In the pre-covid world, when I used to commute to work, it was nothing short of enlightening to observe how many people we’re passionately downing potato chips or candy on public transport. This happened mostly in the afternoon on their way to what I can only assume was their home.
By downing, I don’t mean having a treat or two or even three. But clearly fisting their hand into a bag of crisps and candy. With the clear objective of elevating blood sugars and erasing the burning hunger.
People get hungry after a long day. I get it.
And undoubtedly there’s some stress releasing emotional eating in play for some. And sometimes you just need to eat something right now. And sometimes it’s nice to have a treat because why not. And I also understand that you now see me as a judgemental creep for checking people’s eating habits on the train.
Oh well. In my defence, it’s less about judging and more about observing how people behave. In case that changes anything for you.
Regardless, the quantities of treats easily fly off the handle when we treat treats like meals. If each time we’re feeling all Starving’ Marvin, we reach out for a pack of crisps or candy to eliminate that hunger, it’s no wonder our collective health is declining.
I mean, it’s not an accident.
But, there’s a relatively simple solution to reducing cravings.
Well, simple, at least on the paper.
It starts by eating a big breakfast and lunch that helps you stay full for the day. I know what you’re thinking now. “I am already eating big meals.” But I want it to be even bigger than what you’re imagining right at this very moment.
Breakfast – If you’re even moderately active, aim no lower than 400 calories. But honestly, 500-600 is better for most. Depending on your size and activity levels, you could go up to 800-900 calories.
If you work a demanding manual labour job (which you don’t. Me neither) you’d be looking for four digits for breakfast.
Lunch – At least 600 calories for most people. As with breakfast, some folks need to go way higher.
And once you’ve got those two meals sorted, aim to get dinner calories somewhere around 400-800. Perhaps more depending on what you’ve been up. But probably not lower.
Eat bigger meals for a week or two and see what happens to your cravings.
If the temptations of candy and whatnot are still keeping you in their evil chokehold, you might have to further increase the portions.
Especially if you’ve been chronically under eating for a while.
And I know you know this already, but here goes: get most of your calories from real food.
Don’t obsess about getting your calories exactly right.
Eyeballing and hand portions go a long way. Unless you have a zero concept of roughly how many calories typical food items in your diet contain. In which case, it’s helpful to track calories for a week or two.
Any longer and it’s easy to get stuck on the obsessive calorie counting hamster wheel. On the miserable-scale, permanently living on a calorie counting wheel exists somewhere between a root canal operation and going to IKEA sober.
At first, it might feel you’re force feeding yourself. It’ll pass.
If you’re used to eating small meals or skipping meals altogether, it’ll take a while for your body and mind to get used to bigger portions.
Yes, all of this takes a bit of planning and effort. But when the result of your effort is regaining the control of your hunger and cravings, it’s well worth.
Also, there’s no denying that this must be the best titled blog I’ve ever written anywhere.
This is the best blog title ever written anywhere by anyone.
Come at me, internet.