Today’s Tip:
Don’t ignore cravings, anticipate them! The more aware you are, the more equipped you are to make a good choice

“Deprivation Roads Leads to Binge City”–@hilaryglaus

I came up with this metaphor because it illustrates what happens when we ignore cravings and white-knuckle our way through a strict diet, only to end up binging when our willpower inevitably runs out. We can only rely on pure force of will for a finite period before everything starts to look like a cupcake! You know the saying “When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail?” If you’re hungry and deprived and irritable, everything–whether you even like the food or not!!–starts to look like the most delicious thing in the world on account of the fact that it’s “off limits.” When literally everything starts to look appetizing, how can we expect ourselves not to give in? And when we do, what happens? We feel like a failure, and blame ourselves for our lack of willpower. In such a defeated state, we’re more likely to turn to food or some other counterproductive behavior that resets the cycle anew. 
So my fourth strategy to help you avoid weight gain this holiday season and beyond is to anticipate cravings. Yes, that’s right; don’t presume when you’re feeling super-motivated that it’s not necessary to establish an action plan. Cravings are a biochemical reality which can’t be ignored (not for that long, anyway!), but can be managed effectively so that you’re not tempted to throw the baby out with the bath water! 

The best place to start is by playing “diet detective” to determine what foods, consumed in small amounts throughout the day, will help you feel satisfied and less likely to binge. Some examples are bacon and other breakfast meats; heavy cream for coffee; cheese; avocado; charcuterie; olive oil; protein bars, etc. When you’re sated, it’s also less likely that you’ll experience strong cravings. I’ve blogged before about the 80/20 Rule and how eating 80% of your daily calories from protein, vegetables, and high-fiber sources sets you up for success. It allows you some wiggle room for when it comes to that remaining 20%. Think about it: what are a chocolate bar, a couple cookies, or a slice of cake when measured up against that 80%?! It seems pretty insignificant when you look at it objectively, doesn’t it?! This strategy is effective when it’s utilized to reexamine how we perceive the way that we eat: when we chose to look at our nutrition from an objective standpoint, we tend to see that what we criticize ourselves for is really only a small drop in the larger bucket of learning to eat in a sustainable way for life.
My 5 Most-Effective Ways to Avoid Weight Gain this Holiday Season…and Beyond: Tip #4

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