Everyone has their demons at which they battle with each and everyday, some maybe t.v addiction, social media adiction, work, depression and self-esteem, or even food. Demons here are things that have successfully succeeded in turning you into a passenger of your own life, constantly at the mercy at whatever the demon wants; its cravings. Although, just like everyone else on earth I do have more than one demon at which I battle with, this is what humanised my stay on earth. However among those demons constantly chasing me, trying to get a hold of me and bend me to its will is food, which sadly enough is a demon all too many people on earth are hunted by. Some people who may be reading this may be hoping to find some quick fix to their problems or even discover some magical pill that will control their cravings, sadly enough however this is not so. And for the area of taking a pill to solve the problem just like what most people do with every other discomfort, I do not recommend it. Why don’t I ?, the idea of this article is to help you achieve sober control of your life and also create a stronger will power that will help you stand strong long-term. I don’t know about other people but when eating a certain food has become more of a habit and impulse, you are going to eat that food whenever you find it, regardless of if you are hungry or had taken a cravings suppressant!.
A lot of people’s cravings are more psychological than biological, and this is the issue I will address in this article because here, I will be speaking from experience. As an AnT, it is unacceptable to be brought under the mercy of self, you were created to be much more than that, much stronger than that!. And if I be honest with you, the journey of mastering ones self, is not a journey that can be accomplished by just one persons’ braw. If you try to do it alone, you would most likely fail. However with the help of God and the right resources you will be well on your way to making lasting life changes.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
Although I was lucky enough to not have a dramatizing events that prompted into drastically changing my food choices, like a disease. The thought that I had cancer, breast cancer however, was all I needed to scare me into making a change!. Human beings a indeed peculiar species, for they would never or hardly ever take a proactive measure to solving or addressing a problem, even when they know the consequences of it until they are directly knocking at their door like a mad man, or have dragged them down an alley and beaten them up to stupor!.However, I decided that before my fears wittingly decided to take up a flesh of its own, I knew I need to find ways to tackle potential treats, before they bring the fight to my door step.
TACKLING FROM WITHIN; the psychological
I hate drugs, the taste of it. the smell of it, I hate needles too. I remember days when I would be sick, between the ages 5 to 7 and was about to get a shot. Even though I would be ridiculously weak and unable to move a finger, immediately I spot a syringe a unknown burst of energy would suddenly fall upon me and I would jolt out of bed and run as far way from the room as possible!. Although it wasn’t funny to me then, but when I think about it now, how I would then have bunch of doctors and my brothers chasing after me, unable to catch up with a sick girl who couldn’t move a thing only a couple of seconds ago is just comical. Ironically as soon as I was caught, my body quickly remembers, “oh, so we were playing the sick card?, okay guys back to work!”.
This epic story only serves to prove how powerful the mind can be, especially when it comes to pain and pleasure. My mind as a kid had associated so much pain to receiving a shot, that it temporarily, literally forgot about the pain it was already experiencing. Everything a man does in life circles around avoiding pain, and gaining pleasure. But the funny thing about the concept of pain and pleasure is that it is not fixed, it’s entirely psychological, therefore it can vary from person to person. One man may derive so much pleasure from eating celery and working out one hour or even more, while for someone else, all too many of us. Pleasure is sitting on our butt for hours watching T.V. The first step to overcoming any cravings at all is to change what you link pain and pleasure to. Since your body is biologically programmed to avoid pain at all cost, if you associate too much pain in eating vegetables and pleasure in eating chips, you are never going to transition long-term to the veggie eater.
“How did you tackle what you linked pain and pleasure to?” someone may ask. Although people and their responses to life different, one thing that still stands however in discovering what really is it that you associate to pain or pleasure. By knowing what your body defines and associate as pleasure or otherwise, will allow YOU make informed adjustments were needed. However this can only come through self-awareness.
