Easter is here and I am going to take this opportunity to provide you with the skills to rid those chocolate cravings! It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.
Consider why you want to beat the craving
Taking the time to sit down and think about how overeating, emotional eating and cravings are affecting you and your future is important. It may seem over the top but eating too much of a certain food can have significant impacts on your health. Additionally, cravings and emotional eating can be a large part of some people’s lives, negatively impacting their mood as a result. Many people feel so ashamed that they hide their food and eat when alone.
It may help to ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to beat the power food has over me?
- What will I get out of it?
- What will happen if I continue overeating chocolate (or any other food for that matter)?
It may not be affecting me now but how could it in the future?
- Do I see myself living with these cravings in the long run?
- How could this behaviour rub off on my children?
In order to make changes, you need to determine why it is important to you and to place value on the change.
Wait for a craving to pass
Before giving in to a craving allow at least 20 minutes and do something else in the meantime. Many people find that once the 20 minutes is up, they’re not even thinking of that food any longer. Whereas hunger will not go away, a craving will! You can then bask in the satisfaction of the willpower you just exerted.
Come up with a list of sweet chocolate alternatives
This will be useful when you get chocolate cravings.
Try and take advantage of naturally sweet foods instead. Some good options to get you started include:
- Low fat yoghurt.
- Dried fruit e.g. dates (just be careful with the portion you have).
- Lower energy ice creams e.g. Paddle Pops, Mini Weiss bars, Skinny Cow, Splice.
- Buy a hard lolly to suck on e.g. lolly pop – this option isn’t ideal but it is a good step to take from eating ½ pack of Easter eggs.
- A tub of diet chocolate mousse
Determine why you might be craving chocolate
Are you bored? Are you upset? Happy? Angry? Stressed? There are many different reasons why we over indulge so it’s a good idea to sit down and determine why instead of masking the emotion with food. Try coming up with other management techniques like reading a book, calling a friend, yoga or going for a walk. Overeating will not make you feel better in the long run but likely worse so keep this in mind. If you are really struggling with your emotional eating then you may benefit from making an appointment with a psychologist.
If you think control is an issue for you, it may be best not to have any chocolate in the house. Alternatively, buy portion controlled chocolates like individually wrapped snack size bars. But don’t let your brain fool you in to buying a pack that you will eat half of in the one day! Purchasing dark chocolate also limits the amount most people can eat plus it is lower in sugar and fat than regular chocolate.
Brush your teeth
Once you’ve had dinner or a small chocolate treat, brush your teeth. Sometimes this can be enough to prevent eating more.
Track your progress
To maintain motivation, some people find it beneficial to track their progress. This can be done by regularly checking in with a friend or family member to chat about it. Alternatively you can create a chart – sticker charts don’t have to be just for children!
It will get easier!
It’s always hard to break a habit and cravings are just that. Over time however, it does become easier. From that point onwards it’s about maintaining those new, healthier habits and not falling back in to old ways.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.