THE FIX FOR CRAVINGS! Dr. Jade Teta and Dr. Keoni Teta have released a great book, Lose Weight Now! I’ve listed their recommended steps to hack a habit you are trying to change. These steps helped me curb my late night TV watching which created one too many glasses of wine! Be sure to watch my video where I give you the play by play for each of these steps!
Step 1: Pay Attention: Start noticing your cravings and paying very close attention to the environmental reminders that trigger them. Some of these are returning home from work, turning on the TV, sitting down at a restaurant, going out on a weekend night with friends, smelling doughnuts, seeing a friend eating a biscuit, having an emotional day at work or a poor night’s sleep, and so on.
Step 2: Hack & Reward: Once you recognize the habit and the craving it creates, try to pinpoint the reward you are really after. Once you do, find a way to eliminate the trigger and/or change the routine so that the reward is the same but the craving that leads to it is different. Here is an example: Let’s say you return home from work and you feel that combination of expectation, desire, and anxiety that tells you a craving has just been triggered. Now, identify the real reward that you are after. Is it relaxation? If so, instead of pouring a glass of wine and eating a wheel of cheese and a box of crackers (which in the end is anything but relaxing), draw a hot bath, light some candles, and take 30 minutes away from the world. Practice this new routine over and over until a new craving develops.
Step 3: Make a Swap: There are several natural compounds that can be taken prior to getting cravings or even when cravings hit to stop them in their tracks. Cocoa powder (1 tablespoon in water) Branched-chain amino acids (5 to 10 grams).
Step 4: Assess: Cravings can be used as a biofeedback tool and are useful in helping you understand how your metabolism is functioning. Low blood sugar, too much or not enough exercise, missing meals or eating too frequently, sleep deprivation, and other lifestyle factors can impact cravings.
Always check in and ask yourself how your cravings have been. We have our patients assess their cravings, along with their hunger and energy, on a 1-to-10 scale (with 10 being strongest or highest). Obviously, you want the intensity of cravings to remain low, preferably less than 5. If this is not the case, then it is an indication that the diet and exercise regimen you’re on is not sustainable. Understanding this allows you to manipulate several factors to correct it and turn short-term weight loss into long-term fat loss.
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