When you're trying to watch what you eat, cravings can be seen as the enemy. There's nothing worse than finding yourself obsessively thinking about a chocolate bar or a bag of salty chips when you are trying to stick to a healthy diet. It's important to realize that ignoring your cravings or denying yourself the foods you desire can be counterproductive to your long term weight loss efforts. As a matter of fact, ignoring your cravings can come back to hurt you. Here are the reasons why you should not deny yourself that special treat you crave on a regular basis.
1. Denying Yourself Only Works for So Long
It's one thing to cut out foods like ice cream or cheese for a week or two, but completely removing your favorite treats from your diet is never a good thing. Sure, you can learn to live without that nightly bowl of ice cream or your favorite chips from the vending machine, but that doesn't mean you can't treat yourself once a week. If you constantly deny yourself the foods you truly want to eat for too long, eventually you'll reach a breaking point. It could--and mostly likely will--lead to overeating when you've finally had enough of your rigid food rules. It's better to give in every now and then. If you find yourself craving a chocolate bar one afternoon, let yourself eat it! As long as you remain in control of your cravings, enjoying your favorite foods isn't an issue.
2. It's Easier to Diet When You're Happy
We find pleasure in eating our favorite foods. They taste good and have the power to make us feel better when we enjoy them. It's no secret that food makes us happy. Constantly denying yourself your favorite treats, or ignoring the cravings can only lead to frustration and annoyance. You're better off going ahead and giving into your cravings every now and again unless, of course, you want to be stressed all of the time. It's easier to stay motivated with your healthy eating habits when you give yourself a little bit of wiggle room. If chocolate is your favorite treat, by all means allow yourself to enjoy a piece when you're really craving it. A life completely void of your favorite foods does not equal happiness.
3. Giving Into Your Cravings Reinforces Your Healthy Habits
By giving into your cravings from time to time, you're rewarding yourself for your otherwise healthy eating habits. Treats are good for the psyche. Enjoying that piece of cake after dinner may be the motivation you need to get through the next two days of calorie counting. When you don't feel like you're denying yourself, you're more motivated to continue with your healthy diet.
The important thing to remember is that we're all human. Cravings are natural. As long as you aren't giving into multiple cravings on the same day (like french toast in the morning and a milk shake with lunch), you have nothing to worry about.