Jillian Michaels is someone that I love! I love her tips, her workout videos, her books and some of her recipes. Today's blog post is a good one that I feel a lot of us struggle with and continue to struggle with. In answering this question from a reader she gives some great advice and tips that I've never thought of and am going to be trying. Enjoy your reading!
Q: I have a hard time saying no to my cravings. When I go
out to the grocery store, I can’t seem to stop myself from purchasing
chips or chocolate bars. How can I stop this bad habit and not be
tempted? — Chris Goodine (via email)
A: Chris, having struggled with these issues
personally, I have developed a somewhat unorthodox approach to cravings.
I give in to them. Before your head explodes let me expand on that with
I make the healthier treat choice. You mention that
chips are one of your cravings. Think Popchips® instead of fried,
greasy chips. Think all-natural frozen sorbet instead of regular ice
cream. Same for chocolate bars; think Green & Black’s Organic® dark
or white chocolate bars or Newman’s Own Organics® peanut butter cups in
dark or milk chocolate instead of your run of the mill candy bar from
the local convenience store. I could go on and on with healthier
options. What makes one choice better than the other are the
ingredients. You want to avoid “foods” with hormones, Trans fats
(hydrogenated oils), HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), artificial colors
and flavors, MSG and so on. You see, your body doesn’t know how to
process these chemicals and preservatives so they wreak havoc on your
biochemistry, throwing your metabolism
and overall health grossly out of whack. Sugar or salt on the other
hand, while certainly not good for you, can be tolerated and processed
by your body safely when consumed in moderation.
Which brings me to my second caveat ...
I follow the 80/20 rule. Make 20 percent of your
daily controlled-calories allowance the treat food of your choice. While
I am not a believer in “free” or “cheat” days, I do allow myself a
treat every day. My reasoning is that I personally feel bloated, gross,
and disappointed in myself after I’ve binged on something during a
conveniently titled “free” day. Also, one calorie-filled “cheat” day can
erase many good days of hard work. Think about it. If you are creating a
500-calorie deficit a day (which would equal a pound of weight loss a week),
then on Sunday you consume 3,000 to 4,000 calories, you have instantly
wiped out roughly four days of hard work! Plus, it creates and rewards a
binge mentality. The key to success is not all and then nothing. It’s a
balanced approach that is thought out and rooted in the math of weight loss.
So, you see, I do eat ice cream, chocolate, and chips. I just don’t
binge on them and I don’t eat chemicals. EVER. You can’t deny a
craving. The more you do the worse the kick back is going to be when you
fall off the wagon.
If you find it hard to stop eating once you start, try a few of
these techniques. First, buy treats in single-serving portions. Don’t
get bags of chips or cookies and keep them in the house if you have
trouble with binging. Second, take a few bites of the treat, and then
occupy yourself with something else. Tell yourself that if you still
want it after 15 minutes you will allow yourself more. You will find
that 90 percent of the time your body will have had a chance to register
the sugar or salt you were craving and feel satiated. Third, use logic.
Think through the treat. Play it out in your head before you do it. Ask
yourself how you will feel AFTER the binge has occurred. Probably
guilty and disappointed with yourself, right? Knowing and feeling that
ahead of time, let those emotions drive you to make better decisions and
subsequently turn to a habit or behavior that rewards and fulfills you
in life affirming ways like a bubble bath, foot massage, exercise, or a
coffee with a good friend.
A life without treats is not only a virtual impossibility, but one I
personally wouldn’t find worth living. Ok, I am exaggerating — a
little. Food is not just fuel. It’s meant to be enjoyed and savored. Not
denied and not abused. Acknowledge this, practice balance, and it all
will work out fine.