What everyone else has said is very true- great advice on how to slowly cut back on sugar/salt to help reduce these cravings. The more you stay away, the easier it is.
I think it is very important, as another person said, to clean sweep the house and not have the food you shouldn't eat in the house. Then, I always make the deal with myself that if I REALLY want ice cream so badly that I am willing to go drive in traffic to buy an overpriced treat from a ice cream place, then I guess it is worth going out and doing that. If not? Then clearly it is a craving I can deal with.
Also, if i'm in the store and I find myself REALLY wanting something bad, I make the deal that I can get it if I 1. look at the ingredients and calories in the serving size I am going to eat (usually 2+ servings in one package!) and 2. I can buy just one sitting's worth. So don't buy an entire bag of chips, buy the mini bags they sell. Or don't buy a bag of chocolate, buy one candy bar at the check out. Then it is a one-and-done thing, and you won't have to keep fighting the urge to eat it because you brought it home.
Current favorite inspirational quote: Don't reward yourself with food; you're not a dog.
It really is true that tastes change. I used to think those skinny girls who were eating salads every day were being virtuous somehow, denying what they really wanted: the burger and fries I was eating. Now I eat like they do and I understand it. It really does taste better, plus it makes you feel good for hours afterwards, instead of making you want to take a nap.
I don't believe in being deprived of my favorite foods, for me, that leads to bad things. I think it's much better to allow yourself a small portion of what you really want, it will help you to really appreciate it and make the treat worth it. Of course, if you can find a substitute that meets your cravings in the same way, buy all means, but I'd rather just have the real thing and work out a little harder the next day :)
You'll never regret the workout you do, only the one you don't.
If it's something you really don't want to eat, where the craving is just bugging you and you know if you actually do go eat it you'll feel crummy afterwards mentally and/or physically but it just won't leave your head ...
Try visualization. Imagine actually eating the food, in great detail. Taste, smell, texture, feel of it in your hands, everything. I know it sounds weird and like it should only make the problem worse, but I swear it works. You can satisfy that sensory desire this way.
If it's something you do actually want to eat, but you know it's not something you can afford to eat often or risk losing all your progress, then set some rules, plan for it, and keep the portion reasonable. I love pizza for instance, and am perfectly happy to have a slice (*a* slice, unless they're tiny) at a restaurant or when we visit the mall, but it's not something I want to eat every time. So I have an informal rule of no more than twice a month. If I haven't had any in a while and the opportunity arises, then yes, pizza! Because why not.
One thing you may not realize right now is that tastes really do change. Though I allow myself (what feels like) plenty of "junk food" in certain contexts, other things I do not eat and have completely lost the taste for. I've had ice cream once in the past 18 months, didn't enjoy it, and can't foresee the time I'll opt for it again. When someone offers me M&Ms I am indifferent, donuts are actively "ick". And so on. On the other hand I love the taste of chocolate -- the real stuff, rich and bitter. So even though I haven't eaten any in weeks, if that were offered to me I would have some. Because it's amazing. So you'll likely find that the more you are able to keep certain things rare or absent from your diet, the less of a hold most of them will have over you, and you'll find the kind of intrusive thought you're talking about to be less and less of a burden.
Height 5'8 1/2" SW: 190+ CW: 141.0 Woohoo!
5K 4/21/11: 31:55
77 Maintenance Weeks
Fitness Minutes: (12,489)
6/11/14 7:48 A
I just ate only raw whole foods for one week. After that the taste of a carrot seemed sweet. Once in a while I will want some chocolate. I usually blend one half cup of unsweetened almond milk, one over ripe banana, and a tablespoon of raw cocoa nibs with some ice. This cold chocolaty drink gives me what I need. I always have overripe bananas and use the go nanas machine to make an ice cream like dessert.
Weight is the result of what you have been doing for the past week.
"high calories or unhealthy" covers a lot of ground. if you're more specific about what foods, you'll get better suggestions for what to do. can you take the seasoning of whatever it is you want and put it on something lower cal? i used to love arby's curly fries with arby sauce. when i got to the point where they were just to greasy, i started to make a brine of the spices in the sauce, sliced some potatoes like over fries, soaked them in the brine and then baked them. i've also used similar spices on popcorn or cauliflower because i like the flavors.
