You’ve probably heard the saying “a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”—most often used to describe the long-term effects of eating junk food. But while clever sayings may help us remember that the pleasure of eating chips or chocolate is fleeting, they can’t always stop us from doing it. Here are four REAL craving-crushing coping strategies to help keep you on track when those tempting sweet-and-salty snacks come calling.
1. Know your triggers.
Even if you’re just starting your Jenny Craig weight loss journey, you probably have a pretty good idea what your specific unhealthy eating triggers might be. Stress is probably the most common one; whether at home or at the office, situational anxiety can send even the most disciplined dieter to seek solace in snacking. Former smokers might feel cravings at times when a cigarette might sound especially good; while others experience cravings at predictable times throughout the day, like “afternoon crash” or the “late-night munchies.” Simply understanding when your cravings are likely to strike can help you be better prepared to deal with them.
2. Understand cravings.
Did you know: cravings are different from actual hunger? Psychologists believe that cravings are not physical responses, but emotional ones. Think of cravings like waves—slowly building to a peak, then crashing and dissipating in just 15 minutes. No matter how intense your desire feels in the moment, you KNOW you can ride it out for 15 minutes.
3. Find healthy distractions.
Speaking of those 15 minutes, here’s a great way to spend them: on a nice, brisk walk. Another recent study revealed that 15 minutes of brisk walking had a dramatic impact on stress-related eating; participants who exercised experienced fewer urges to overeat, and in fact ate less than their counterparts who didn’t! If it’s difficult for you to get away whenever a craving strikes (toddler mums and worker bees, we get it!), make sure you schedule some time to decompress—whether it’s a bubble bath at home, or a pedicure at the nail salon.
4. Seek smart substitutions.
Even though celery and carrots are Jenny Craig “free foods”—low-kilojoule items you can enjoy with abandon, whenever you like—we’re not going to insult you by saying they’re as delicious as traditional snacks. So if you have specific items that keep popping up on your cravings calendar, let us help! On those comfort food nights when you’re tempted to eat a whole box of macaroni and cheese, eat a single, healthy serving of OUR delicious Macaroni & Cheese instead. Keep a selection of your favourite Jenny Craig snacks in your desk drawer at work (Cheesy Popcorn and Lite n Tangy Crisps will never steer you wrong!) to help you cope with your afternoon slump.
Still feeling stuck? Talk to your consultant. We’ve been helping people create healthier eating habits for more than 30 years, so we’ve got SO many tips and tricks to share. With Jenny Craig, you’re never on this journey alone.