Riding the crave wave – a mindful eating strategy

Riding the crave wave – a mindful eating strategy

Food cravings are tricky. Have you noticed that some just can’t be ignored? You know, when you crave something specific like a brownie, and you try to satisfy the craving with something else that’s a little healthier, let’s say yogurt or a granola bar because you are working so hard to stick to your goals. But then you still can’t stop thinking about that brownie. You might try several things to appease the desire, but nothing seems to work. Your craving remains and you finally give in.  In those cases, it’s just best to have that brownie in the first place instead of having several alternatives, only to eventually indulge in the brownie anyway. You end up eating more unnecessary calories when you try to ignore an intense craving like that.

But what about those less intense cravings?

Like those silly cookies in the breakroom that are only a distraction but look so tempting. If we gave into ALL our cravings ALL the time, we could be setting ourselves up for excessive weight gain or unbalanced eating, especially over the holiday season. Here is a technique called the CRAVE WAVE that can help you manage your urges.

Go through this exercise first and then decide if your craving needs to be satisfied or you can let it ride. 

  1. Acknowledge and name the craving: “Oooh chocolate…I definitely want that chocolate cake right now.”
  2. Visualize yourself riding the crave wave: Instead of letting the waves of the craving crash down on you and suck you in, picture yourself jumping on your surfboard, riding out the wave and safely coming back to shore. It might sound cheesy, but this imagery is a powerful thing.
  3. Refocus your attention: Walk away from the food, busy your hands, write down your current thoughts, slowly take five deep breaths or any other activity that can redirect your attention. Congrats. You just rode the crave wave!

If you need some more guidance on dealing with your cravings, let us know!

Wellness Resources to get you through COVID-19

Wellness Resources to get you through COVID-19

Who would have thought we’d be here? Suffering as a nation. Hunkering down for the safety of one another. Trying to stay connected while social distancing. Working, teaching, and schooling from home.  Praying for the essential workers who are on the front lines and keeping the world going to the best of their ability.

During this crazy time, Well Balanced Nutrition is here to support healthy habits, provide clarity around food choices, and help you overcome stress eating. We know that change is tough. Adjusting to your new normal at home may be challenging. That’s why we are here to support our communities in Durham and Clemmons, North Carolina. We have the wellness tools and strategies that will help bring a bit of balance back to your life, help you feel comfortable and in control around food, and manage the stress and anxiety that this situation brings.

How can I keep my food safe during COVID19?

The Nutrition Source from Harvard Health has the low down on food safety. This article provides the answers to your questions including how long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Food safety, nutrition, and wellness during COVID-19 | The Nutrition Source

Try These Strategies for Managing Emotional Eating

We asked and we heard you say that being so close to your kitchen all day long is hard. The fun snacks are calling your name and the stress can lead you down a slippery slope of emotional eating. Here are some strategies you will find helpful as you try to manage those urges. Remember to be kind to yourself! We are all human and Well Balanced eating is not fail-proof. (Start here. If you are new to Well Balanced Nutrition or just need a refresher, start here with What the Heck is Well Balanced eating?)

Keep Moving to Manage Stress

If you need a reminder of why it is so important to keep moving and stay active at home, remember that walking can:

  • Be an effective antidepressant in mild to moderate cases of depression
  • Protect an aging brain against memory loss and dementia
  • Support Vitamin D levels
  • Boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to the brain

And that’s just to name a few reasons why walking is like a miracle drug.

Also, check out these online workouts: Gym closed? Here are some free or discounted workouts to do at home

Manage All The Feels with Meditation

Meditation is a great way to feel all the feels, release some of the anxiety and find your center again. Several companies have shared free resources to help you continue or start a mindfulness and meditation practice during COVID.

Boost Immunity with Fruits and Vegetables

Running out of fresh Fruits and Veggies? How do you maintain a colorful diet full of produce when you are trying to avoid multiple trips to the store? One solution is to have your produce delivered! Below are several options or you may have a local farm near you that has a delivery box.

