by: Danielle Ternyila
You don’t understand though, I am craving it. It’s easy for you because you don’t like this food. Easier said than done. I don’t care, I just want it. I can start over on Monday. You don’t know how hard it is to say no. You have it easy, you can afford organic foods and have the time to go to the gym.
These are all the excuses I have heard over and over again. Let me tell 10 different people that I lost weight through changing my lifestyle and diet, and I guarantee I’ll hear one of these excuses, if not multiple. My favorite excuse has always been, “I’m Italian!” We say this with pride, as if we are born with bread and pasta in our bloodstream and it’s a sin to ever turn it down.
I grew up in a proud Italian household, so if you think it was easy for me to cut out pasta dinners, pizza, and all my other old favorite foods, you’re so wrong! It is still something I battle with mentally, so don’t tell me “It was easy for you.” I gave it all up for a healthier life and the peace of mind that my body is at its strongest for anything life throws at it. This was a choice I made, but it is a never-ending struggle.
Healthy Changes Begin At Home
Changing habits in my family was an important steppingstone in my health journey. I craved pasta and garlic bread, fried chicken, mozzarella… Once my parents (who I lived with at the time) began eating healthier too and stopped having these foods in the house, it became easier, for the same reason they tell you to throw out all the junk food in the house! Out of sight, out of mind. The hardest part now is when I go out, whether it’s a restaurant, a party, or my grandmother’s.
I know exactly what a craving is when I see one, and it feels just as challenging to overcome today as it was 5 years ago when I started this journey. The difference between my cravings and yours is that I refuse to feed that hunger. The cravings only get stronger the more you cave. When you choose the health and body you have wanted for a lifetime over the meal or snack you’ve been craving for 5-10-or-60 minutes, you are getting stronger. I won’t tell you it’s going to be easier every day, but take pride in conquering cravings. Be stronger that your cravings, and you won’t regret it. I’ve never once looked back and thought, “Man, life would be different if I had that slice of pizza at the party that one time.”
Think of sugar for what it truly is: a drug. It’s addictive, and that’s why when you give into your craving, you are more likely to overindulge. Sugars and fats may make you feel good in the moment, but I’m sure after you eat the 2 cookies per the serving size, you aren’t stopping there. By indulging in these foods, you stimulate the “feel-good” hormones in you, which trigger you to eat more because you’re “feeling good.”
If you have a lot of changes to make to your diet, I recommend weaning things out slowly. No one quits smoking cold turkey for a reason – the same reason that you will fail at cutting out all the crap in 1 night. Slowly take out new things every day and week until you are in a healthier place.
Get Enough Sleep
Similar to the “feel-good” juices that flow through you when you treat yourself, you’re going to experience all different emotions when you don’t sleep right. Lack of sleep can affect your hormones, and those hormones lead to an increased appetite.
Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink the right amount of water every day to avoid this confusion and overeating. I also enjoy drinking hot water when I know I’m not really hungry (say, I just ate an hour ago); I mix it with lemon or just make some black tea, and it helps to quench cravings!
Don’t Let Your Excuses Win
You can use these excuses, these crutches, to support your decision to keep making unhealthy choices, but it is up to you whether you are OK telling yourself lies like these. There is no reason, no matter who you are, that you can’t become a healthier person. Whether you think you can’t because you’re too overweight, too busy, or too stressed, or maybe you just think it’s just not in the cards for you, you are making that decision yourself. If you choose to believe these excuses, believe that you can’t take care of your health (the one body you have!), that’s on you. When you turn that mindset around and tell yourself you are stronger, you’ll see that was the only missing piece.
Disassociate with the excuses of your life, and every time you hear yourself saying one of these negative mantras, remind yourself instead that you are strong and can do anything you set your mind to, even saying no to all the bad food you’re craving.
What would you choose: the snack you’ve craved for 10-20 minutes, or the body you’ve craved for a lifetime?
Your body is a reflection of how you take care of your health and your self. It is up to you to make the change. No one is going to do it for you.
“Here’s the Deal With Your Junk Food Cravings” Cleveland Clinic Health. December 14, 2020.