It doesn't matter what type of plan you are following and it's irrelevant how long you have been involved in health and fitness. Everyone at one point or another has had that dreaded moment when temptation is staring you right in the face and you start craving every horrible food imaginable. For some it is McDonalds, for others it is Pizza Hut or Dominos. It can be a variety of things that makes sticking to your diet seem a thousand times stronger.
The first thing you need to know is that it is perfectly normal to be craving whatever food it is that you want. The second thing you need to know is that there are ways to overcome these temptations and stay on track. But how?
Fortunately, bodybuilding.com is here to help. We are going to cover eight ways to help you avoid giving in to temptation and keeping you on that righteous path to your ultimate bodybuilding and fitness destiny.
1. Don't Tell Yourself That You Can't Eat Something
This is the absolute last thing you want to do. The moment you say "I can never eat this again", it is the first thing you want. You can tell yourself that McDonalds is no longer a choice and you will want a Happy Meal. You haven't wanted a Happy Meal since you were six years old. As a matter of fact, the word 'can't' is the biggest problem here. Can't is just a word that no one likes to hear. If you absolutely feel the need to make a statement like this, say that you WON'T eat the bad foods while you are working towards your goals. The word won't is more appealing to the mind than can't because you saying you will not do something is a choice while telling yourself you can't means you are not allowed and that can be more negative. It is the best option to just stay away from statements like this.
2. Go For A Short Cardio Session When You Think You Will Give In
The best way to avoid temptation is to be nowhere near it. That is why if you feel you are about to give in and cheat, you should go for a fifteen or twenty minute walk or jog. Doing cardio will take your focus onto the task at hand and off of whatever it is you are wanting to eat. The fact that you are doing something to actually help you achieve your goal and not something to hold you back is very motivating and reinforces that you are on a mission and that you WILL accomplish it no matter what.
3. Stay Hydrated
Yes, you know water makes you less thirsty. You are probably asking yourself how water makes you less hungry. Let me explain. Studies have shown that when people are craving sweets or unhealthy foods, it could be a sign of dehydration. Sipping on a glass of ice water could help prevent you from wanting that temptation anymore. You should be drinking a gallon of water a day anyway, so this will help you get that gallon in. Like the cardio, drinking water is also a positive way to reinforce that you are working toward your goals and not giving in to something that will make your journey longer and harder.
4. Write Down Healthy Foods To Eat That Are Cheaper Than The Bad Food
One of the sure fire ways to keep anyone inspired to do something is to show that person that there is a financial reward for either doing or not doing something. I know this has helped a lot of people that I have trained and I am sure it will help you too. Name your favorite treat. Let's say a Big Mac. Depending on where you live, a Big Mac costs anywhere from $3.00 to about $4.25. Let's also say you ate two a week. That is $6-8.50 a week. That could be a range of $24-$34 a month. Let's say you replace the Big Mac's with a can of tuna. A can of tuna costs on average about 75 cents. That is about $6 a month. That means you could save anywhere from $18 to as much as $28 a month. Nowadays, that money could go a long way. Avoiding temptation can both help you get leaner and your wallet get thicker.
5. Get Support From Family Or Training Partner
Another motivation strategy is having a help line in a sense. When you think you are about to give in, talk to a loved one or call your training partner. Sometimes hearing a familiar voice reminding you why you are doing this and why you shouldn't give in to that craving is reassuring and can reinvigorate you. There is no shame in saying that you need help. It is a sign that you are committed to the cause and are willing to do what is necessary to get there.
Click To Enlarge.
When You Think You Are About To Give In, Talk
To A Loved One Or Call Your Training Partner.
6. Ask Yourself One Question...
"Which is more satisfying; the taste of that food or the taste of success?"
This is basically the confrontation method. This is when you just straight up tell yourself that you are not giving in. You think about your choices. You can enjoy the satisfaction of eating that cake or pizza and enjoy it for a little while and then regret it later. Or you can do what a champion does which is remind yourself that you are going to do what you say you are going to do and know that the satisfaction of knowing that you finished what you started is much greater than the food you passed up. To me that seems like an easy decision.
7. Make The Craving The Reward For Not Giving In
You can make the craving work in your favor. This is the technique that has saved a lot of people from giving in at the wrong time and is sure to help you as well. Let's go back to the Big Mac example. You are craving it but you know you shouldn't because of your fitness commitment. At this point, you can tell yourself that if you hold out until you meet your goals, then you can have the sandwich as a reward. You are not telling yourself you can't have it and you are also giving yourself another incentive to stay on task.
When you think about eating something unhealthy, go to a quiet room where you can sit and relax. Turn off all the lights and close your eyes for a few minutes. During this period, think about yourself in your peak condition. You are muscular and ripped. You are in the gym and you like what you see. You are strong and healthy. Seeing this makes you glad you stuck to your guns and didn't cheat. Having these images in your mind instead of the craving will make you want to work toward reaching your goal and the temptation should subside.
Click To Enlarge.
When You Think About Eating Something Unhealthy, Go
To A Quiet Room Where You Can Sit And Relax.
If You Happen To Cheat
Regardless of how hard we try to stick it out, the fact is no one is perfect and there is a chance that you give in. The last thing you want to do if this is the case is beat yourself up. Getting down on yourself is only going to make it worse and you might be led to temptation again. If you do happen to cheat, then do yourself two favors to ensure that this incident is an isolated one. First thing is make sure you don't binge. Have enough to satisfy the craving and that is it. Once you feel you are satiated, get rid of the rest and move on. The second thing you do is tell yourself that from this moment on, you are going to stay on task and not fail again. The faster you get back on track, the better off you will be.
Implementing any or all of these strategies will help you fight off the temptations that seem to be all around you and keep you focused on what is truly important to you. No one said that this was going to be easy, but that is what makes it so rewarding when you achieve your goals.