You know the drill. You’re going about your day, cleaning up your apartment, the TV is lulling in the background. When all of the sudden, a candy bar commercial pops up on the screen. And then it hits you like a barrel full of bricks.
I WANT CHOCOLATE!!!
But you have none in the house. Your mind goes to the gas station down the street. There is a lot of chocolate there. 99 cents a bar. So you start searching the house for change. You realize you’re being crazy. I don’t need chocolate that badly. So you continue cleaning.
But then you’re doing the laundry, and low and behold when you remove your clothes from the washing machine you find a one dollar bill.
You think. I should save this. It could be put to good use, like my morning coffee. But you can’t stop thinking about that chocolate bar down at the gas station with your name on it.
So even though you are the only one at home, you grab your keys and sneak out to your car as quietly as possible. This is a secret mission. No one can know. Especially not your alter egos, Sarah McEatHealthyson and Diabetty.
In your car you find four quarters. You know it’s parking meter money but you can’t help but think, I could buy the king size.
So, without thinking or considering, you run inside the gas station and buy that king sized cookies and creme hershey’s bar.
No, really, this has never happened to me.
Actually it happens to me far too often. I just cleaned out my car and found about five thousand candy wrappers under my seats (I rarely clean out my car). But what do we do when we’re craving cookies, cakes, potato chips, and other things that are not only hell on our waistlines but are also blood sugar raising culprits?
Diabetic Living’s online site has a great slideshow on conquering cravings. Cravings are my second biggest problem after emotional eating. I start to crave sugar and sweets after just seeing a picture of them or a commercial on TV. Sugar is really the thing I crave the most. Imagine that, a diabetic craving sugar. (There are rumors circulating that artificial sweeteners can increase cravings for sweets. I decided to test this theory by breaking up with diet coke, although we are still chatting on occasion. Results of this test are pending.)
Here are some things I am using in order to try to control my cravings:
1. Think, Do I really want to eat this?
What are my favorite sweets? Reeses white chocolate cups and chocolate cupcakes, for sure. But should I really satisfy my craving for store-brand Oreos? Are they even that good? (NO, they are not). By making a list of foods you Really Love and calling this your “allow” list, you can cut back on the extra calories in the cravings you didn’t really want in the first place.
2. Try something different.
Lately, when I’m craving something high calorie like chocolate cake or brownies, I’ve tried satisfying my craving with something else – like fresh fruit or a spoonful of peanut butter. It gives me the sweet taste my brain is telling me I want and it is a lower calorie option. Peanut butter gets stuck in my mouth, making me not want to eat anything else. Fresh strawberries are my absolute favorite when it comes to this and I am starting to crave them more than I am chocolate, and they’re in season now!
Here’s a hint: If you’re craving potato chips, eat something salty, like a handful of salted nuts or a baked version of the chips. If you’re craving something sweet, be sure to eat something sweet. Otherwise, you may keep munching and end up feeding your craving anyway.
3. Drink a glass of water and wait ten minutes before giving in on a craving.
Sometimes, when I think I am hungry or when I am craving something, it seems as though I may be dehydrated. A glass of water could do the trick! You can also try filling your craving with diet soda, if you drink it.
4. Remember, everything in moderation.
Giving in to cravings isn’t always a bad thing. Labeling foods “good” and “bad” often causes us to feel guilt when we eat the “bad” foods and in turn eat more “bad” foods, because of that emotional cycle I talked about yesterday. Giving in to a chocolate craving by eating one or two Hershey’s kisses can be a good way to control your cravings without letting them get out of control.
5. Wait it out
For me, if I just wait the craving will go away. Set a timer for 20 minutes. If when the timer goes off, you’re still fighting the craving, give in. If you’re not, don’t let the timer trigger your craving again. Drink a glass of water and move on with your day.
These are just a few things I want to try this week. Let me know if you have any other ideas or things that work for you when you’re fighting cravings.
How are you doing on your food journals? Is anyone finding it helpful?