When you use up your fresh produce, don’t feel bad about eating frozen and canned produce. Both are healthy options. Read why below…

If you buy more fresh produce (and other food items) than you can eat, make them last by sticking them in the freezer. Here is a resource to help you know what foods you can freeze and how.

Keep Meals Interesting

Working with an extra tight budget now? Check out Struggle Meals. You’ll find super budget-friendly dishes in these free cooking episodes. Not too mention, he is so fun to watch!!

What are some healthy pantry foods?

Check out our healthy pantry staple checklist HERE.

Here are 4 more resources to help you cook from pantry staples.

How can I stay/be healthy through COVID-19?

Still feeling overwhelmed? We understand. This is hard. If what you really need is someone to walk you through these wellness strategies and take it one baby step at a time, we can help you feel more Well Balanced and supported through our virtual nutrition coaching services. Reach out today for an appointment.

What happens when willpower runs low? And how to overcome!

What happens when willpower runs low? And how to overcome!

Before going out to for Italian food with friends, Lisa thought she would order the baked chicken parmesan with a salad. Once at the restaurant, hungry and exhausted from an overwhelming workweek, she ordered the ooey gooey cheesy lasagna and ate it all. Then, Lisa woke up the next morning two pounds heavier and feeling shame and guilt wash over her. If you found yourself relying on willpower to make your healthy food choices you may have had a similar experience. This often comes from a diet mentality. It’s the thought pattern ‘as long as I can be good I will be able to [fill in the blank],’ that leads us to drain the willpower tank because we overthink every decision and default into old habits.

At the beginning of each day, most of us wake up feeling confident and determined “today’s the day, I’m going to be healthy!” As we go throughout the day making thousands of decisions and using our mental and physical energy, our tank may get depleted. That is when you find yourself craving something crunchy, salty or sweet around 3 PM (or if you’re like me it’s at 9 PM). Either way, we know willpower is not the solution to living a healthy Well-Balanced life.

3 steps to keep your willpower tank full  

  1.   Notice when you’re relying on willpower. Recognize that little voice in your head saying; no, I won’t eat the free bagels in the break room today. Yep, that is good old willpower going to work for you. There is some evidence that states, I won’t statements deplete our willpower more rapidly. First, notice when you are denying yourself something that your brain is craving. Kristen describes it as riding the crave wave. It is okay because most cravings pass.
  2.   Replace ‘I won’t’ with ‘I want.’ Once you’ve noticed the I won’t, you can start to change your thoughts to include ‘I want [something better that will help me reach my goals].’ For instance, if your brain saying I won’t eat the leftover cake that someone brought to work, instead, I want my delicious egg muffins and fruit smoothie, because it gives me the energy I need to do my job. Or simply I want to eat Well-Balanced and I know those donuts will just lead me to a sugar crash and make me feel awful later.
  3.   Create a new normal – aka automation. Research claims up to 95% of all we do is subconscious. Think about the last time you took a shower. Did you stop and think ‘Now I pour the soap. Now I wash my hair. Now I shave my legs…’ Unlikely! It just happens, right? Same goes for food. Our brains are designed to keep us alive, not help us reach our ultimate health and well-being. When the brain senses energy-dense foods, like cheese and French fries, it sends signals to keep eating in case you experience scarcity or famine. Setting up healthier habits, such as packing a sandwich with baby carrots and an orange for lunch instead of relying on whatever you can find near the office will eliminate the task of making another decision.

Food for thought:

Is a diet mentality holding you back? It is common – even socially acceptable and encouraged – to reward ourselves with a special treat. This behavior pattern may have started in childhood when our well-meaning teachers or caretakers would supply candy or snack foods for good behavior. On the road to Well Balanced, there is an important step in recognizing what habits are holding us back. We invite you to take the Diet Mentality Assessment to pinpoint where your downfalls might be sabotaging your health, weight, and wellness goals.