How to manage cravings

How to manage cravings.

Let’s look at some simple steps to help you manage the cravings. You can watch the video below on this topic or keep scrolling if you prefer to read.

I would say pretty much every client that comes to work with me one-to-one, struggles with cravings. If you struggle with cravings it’s no wonder if you’ve been yo-yo dieting forever. It’s no wonder that you struggle with cravings when you’ve been given so many rules, so many complicated plans to follow. You’ve been told to restrict yourself, especially if you followed diets that are too strict. Diets where foods are labelled as ‘bad foods’ or ‘naughty’ and you’re told you’re not allowed to eat these things.

It’s no wonder that you struggle with cravings.

I often get people telling me that they’ve been told so many rules and restrictions that they just get confused about what to eat. Then they’ve ended up skipping meals or barely having anything to eat at all, because they just don’t know what to eat. Then they struggle with cravings, especially for the foods they’re trying to cut out.

What happens when you don’t give your body enough energy.

When you don’t give your body the nutrients and energy that it needs that leads to you feeling hungry. When you get too hungry, you don’t feel like you have control over your eating. If you’re not giving your body what it needs then you’re more likely to have cravings. And it’s usually for all those things that you’re being told you’re not allowed to eat. You know the things I mean, the sugary foods like biscuits or sweets. Or it could be the fatty foods like crisps. It’s only natural to crave these kind of foods, because it’s the body’s way of finding a quick fix solution for the problem. If you were hungry back in the wild – tens of thousands of years ago – our bodies would have rewarded us for finding food, for getting energy. Because that’s what we need; we need energy. If you’re not giving your body what it needs, it’ll want that ‘quick fix’ energy that you get from the fatty or sugary foods. It’s your body following its natural instinct.

It’s so easy for cravings to become a habit.

The thing is with cravings it can become a cycle. You have a craving for something, you give in and you eat it. Then it gets harder to resist each time doesn’t it? So you go round and round the cycle, each time you give-in to cravings they get stronger next time. But the good news is that you can flip that cycle back the other way by learning to resist the craving. It’s kind of like the ‘itch-scratch’ cycle, which you might recognise if you have (or know someone with) itchy skin conditions like eczema. If you can resist scratching the itch then it gets less itchy and so it’s easier to resist. It’s harder when you first get started, but the more that you persevere with resisting a craving, the easier it gets.

Here are my 4 simple steps to help you manage cravings

Step 1 – Go back to the basics of eating balanced meals

The best place to start is always to go back to basics and make sure that you are eating regular balanced meals. If you’re eating regularly throughout the day you’re giving your body a nice steady stream of energy, so you’re less likely to feel peckish and hungry. Then you’re less likely to have the cravings for those quick fix energy types of foods. Also if you’re nourishing your body with all the different nutrients it needs again you’re less likely to have cravings. Often cravings can be linked to missing some nutrients, so even if you’re eating enough energy if you’re not getting enough of all the different nutrients your body will still be looking out for more to eat to try and get all the nutrients that it needs.

So take a step back from thinking you need to restrict yourself and focus on nourishing yourself. If you need help with this then grab my super simple guide to making healthy eating easy. That will help you make sure that your meals are nice and balanced. I also have my Anti-dieting Meal Planner as well so download both of those for free, to help you plan well balanced meals to nourish your body to feel well and reduce the cravings.

blown the diet
What’s your attitude towards food & does it help you?

Step 2 – Change your perspective on food

For a lot of people that first step will make all the difference, but if your cravings are really ingrained then the next step is to try and change your perspective about food. Try to avoid looking at food is being ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Instead look at it for what it is; food is fuel and nourishment. We need to eat so it’s about avoiding looking at food as being something that you need to restrict and limit. Avoid thinking that you need to deprive and punish your body, because that’s not going to help you. If you’re anything like me, the moment you ban something, you want it more! Instead give yourself permission to eat the foods that you love with zero guilt. Enjoy those regular balanced meals, nourish your body, look at food as fuel & nourishment, and give yourself permission to to have a little of what you fancy.

Step 3 – Learn to listen to your body

Learning to listen to your body can make a huge difference. So it’s about learning to spot the difference between true physical hunger or that feeling where you’re just a bit peckish. Where maybe you just need to go back and make sure your meals are balanced enough so you can keep going without a snack between meals. You need to learn when it’s just a desire to eat, where you’re just eating for the sake of it or out of habit. Or noticing when you’re eating out of boredom or you’re eating for your emotions. Learn to be aware of how you feel physically and emotionally before you eat.

Then recognise when it’s actually a craving. A craving can sometimes feel quite physical so you may mistake it for hunger. The clue to it being a craving is that it’s a specific food you want. Whereas if it’s true hunger, any food will do. If you’re struggling to tell the difference this is something I explain in more detail in the session on ‘Hunger’ in my ‘No More Diets’ online course.

Have a think back over the previous steps and if you recognise that it’s a craving, ask yourself “have I given myself what I need, am I giving my body the nutrients it needs? Am I looking at food from a healthy perspective?” If you’re still getting that craving where only that one specific food will do then have a look at the next step.

Step 4 – Make a plan to help you resist that craving

The first step towards breaking free from the cycle of cravings is learning to resist the craving. The craving will pass if you can resist it, and then next time it pops up (coz it will pop up again!) it’ll be easier to resist. Then each time you resist it, it’ll get easier and easier – it just takes practise.

So make yourself a plan of how you’re going to resist the craving. Think about what you could do to distract yourself. How could you be kind to yourself and do something nice for yourself that’ll make you feel good? What could you do to pass the time until the craving passes? Have a think about how you could talk to yourself. What could you say to yourself to keep yourself going and help yourself to ignore the craving?

Don’t panic if none of this works the first time, it takes practice to build this skill and break-free from old habits. For more help get in touch to get my 1-2-1 support or find out more about my ‘No More Diets’ course where there is a whole session dedicated to managing cravings.

Remember it’s time to ditch dieting forever, because you absolutely deserve better.

Need help to ditch dieting forever?

Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!

I will help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you will learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.


My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • Yet again this week I’ve been off the tea – not sure if it’s due to the heatwave we’ve had (probably) or because I had Covid last week! I’ve been drinking loads of water though, which my body has definitely needed. Although I do quite fancy a cuppa today now I’ve just written this…
  • The school summer holidays are officially here – eek! Genevieve has spent the first day with my parents and we’re off camping this weekend. Can’t wait to see the sea and go on a boat trip again as we all loved it last time. I have a few ideas of fun and mischief we can get up to, but I need to get planning.
  • Our little family challenge ’22 Hills In 2022′ is still on pause. However we’ve found a hill to walk up near the campsite so watch this space!
  • I’ve also got back into my reading challenge ’22 New Books in 2022′, but haven’t quite finished the book I’m currently reading. I’m still reading the massive book of HG Wells novels and still surprised I haven’t injured myself as it’s so heavy to read while lying down… ha!
  • At the weekend we watched ‘The Sea Beast’, which was lovely – obvs Blue is the best character! Sam and I went to see the new Thor film ‘Love and Thunder’, which I enjoyed, but ‘Ragnarok’ is still the best Thor film. We also watched the new ‘Ms Marvel’ series. I really loved the look and characters, but I’m hoping the next series will have a stronger plot…
  • Bird Nerd Report: Still not seen many birds as I’ve not started getting out and about yet. Although I heard loads of goldfinches in our garden again – fingers crossed they decide to visit regularly.

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