When I drive past a Burger King and get that smoky, grilled beef aroma, I make myself picture what it really is. There are the frozen, pre-formed burgers, shipped in from somewhere else; there are the fryers, there's the grill, the microwaves, the mat on the floor. There's the underlying scent of bug killer; there's the rodent-control devices out by the dumpster, there's the massive amount of used grease they have to dispose of... It's just distracting enough to make me realize it isn't that great.
As for chocolate, I struggle with that too. I allow myself controlled portions of dark chocolate, which I love, or I have frozen desserts like Weight Watchers or Skinny Cow. Sometimes that 100-calorie W.W. fudge bar at the end of the day is just enough to keep my cravings under control.
"I owe everything you see here to spaghetti."
current weight: 173.3
Fitness Minutes: (5,730)
2,126 6/11/14 3:54 A
For me it's a desire of the senses. Something about the smell of fast food burgers and fries makes me really them. Or the salty crunch of chips.
For the fast food issue, I just make the same food at home. I don't know how fast food makes things so unhealthy. If you use a real potato, real beef, and make a green veggie, it is much more food without the unhealthy after effects.
For crunchy salty things - unbuttered popcorn, an apple cut into slices, celery - anything with lots of crunch.
Creamy mac n cheese like mom made it (nostaglia foods)- I make half as much and freeze half of that right away. Then I serve it as a side dish instead of entree.
So figure out specifically what you want and how it makes you feel and what need you have beyond "I want" and find a satisfying replacement.
I did a clean sweep of my house - when all the junk food was gone - next shopping trip I avoided that stuff like the plague - not there....can't eat it. I spent about 2 weeks re-training by taste buds, and it worked.
I actually started craving an apple for a snack. A bowl of steamed carrots for a snack, a little diced up fruit in non-fat greek yogurt sprinkled with a little stevia for a snack.
I also cut down on the amount of sugar in my morning tea - from 2 tsp per mug to about half a tsp, and I stopped adding salt to everything.
I had no chocolate for the longest time (maybe 5 months...) now I get 2 bars of the Lindt dark with sea salt to last 1 month (or ghiardelli) - and spreading it out over a months now seems so luxurious and decadent - as opposed to having hershey kisses all the time.....
It was funny - I used to get this gourmet butter flavour popcorn - and I'd add butter and salt to it (but of course, right?), first time I had it, about 3 weeks later (after the clean sweep), I could not believe that I used to add extra butter and salt to it!!! OMG it was so salty!
Pizza I didn't eat for my first month -first time I had it - it was so good, but it was also special....it wasn't like "oh, pizza again"..It was "Oh wow, Pizza!!" It seems more special now when I do have it....cause I'm not eating it 2x a week, now it's 2x a month...
The only thing I tend to crave now is chocolate. I eat 1 piece of dark chocolate whenever I get a craving. I used to crave everything, but as my body has adjusted to eating healthier, I have less cravings.
current weight: 183.0
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
6/10/14 2:59 P
This generally happens to me with either chocolate or salt. Chocolate is easy because there are plenty of low calorie things like fudgcicles or small squares of dark chocolate. Salt is slightly more complicated but for whatever reason cherry tomatoes satisfy that.
For more processed things like Little Debbies Nutterbutters or Berger cookies, I've gone through that cycle of "omg I want" to "I have" to "this doesn't taste as good" enough times that I just skip through to the last stage without even buying it. I have enough wiggle room in my lifestyle that really, REALLY good deserts (think flourless chocolate cake from a really good restaurant) are an occasional treat.
SparkPeople, SparkCoach, SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkDiet, SparkAmerica, SparkRecipes, DailySpark, and other marks are trademarks of SparkPeople, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
SPARKPEOPLE is a registered trademark of SparkPeople, Inc. in the United States, European Union, Canada, and Australia. All rights reserved.