Updated: Apr 30, 2019
For many kids, one of the main incentives to have a healthy, balanced meal is the promise of a delicious treat for dessert. It’s the motivation that gets them through steamed greens and other nutritional foods that are packed with all the health benefits but lack the bright, colourful aesthetics that primarily draws them to candy bars and the like.
Let's get this straight- having a dessert is not a 'bad' thing. Actually, it's what you should do if you feel like it will be pleasurable, enjoyable and that is truly what your body needs.
However, it starts to become problematic when we consistently eat more than our body wants and needs, we eat past the comfortable feeling of satiety every time, eat foods mindlessly and eat due to emotions, rather than real hunger.
It is important to tune into this awareness by really checking in with yourself from a place of honesty and no judgement. The reason we crave sugary foods, is because they release a hit of dopamine, which gives us a warming feeling of reward and deservedness.
Check-in with yourself: what time of the day do you usually turn to food? Is it after a particular meal? Is it after a particular habit in your routine? If you find it hard to stop once you start eating or find that you never stop with 'one', check out some of these after- meal strategies to help you change the stubborn habit once and for all.
Make your favourite brew
Make tea your go-to straight after every meal and make a real ritual out of it. Enjoy the process of preparing and steeping it; use your favourite cup or tea pot to pour it into and, finally, settle into the cosiest nook of your home to sip and relax.
There is a reason so many cultures follow their own tea rituals in a meditative or ritualistic way: taking a moment for ourselves or to reconnect with others while infusing our bodies with natural herbs and kindness is an act of self-love.
Go for a Walk
If you find staying in the house and coming back to the kitchen only mean rummaging through the cupboards, get your boots on and head outside for a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk.
Nature has a way of grounding, allowing us to let go of the day and simply focus on the beauty of the changing seasons. The fresh air and movement will help you tap into a state of relaxation, any nagging voice in your head can be silenced and, in turn, will help push any negative thought-patterns from the mind.
Get Lost in Crafting
If you’re already one to have several craft projects on the go at any given time, use this time to your advantage; if you’ve never had a go at crafting, this might be the perfect incentive!
One great way to get away from cravings, is by focusing all your attention on something relaxing you truly love. Crafting is a creative outlet that is fun, playful and distracting. If your day-to-day life doesn't have much space for creativity, this is a perfect opportunity to engage your right hemisphere in some activity, while successfully avoiding cravings.
Breathe Through It
The above after-meal strategies all share one thing in common: they are a form of meditation and rest that will aid you in breathing through any emotional cravings that may arise shortly after a meal.
These techniques will soon become a habit you will automatically build into your every-day routine and they will become easier with every time. You may still feel negative thought processes arising at times, but that’s OK.
Acknowledge them, accept the things you can’t change and meditate on the changes that are accessible to you – it’s all about establishing new, healthy habits.
So you've tried all of those without much success, yet you're desperate to stop the cravings? Sometimes the simplest things can be the most effective.
Try out brushing your teeth after a meal, doing a yoga class or video, play your favourite tunes and dance like nobody's watching (even if they are) and keep distracting yourself in new ways.
Remember, for the outcome to change you have to do something differently. Like Maya Angelou famously said- 'Nothing will change unless you do'.
Are you ready to curb sugar cravings, emotional eating and manage your weight, naturally? Start with downloading my FREE 7 day Curb the Crave meal plan HERE.
Feel like you need more support and accountability? Book a FREE discovery session to discuss your situation, goals and next steps HERE.