Tips for beating those pesky cravings!

It’s easy to know what is good for you, not so easy to act on that knowledge. When it’s YOUR head telling you to do something (‘Pour that wine, go on, you deserve it’ or ‘Just have a slice of cake – one tiny piece won’t hurt’), then ignoring it isn’t always what you WANT to do. Sometimes, at that moment in time, all you WANT to do is give into that voice, act on it, pour the wine or eat the cake. When a craving strikes, it feels like a bona fide part of YOU, shouting at you to do as you are told.

Learning how to recognise a craving as simply that, rather than a real need or want that is stemming from you (as opposed to your addiction), is the first step in powering through and sticking to your resolve. Here are a few tips to help you do exactly that;

  • A craving lasts 10 minutes – set a timer, grit your teeth and repeatedly tell yourself that this is a very short-lived ‘want’ and after a few minutes everything will return to normal. This isn’t going to last forever.
  • Each time you ignore a craving and refuse to give into it, your resolve strengthens. This means that next time it will be a little bit easier to rebuff that devil on your shoulder.
  • The initial week will be the hardest because the benefits are yet to be tangible – stay with it until you see the rewards of weight loss, brighter skin, more even mood or better quality sleep; witnessing the positive outcomes of sticking to your intentions will spur you on no end, and you’ll begin to see them after just a few days.
  • Learn to separate YOU from the voice of the craving – picture the owner of that persuasive voice as an evil witch, a little demon or a horrible monster who is intent on ruining your life. Imagine yourself sticking your fingers in your ears; block out the voice from your thoughts. Giving into it means letting that monster/witch/demon win, so toughen up and stick up for yourself by saying NO!
  • Keep a supply of healthy snacks close-by to make sure you don’t get hungry; whether you are aiming to banish the buns or beat the booze, this will help you. When you feel hungry you are much more likely to cave into temptation and reach for the chocolate or wine. Some good suggestions are dried fruit and nuts, toast with hummus or malt loaf.
  • DISTRACT yourself. Get busy with a task or activity, and you will keep your mind engaged in something other than thinking of whatever it is you are craving. Whether it is cleaning the bathroom, sorting out your tip of a wardrobe or rustling up some healthy soup, getting stuck into a distraction will make those ten minutes pass by all the quicker, and with much less agony.

Good luck, and stay happy and healthy this weekend! Lucy xx

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Say goodbye to the muffin top.

What a difference a day makes. I’ve spent the last couple of days feeling pretty flat with regards to keeping fit (I just wrote fat there by mistake – how telling!) and shifting this last stone of baby weight. I signed up for a 10k race which takes place on December 2nd, and I am starting to worry slightly that I may not be able to complete it, never mind improve on my PB (which was achieved approximately 10 years ago). None of this was making me feel particularly positive. Oh yes, to disconcert the healthy-lifestyle apple cart further, I seem to have gradually upped my biscuit and chocolate munching once again – this week it’s been close to the epic pregnancy portions, which is never going to make me happy. Or thin.

Not rocket science…these things have been maintaining my muffin top.

But this morning as I lay in bed at 6am with Lily gurgling next to me, I began to think about will power and positive mental attitude – how I have managed to successfully transform myself from heavy binge-drinking, manic depressive, bipolar-esque boozer, to calm, happy, level-headed person who is much nicer to be around (I hope). I didn’t switch from one persona to the other by accident, or with no effort. I did it by altering my state of mind.

Prior to giving up alcohol for good, I regularly knocked it on the head for short periods of, say, six weeks or three months. I would spend the entire duration of my wagon rides miserable as sin, drooling whenever I thought of wine. At the end of these aeons of alcohol deprivation, my spirits would lift once again as I embarked on a good old piss up by way of a reward for my abstinence. I’d give myself a good pat on the back too for not being an alcoholic – after all, if I could manage six weeks without booze then surely I couldn’t be dependent upon it?

In order to stop drinking for good and to be happy about it, I had to alter my thought processes. Without alcohol in my life, I wasn’t depriving myself of something desirable; I was giving myself the benefits of good health, happier state of mind and improved physical appearance. Without alcohol, I am able to go running whenever I want, I don’t have to worry about what I said or did the night before – ever (that is so freeing), I never suffer from a furry tongue, bad breath or dried leather-handbag skin owing to dehydration, I have more money, my fears about dying prematurely have vanished, I no longer have panic attacks, my self-confidence has improved massively, I have tonnes more energy, and I don’t hate myself. Makes me wonder why the hell I ever drank in the first place!

So, back to my ponderings this morning – in order to get back in pre-pregnancy shape, I need to apply the same state of mind alteration to my cake-munching and fitness programme. I read an article yesterday about Alzheimer’s now being regarded as Type-3 diabetes, in that recent research suggests that it is brought on by eating too many sugary and processed foods. Cakes and biscuits are bad for us; they keep us from reaching our desired weight loss goals, they’re bad for our teeth, they provide absolutely no nutritional benefit whatsoever and they cost money that could be spent on better things. Now they may even be responsible for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. I want to lose a stone and I want to be able to run a good time when I take part in the 10k in December. Cakes ain’t gonna help me do either.

So, with cakes out of the window and a new, more positive state of mind in place, I did 100 crunches followed by a 1 minute plank this morning in my PJ’s, and I am going to take the dog for a 5 mile run shortly. I skipped my usual cake at the café and I am planning on repeating my crunches/plank regime every day. Incidentally I have never followed a fitness regime for any length of time that specifically targets one area of the body, so I am intrigued to see how effective this will be. I am feeling much happier as a result of this mind change – it’s good to discover yet another positive from giving up the booze, which is that if I can get that shit out of my life, then I can pretty much achieve anything I want – happy days! (I’ll keep you posted re the six pack).