Manage your cravings with these 10 tips

The holidays are usually a time when cravings are intense! It can be quite stressful, when you’re trying to keep a healthy eating regimen. Old habits come back running, and temptation is strong!

Don’t fret, I’ve put together some of my 10 best tips to help you enjoy the holidays while staying on track with your healthy eating habits.

# 1: Visualize your success.

Visualization is a powerful tool used by many inspirational leaders, and accomplished athletes. “First we visualize what we want, and then we achieve it,” says author and motivational speaker Mark Victor Hansen, author of the Chicken Soup series. So see yourself eating healthy and making healthy choices. See yourself handling comments about the way you eat with compassion and determination (people only criticize when they feel threatened consciously or unconsciously). Finally see yourself free of cravings and unwholesome habits.

# 2: Create a powerful sankalpa.

The word sankalpa in Sanskrit means a powerful resolve. I’ve used this technique for everything I’ve either wanted to accomplish or be free of! When temptation strikes, or even upon waking up in the morning and before going to bed at night, silently repeat a meaningful sankalpa. Try, “I’m in control of what I eat” or “I only eat foods that make me feel good.” Phrase your sankalpa positively and clearly and repeat it 3 times mentally with conviction and sincerity. Make sure you don’t use words like “cravings” and “not”!

# 3: Think fulfillment not deprivation.

Dwell on what you gain, not on what you think you’re losing. Approach your new, healthy way of nourishing yourself with a positive attitude. It’s vital to shift your mindset. Cravings are not bad! My yoga teacher, Unmani, used to say, “your consciousness will never go beyond your comfort zone”; your comfort zone is your belief, your conditioning. Powerful words! So if your belief is that you’re depriving yourself, that’s what you’ll experience. But if you change that belief (“beliefs are not the truth, they’re just thresholds” – another saying from Unmani), you’re gifting yourself long term health and well-being.

# 4: View challenges as opportunities

This also requires a mindset shift which will take you out of resistance mode into an open mode. “What you resist persists, embrace it and it will dissolve,” said Carl Jung. Stop resisting the challenges; welcome them and embrace them as an opportunity to become more determined, to experience courage from within.

# 5: Rest and relax

We have a tendency to eat less, when we’re relaxed, happy and feeling secure. So take time to de-stress and incorporate some self-care practices. Latham Thomas wrote a beautiful book Own Your Glow, a Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within, I highly recommend it!

# 6: Practice Mindful awareness and discrimination

When you find yourself wanting a second piece of…  or glass of… (you fill in the blank) ask yourself: WHAT -What do you really want?, WHY– Are you hungry, thirsty, cranky, tired?, and HOW– How will I feel afterwards?

# 7: Practice the 6 Ds: Delay, Distance, Distract, Decode, Decide and Delight

The first step is to acknowledge your craving, then let the 6 Ds come to the rescue! Delay: Drink a glass of water and delay for 15 minutes, then delay for 30 minutes. Chances are the craving will pass. Distance: Step away from the cookie jar! Distract: Do something else, strike a conversation with a guest, dance, go in the backyard and watch the sky. Decode: Determine the WHAT, WHY and HOW. Decide: You always have a choice even when you think you don’t. Decide to respect your body, and your goals. Delight: that you said no. Relish in the joy, relief and pride of overcoming unwholesome habits and conditioning. Unfortunately, I can’t remember who came up with this one! But I’m very grateful!

# 8: Don’t skip meals

I know some of you are thinking that if you skip a meal, you’ll be able to eat more at the next meal. I’ve got some news for you, your stomach is the same size whether you have lunch before or not. Your hunger will be stronger and you’ll overeat! Stop skipping meals and you’ll be less likely to binge or overeat. 

# 9: Bring a dish

That’s something I’ve been doing. There’s at least one dish I can bring! And sometimes, it ends up being everybody’s favorite!

# 10: Be gentle with yourself

No matter what happens, be kind to yourself, and try these health-enhancing-resolution-building tactics: 1) Accept that you’re wonderfully imperfect and human 2) Use your lapses to reaffirm your commitment to eating healthy 3) Honor and respect yourself and your challenges as these are parts of the human experience.


Note: The beautiful ornaments on the featured picture were hand-made by the very talented Marene Downs. You can check her art here. You can also reach her on her FB page: