One morning as I woke up to get ready for work, I realized that I forgot to prepare my breakfast which is usually my Wake Me Up Pancakes that I wrote on this post. Another breakfast favorite is Ezekiel bread and one, whole Omega-3 egg but I would eat these whenever I only have one pancake left and I’m not used to eating them without one. So, I had a dilemma about whether to eat my husband’s cereal or not to eat breakfast at all. As I stated in the post for my TT transformation results, I kicked the cereal habit for about 6 months now and, quite frankly, I don’t want to go back to eating it again — I don’t even crave it one bit.
#1 Keeping a Safe Home Base
So, I decided to cook some Oatmeal instead (not the quick cooking ones but the regular kind that you can find in the bulk bins at health food stores) and I ate it with a piece of Ezekiel bread slathered with some Peanut Butter (Yum!). I always keep Oatmeal and other healthy stuff at home for times like these. You’ll just never know when hunger or cravings will strike and I like to be prepared when they happen. The strategy is basically to keep a safe home/kitchen base that is free from processed foods, baked goods, or anything that might impede your fat loss goals and your healthy eating habits. While I try not to label some foods as “evil,” I’d rather not have them in my kitchen so that it won’t be easy for me to grab them when I want to eat them.
I originally got this idea of having a safe home base from Precision Nutrition. If you think about it, it really seems intuitive but, some people, like me, would probably think that they can resist the temptation when it comes so it’s ok for them to keep “unhealthy” foods in the kitchen cupboards. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Your will power can only go so far. When hunger pangs start, guess what, your stomach probably doesn’t send signals of eating fruits and vegetables in your brain. I find that when I’m hungry or having a strong craving, it’s really difficult to resist eating that chocolate bar or that sugary cereal that seems to be calling my name and waiting to sabotage my healthy eating efforts.
#2 Develop the Habits
Writing about cravings just now reminded me about the Kashi commercial that I saw on T.V. the other day. The girl in the commercial said that her mission is to turn healthy eating from “have to” to “want to” (or something along those lines). I believe that this can happen because I’ve actually been experiencing some healthy cravings lately. I never would have thought that this was possible but it is. The healthier I eat, the more I don’t want sweets anymore. I actually surprised myself one day when I walked into the grocery store during winter and I was so excited to have found peaches from Chile. I mean who gets excited about fruit? I do!
I also realized that since I’ve been eating fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, it has become a habit that I don’t even think about it anymore. This is a very powerful strategy! You know how they say that habits are hard to break? Well, why not develop a healthy habit so you don’t have to worry about breaking it? Again, this is one of those things that would seem very apparent to some people and yet we’d rather eat fast food or have dessert after dinner etc. Sure, it was difficult for me to develop these habits at first but, the more I practiced it, the easier it went. So, if this something you want to experiment with, try adding just one healthy habit and keep doing it for 3 weeks straight, you’ll find that you’ll have a different take on things compared to when you first started.
#3 Keep them Out of Sight
“Out of sight, out of mind.”
For some people, completely getting rid of junk food may be difficult especially if you live with a big family who doesn’t want to join you in the healthy band wagon. If you’re forgetful like me, you’ll find that the simple act of keeping foods out of sight can be really powerful. Even if you’re not forgetful, you’re less likely to snack on these foods if it’s not lying around on the kitchen counter or the coffee table. On the other hand, if your kitchen is cluttered with visual cues of brownies, potato chips, cookies, etc. then you may just find yourself mindlessly snacking on those foods even though you’re not hungry. Of course, keeping a safe home base would be the ideal strategy but if this situation applies to you, you’re better off not getting those visual cues to keep yourself out of the danger zone.
I find that there’s always a time and place for indulgences especially when it comes to food. Finding the right balance in living a healthier lifestyle can mean the difference between obsessing about macronutrient ratios (which might lead to eating disorders) and just simply being satisfied with the fact that you’re nourishing your body each time you eat a healthy meal.