BEING SELF AWARE
No one can create health or healthy habits for you, no one can really give you the exact formula for clean eating or a healthy diet or weight loss program. Why?, because human beings are just too distinct, too different that science itself cannot fully arrive at a consensus of what is good or bad for the population. ONE MAN’S FOOD IS ANOTHER MAN’S POISON. A lot of diet gurus, weight loss companies, or fitness experts may sound the message that they have “found” the answer. But how many people also before and with them, had said the same thing. Who are we going to believe, whom are we going to follow, who has the “truth”?, how did eating get so complicated?. The only person who could truly help you answer your questions are you and no one else, we could only guide or give you ideas, but we can never tell you the answer. Only you can, for it is your body and only you live in it, therefore it is your job to know it more than anyone.
The first step I took to my body’s response to food and what causes me to eat what I didn’t want to, was by finding out what created such cravings and what situation made me make bad choices for me. Then I started cutting and trimming until I was able to come up with a diet and health handbook for myself. surprising I ended up with a lacto ovo vegetarian diet style which my body had chosen to be most suitable.
STEP ONE: FINDING WHAT FOOD CAUSED CRAVINGS
I found out that what caused me to crave where primarily two things;
- An unbalanced diet high in starch and carbs, and eating foods already high in processed sugars. The more I ate cookies, rice, pastas and sweets, the more I craved it. However when I ate foods with natural sugars, unprocessed; dates, sugar cane, oranges and the likes, in its most natural form, the less I wanted the processed ones. In fact, over time processed sugar or processed fruit juices and the likes, started tasting weird. That rights, I now longer, or hardly ever eat any processed foods or even instants. I make my own fruit juice, make my own soy milk, my own tiger nut milk, I bake my own bread, even more recently, make my own yoghurt. All just the way I like it. As for foods like rice and pastas. I found out that mixing them with my favourite vegetables, and using them sparingly, almost like a condiment in my dishes, the less I crave them. The veggies in my plate over time, over powered the starch and high carbs in my diet. Maybe it’s because they are more whole, stable, and nutrients packed!
- I learnt that having to decide on what I was going to eat next when I was hungry, almost, always made me reach out for the junks. To curb that, I decided my next meal only when I was full, and my body was sane and not craving stuffs.
- I engaged in intermittent fasting. This drastically shut down most of my food cravings by half. There was a time ( not too long ago), I had intermittent fast; 20 hour fasting period, with a 4 hour eating window. I had then crowned the week with a 24 hour fast ( I know this sounds outrageous, but don’t worry I have an up coming article explaining the ridiculous health benefits of this and why you should also consider doing this). There was a particular biscuit I loved to eat, Hobnobbs rolled oats biscuits. Each piece was about 54 calories,, but I would eat a heck a lot of it that by the end of the day, I would have eaten 500 to 600 calories of it!. and it wasn’t even satisfying. Anyway, after the fast I tried the same biscuit and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. I remember looking at the biscuit, then the pack to see it nutritional content, and saying “this isn’t worth it”, and that was the end.
One app that had drastically influenced my eating decision and pattern is, CRONOMETRE. I get to enter in whatever I had eaten into my food diary, and know exactly what it is I’m eating. Cronometre helped me break my love of meat, it was practically what had influenced me to turn vegetarian in the first place!. The last time I ate chicken and had recorded it into my food diary was the day I stopped eating meat. Now I know a lot of people turn vegan for selfless reason like the planet, and love of animals , and other stuffs. But I’M SELFISH!, the only reason I quite meat was that I realised it was high in calories and low in nutritional content per calorie as compared to other plant-based alternatives like soy and soy products!. I look forward to every meal because I’m excited about what I’m going to see in my charts. I look at the vitamins, minerals and the likes which I had taken in through my food, then find myself brain storming on how I could raise my Iron or omega 3 intake, coming up with new recipes, and getting excited if I had reach my daily nutritional goal through eating.
Without even thinking much I had made eating healthy fun and pleasurable for myself, it’s almost like a game to me. Now I pick foods to feed myself based on what my body would be getting in the form of nutrients, than what my taste buds or sleek advertisements says I should be eating. Over time my cravings adjusted and now I crave my dates or oranges, even pineapples when I have a sweat tooth, soy milk, tiger nut milk, or low sugar yoghurt if I want something down to earth. I get excited everyday for my questions daily is what can I eat that will best feed me, other than just mindlessly eating hands to mouth whatever is in sight.