The holiday season is upon us - time for indulging in food that you may not normally eat. Whether you're anticipating the receipt of gift baskets at the office, or being tempted by all the holiday goodies in the supermarket, your mind is constantly being coerced into wanting sweets and treats. Don't give in to the cravings!
Of course, we've all faced an overwhelming urge to indulge in a particular unhealthy food item - pizza, chocolate, doughnuts, ice cream, French fries, etc. - but when the holidays come around, we are offered a whole new treasure trove of delicacies. To help "sweeten" the pot, many of these are only seasonally available. A pumpkin spice latte, anyone? The holidays are like walking through the mall food court, or the main thoroughfare at the State Fair, and even the most health-conscious person can't resist giving in to temptation once in a while.
An article on CNN titled, 7 Ways to Stop Unhealthy Food Cravings, provides tips on how to beat those cravings along with many healthy alternatives to the unhealthy foods we want. To avoid what the author calls "mindless munching," you need to analyze the cause of your cravings in order to counter them with effective strategies.
First, ask yourself if you're really hungry. So many of us eat just because we're bored. Take a moment to stop and think. Now that you're concentrating, decide what your body needs. Even if it's time to eat, your brain may override your body and demand that slice of chocolate cake rather than a sandwich or salad.
Next, pay attention to what you crave. Sometimes the desire for certain types of foods can actually be a warning sign for a health issue. If you've eaten a full meal, yet you still want something that's sweet, salty, high in protein, etc., and this is more of a physical response, then consider seeing a medical professional. If it is a purely emotional craving, try to derail that train of thought. Once you see the food you want, it's often impossible to stop imagining the texture, richness, and all the other attributes of what it would be like to taste it.
That's why it's important to take a time out. Instead of racing to be the first to cut into that pan of brownies, take a few minutes to drink a glass of water or have a hot beverage, get up and walk around, or chew some gum. If you absolutely can't resist, then go ahead and satisfy your craving, but do so in small doses. Try having just one-fourth the normal portion size.
Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and preventing your cravings is the best way to eliminate them altogether. By finding healthier alternatives to sugary snacks, you can bypass the desire to eat the bad stuff and maybe, just maybe, ring in the new year without adding inches to your waistline.