Healthy, balanced diets are never easy the first time you bring them into your life. It’s said that it takes about 21 days to develop a habit – good or bad – and the process of bringing about a lifestyle change is difficult, to say the least. Many times during my own personal diet revamp, I have found myself reaching for food and taking long hikes to the kitchen to nibble on choice foods –despite just having eaten. There are so many reasons for why new dieters find it hard to keep their hands to themselves around food, and here are some no-nonsense solutions to these problems:
When boredom strikes: – When you have absolutely nothing to do, who is the friend you turn to? Some good ol’ munchies! It’s hard to look away when cravings start taking you over, and your mind threatens to shut down if you don’t give in to them ASAP. When the kitchen becomes your Mecca, you know you and those unwarranted calories are getting into a long relationship.
SOLUTION: Here’s a secret – Cravings only last for about 20 minutes before subsiding. When you feel like you could use a bit of something, ask yourself if you are really hungry, or just bored. Draw a bath, read a book –but no matter what you do, don’t give in. You’ll savour the next meal even more when you turn away from your cravings.
Stress catches up: A bad day at work, a fight with a loved one, a missed deadline –all these anxiety-filled situations make us seek comfort. And what’s more comforting than some comfort food, a small chocolate, or a gummy bear? Sugar has qualities that naturally lift up the spirit, and this is why we tend to crave them in moments of stress.
SOLUTION: Eating at regular intervals, with well-balanced meals, and keeping all the sweets completely out of reach, and instead keeping a bowl of raspberries or pears on your desk makes it easier to feel the burst of happiness minus the sweet-fix.
Snacking at Down-time: When you kick back after work at a local bar, or settle down to watch your favourite show, the entire experience seems very incomplete without the extra goodies. Whether you’re a sweet-tooth or salty food fanatic, bad calories become good friends when you lay back for a good time to relax.
SOLUTION: When watching a show you love, get out some detox teas or fruits to get that sweet fix, or go for some whole wheat toast or unsalted popcorn for a more savoury fix!
Finally, no matter what sets off your hunger alarms, just make sure that you keep your head up high and avoid giving in as much as possible. Once you let guilt take the better of you, that’s when your balanced diet packs its bag and walks out from the nearest exit –binging becomes your habit. This is mainly because we feel like we are depriving ourselves at these peak-binge times. Relax. Maybe add a bite of your favourite chocolate, melted, over a bowl of apples instead of eating it whole. Drink water –because your body might be tricking you into thinking you’re hungry, when you’re just parched. And stick by your diet like you’d stick by your partner –through thick, and soon, through thin.