Knowing the right things to eat after a workout doesn’t block out intense food cravings. When you’re craving junk food, it’s hard to say no. So how do you stop yourself from reaching for foods that won’t help you build mass?
New research published in the journal Appetite suggests that being aware of, but consciously choosing not to act on your food cravings could be enough to help you avoid them. Here are a few key tips from the study’s researchers.
BE AWARE OF YOUR FOOD CRAVINGS …
Your thoughts have major influence on your behavior. The first step to not giving in to that craving for potato chips is simply to recognize that you’re thinking about potato chips. Understanding that you are currently craving potato chips displays the level of awareness you need to have in order to push these unwanted thoughts out of your mind.
… BUT DON’T ACT ON THEM
In this case, your thoughts are lying to you. Your brain says, “I need potato chips right now or I’m going to die.” Obviously it’s exaggerating. You don’t really need to eat chips, especially not right this second. Don’t immediately get up in search of a way to satisfy your craving. Sit with it for awhile. Let yourself come to the slow realization that eating potato chips right now would really only satisfy you for about five minutes. It doesn’t seem worth it, when you think about it like that.
PICTURE SOMETHING BETTER
Guided imagery helped study participants shift what they were picturing, changing the image of the desired food in their head to something else. You can do the same thing wherever and whenever you need to. So you’re sitting here thinking about potato chips. If you closed your eyes right now (but don’t, otherwise you couldn’t read the rest of this), you’d probably see potato chips, too. Try picturing something else. No, not french fries. Something healthier, like a baked potato. Ooh, and chicken. There. Now you know what you’re having for dinner, and you (probably) don’t want potato chips anymore. You’re welcome.
MP’s Take: It might seem like talking yourself out of eating what you shouldn’t is too simple. Maybe that’s a good thing. If you want results, you have to eat right. You can’t go around filling your body with junk and expect that not to affect you. Try these tips next time you really, really want to snack on something questionable. You can even try eating a high-protein snack first, telling yourself that if your craving hasn’t gone away after that, you can indulge. Chances are, you won’t even remember you wanted that original snack at all.