“How do you deal with cravings?” “You are so disciplined you never give in to the bad stuff… I can’t do that!!” “Aren’t you ever BAD?”

Two words… whipped cream, but we will get to that.

Cravings and how to deal with them, a very popular question in my inbox this month. For most of you, you are new to the journey and so the cravings are hitting you hard, but I’ve even had people on this journey with me for a long time wondering what to do when that little voice inside screams for the chocolate cake.

Cravings are normal, they are life. If they didn’t exist I think the world would be skinny. I used to think of cravings as a sign of weakness… my poor willpower can’t live without pizza, what is wrong with me??

But after going through this journey and learning so much about my body I now look at cravings differently. I take them as a sign that my body needs something and is steering me toward what it needs.

Wait so my body needs a chocolate chip cookie?? No. But your body may need a little more carbs and so it sending up the sugar signal.

Now I’m not going to lie….at the beginning of your journey you do need to be very disciplined about your cravings. You can’t give in as much as us veterans.

This is because you are detoxing off sugar and so your body is being as rational as a 3 year old with no nap. You can’t trust your body yet as it is the sugar talking. So a craving might not be a legitimate need yet. Plus you may not be strong enough yet to get back on the wagon after you give in. So be very diligent with the “sugar detox” cravings.

Do me a favor sometime and research sugar. It is so much more addicting than cocaine and so when you give it up your body initially is going to fight you back. So each time a craving hits you can’t roll over and give in. So yes for awhile it is going to be hard but you can’t listen to every craving.

But don’t ignore your cravings completely and be all bad ass with yourself. That will have you quitting before you start. Remember small changes are the key. You can’t go from eating ice cream everyday to never looking at ice cream again. You have to step away slowly.

So for the first like 50 pounds of my loss, the “I can’t give in to everything” stage, I spent my time analyzing my cravings and learning to improvise.

You all know how I love to talk to myself… so my life back then was like this…

Body: Ooh let’s eat cupcakes. I miss cupcakes. Can we please have just one cupcake.

Mind: are you serious? Cupcakes after we just walked 4 miles?

Body: Fine I’m just going to keep saying cupcake in your ear until you eat it… if you want to play it that way.

Mind: Okay so you want cupcakes… that must mean you want something sweet. What tastes like a cupcake that won’t make me hate myself?? Ooh I just saw a birthday cake protein bar the other day. Let’s try that.

So I started a balancing act with each craving. My biggest craving was always pizza. So when I wanted pizza I had it, I just ordered thin with no sauce and made sure I ordered a small so I didn’t eat the whole large. When I had a sweet tooth I bought strawberries and cottage cheese and sprinkled them heavy with Truvia. Chocolate cravings were quieted by a nightly chocolate muscle milk.

By doing this my body and mind started to work together to solve cravings. They became a pretty good team and they remain that way today.

Now that I am detoxed off sugar I don’t get cravings nearly as often but I still get them. Now When I do, I allow myself to give in every now and then simply because I know I’ll get back on track. I trust myself now and the team I have formed inside.

Here’s what I have learned about cravings:

You have to give in somewhat otherwise you won’t be able to maintain. So if you are craving cake every night you better start googling low carb cake recipes and getting really good at low carb baking!! But if you are craving cake every few months then girl just have a piece of sugary cake and move on. Don’t dwell on it.

Now for those of you who think I’m super disciplined… a warrior against all cravings… ask my kids about Mom and her whipped cream.

So I’m a notorious stress eater. That’s my challenge and always has been. So by the end of a crazy day my body and mind are exhausted and spent with everything on my plate. So in the evenings my body starts craving something sinful (especially on a really stressful day).

“Please Mandi give me sugar!!! I worked hard all day I need something!!”

I now listen to my body knowing that I tend to have more of a sweet tooth on days I haven’t really had many carbs. It’s simply my body seeking a nutrient it would just like more of. It does so good during the day it just wants something imperfect at the end of the day.

So several nights a week I eat an Oikos triple zero yogurt (salted caramel is my favorite). What’s sinful about that?? Nothing I know. You are probably thinking… if that’s her sin I hate her because that’s nothing!!!

But hold on…

It’s not the yogurt that is the bulk of my dessert. I top it with a huge pile of Redi Whip (which has less than 1 carb per tablespoon). When I say huge I mean I could get a job at Dairy Queen with this cone of cream that I do. But then… After I eat the yogurt and cream… I go back to the fridge and fill the empty cup with even MORE whipped cream. Seriously I probably have about 10 carbs of whipped cream alone making my dessert have more carbs that some of my meals…. but you know what?? That’s okay!! I’m giving into my body’s sweet tooth craving yet it’s not so bad that I hate myself. My body feels like a kid that just got away with something and my mind is happy because it’s not a huge amount of carbs.

So I proudly top that whipped cream because giving into a huge pile of whipped cream stops me from giving into my old late night snack of a huge pile of chips topped with basically a whole bag of cheese or a container of Oreos.

So next time your body sends up the smoke signals for cravings know that it’s okay to give in. It’s not the end of the world… in fact it’s helping you learn how to live like this.

Try to modify cravings if you can and appease your body as healthy as you can… but give in if you can’t modify… It’s okay. I’ve lost my weight and maintained it with whipped cream, pizza nights, nights of drinking with friends, chocolate cake parties. This is about real life not some picture perfect diet commercial.

It truly is about balance… about being real… and the more realistic you are with yourself the easier it is to maintain!

But let’s get this straight right now… if you all go buy out all the salted caramel Oikos and whipped cream in the Quad Cities… we’re going to definitely have words!! Ha!

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