Repeat after me: Cravings are powered by the brain’s need for reward – not the need to feed the body.
Sometimes, just knowing that will get you over it when all you want is a chocolate bar, dipped in chocolate sauce, with chocolate sprinkles on top.
Other times, you might want to try one of these:
Have a little. Eat a little of what you want, maybe a little fun cookie or chocolate bar. Enjoying a little of what you want, can help stop those “Can’t have it” feelings. As long as it doesn’t push you over your numbers (daily protein, carbs, and calorie goals) then it won’t hurt you in moderation. Try to keep it to a maximum 100 calories.
Combine food. If stopping at that one cookie or a chocolate bar seems impossible, you can add chocolate to something healthy to fill you up while satisfying the craving. You might dip a banana in chocolate sauce, or mix some chocolate pieces in with almonds. You will satisfy a craving and get healthy nutrients from those foods good for you. Brucey bonus!
Go cold turkey. Going the other way, you could cut it out altogether. Although the first 48 to 72 hours is difficult, some people find that going cold turkey helps to reduce their cravings after a few days.
Chewing gum. If you want to avoid giving in to chocolate cravings completely, try a piece of sugar-free gum.
Reach for fruits. When the chocolate cravings attack, try some fruit. You may not be craving chocolate specifically, but rather something sweet. As well as the sweetness, you’ll get the smugness of knowing you had something healthy instead. Keep a supply of food like fruit, seeds, and nuts handy so you can reach for them instead of reaching the chocolate to achieve something.
Try quality over quantity. Try choosing a wonderful, sweet, decadent food, but keep it small. For example, choose a perfect truffle of dark chocolate instead of a big size chocolate bar, then enjoy every bite like you’re lying in a bath eating a flake. (And if you’re too young to get that, firstly, stop gloating, and then click here)
Eat regularly. I’m a big fan of eating little and often. Waiting too long before eating meals can make you choose sugary foods. Eating every three to five hours help to keep the blood glucose levels steady and help to avoid irrational eating behaviours. Choose protein, high-fibre foods to keep the hunger beast at bay.
Take a walk. Once you are at the door, you are away from chocolate. After half an hour walk, you will be full of energy and be willing to resist the sweet things.
Do something with your hands. Try something crafty. Play Angry Birds. Write a letter or an email. Do whatever will distract you and keep your hands busy.
Bin it. This is a great one psychologically. You’re not just refusing to eat it, you’re physically discarding it. It’s a strong message for yourself. It’s drawing a line, and helps set boundaries for next time.
Place it in an inaccessible place. Stand up on a chair and push chocolate right into the back of a large wardrobe. My fiancé has what she calls the, “Cupboard of sin”. If you can’t just grab something without a bit of effort, it’ll make you at least think twice.
Set time limit. If you still want chocolate in an hour, you can have it. Most cravings last no more than 20 to 30 minutes. Go do something else and it’s likely that you’ll forget the chocolate once the time has expired.
Take a hot shower. If all else fails, this can be just what you need to do the business. The water should be warm – not so hot as to burn your skin, but warm enough that it is uncomfortable at the edge of feeling. Let the water run over your back and shoulders and leave the heat there. Stay at least 5-10 minutes. At this point, your cravings will most likely be gone.
And just to be clear, when I say shower, I don’t mean this…