungry you will lose control over these high calorie foods and end up binging on them. It is common for people not to eat thinking that this will compensate for the excesses of the party, but the result is much worse.
Your Feelings Matter (A Lot)
If you fall into food temptations when you feel distressed, anxious, worried or nervous, you are definitely going to have to control these dysfunctional emotions. Meditation, yoga, regular physical activity and psychological therapy help prevent you from emotional eating, where you binge on high caloric, sweet and greasy foods.
Distract your Mind
One of the differences between real hunger and emotional hunger is that the former persists until food is consumed, while the latter goes away after a few minutes. If you know that you ate an hour or two ago and you are not feeling “real hunger” but are trying to calm down boredom, anxiety or anguish with food, you have to distract your mind.
Taking deep breaths for 3-5 minutes, answering some e-mail that was pending or making a phone call to a loved one can help you defuse these emotions that push you to eat unhealthy foods.