Although we associate cravings with things we should not have that does not have to be the case. Changing habits can mean the end of craving the three things that humans have always craved because some of each of these is necessary for survival, fat sugar and salt. As detailed in other articles on this site, a little bit is necessary and more than a little bit is progressively worse. In fact these natural cravings and a willing food and beverage industry have helped 40% of adults in the US become obese whopping 71% of adults become overweight.
It always seems easier once the transition is complete, but I was one of those overweight people heading toward obesity. I found the things that worked well for me and knew that that would work for anyone. I shared them with others in my Facebook Group with great results and am now sharing them with as many people as possible. Serious weight loss is not easy, but easier than you think, not simple, but simpler than you think, and not effortless to adopt for life, but rewarding in innumerable ways when you do.
Some of the benefits myself and others have found are subtler than a simple weight on a scale, and requires some degree of self-awareness to fully appreciate. Some of these are:
“Do I have more energy today? “How am I feeling?” “Do my clothes fit differently?” “Am I still having hot flashes?” “Am I losing my belly?” “Are others noticing a difference?” “Am I getting hunger pangs around snack time? “If I drink water do my hunger pangs dissipate?” “Do I have the support I need to succeed?” “Am I willing to combine the Mediterranean Diet with Intermittent Fasting to accelerate results?” “Do I feel confident enough yet to dig out my old wardrobe?” “Do I have as much or any acid reflux?” “Is my blood pressure improving?” “Are my blood sugar levels improving?” “Are my cholesterol and triglycerides improving?”
Yes, all these and more are what we call non scale victories that are alternate measures of success. I find that people who focus solely on their weight loss often don’t realize the other benefits of this WOE and frequently give up too soon when they don’t see immediate results. The fact is unless you are combining with intermittent fasting it may take some time for your body to adapt to the Mediterranean Diet and for you to see progress reflected on the scale. Water and EVOO consumption and portion control have a lot do with how soon results show up, in the meantime focusing on the potential victories of other health gains will help you stay on track.
One more important question to ask is “Do I still crave foods and beverages that are not on the Mediterranean Diet?
Your body holds the memories of the past and all of us have likely used food or drink to make us feel better. Many of us are in stress some or all of the time, which means that our bodies will be asking us to comfort it with the foods and drinks that it is habituated to. Those are highly likely to have high fat, salt and sugar content and harmful to our bodies, causing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and related illnesses.
Given those facts there are two actions that we can take to effectively overcome this response. The first is to reduce or eliminate the stress that causes our bodies to react with fight or flight when we are not in physical danger. I assume that most of our modern day stress is not that we are feeling threatened physically. That is not the subject of this article but there are many programs, practices, and techniques that can be used to reduce stress, including breathing practice, prayer, meditation, physical release through yoga, and many more.
The second step we can take to overcome the cravings is to train our bodies differently. Whether you call this breaking habits, cutting something out, freeing yourself, or resetting we are substituting positive behaviors for the habits that made us sick, overweight, obese or worse. There are specific ways to do this and naturally it is going to be different for everyone but the key is to get started and stick to it.
I have gained a lot of insight from my Facebook Group, most of who are there on the recommendation of their doctor. That insight and many studies make it clear that people have always been swayed by advertising and promotions claiming quick fixes. If we know that 1) there are no quick fixes that are permanent, 2) yo-yo dieting is harmful and causes additional weight gain, and 3) it is the nature of science to rare agree on anything; then we can say with complete confidence that everyone struggling with weight loss and resulting health problems should adopt the Mediterranean Diet right now. Use the Get Started Guide and get started right now!
What happens when you successfully take the steps, break the habits and move toward better health? For me and many people in my group the cravings for excess amounts of fat, salt, and sugar goes away. Notice I said “excess” amounts, the body still needs these substances to thrive but the craving for these three things is greatly reduced. Good for you unsaturated fats that come from Extra Virgin Olive Oil and other essential ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet replace the craving for bad for you saturated fats.
Once they are eliminated or reduced the craving for salt and sugar disappear as well. Filling up on nutritious food quickly becomes the new habit that is in every way worth keeping forever. If you also cut out snacking you will soon realize that those foods that we eaten for comfort are not that appealing anymore and being mindful of the effort to stay healthy will keep you from eating the amounts that you had before. One of the first rules of the Mediterranean Diet is “don’t drink calories’ and by eliminating sweet drinks you are taking an important first step toward a healthier life.
What I have found helpful was following the steps to fully adopt the Mediterranean Diet then checking in or just asking myself questions like: Am I hungry? Would an apple satisfy me? Have I filled up on vegetables today? Have I eaten enough fruit today? Can I wait for my next meal? All the while there is positive feedback from my increased energy, weight loss, and improved health factors in addition to reduced spikes in blood sugar. To your Health!