Dealing With Cravings When You First Start Prep
Going from off season to prep can be a tough experience, especially at first. That first week of complete structure and strictness. Emotions of no longer having the freedom to accept those biscuits in the office? Maybe you went out for 'one last big one before prep starts’ leaving the cravings not far behind!?
How can we overcome the niggling demon?
Well, luckily a born talent that humans have is the ability to consciously know when a primal urge we come face to face will impact us negatively, and we get to CHOOSE whether we do it and take the risk to receive for a moment of instant psychological pleasure, or we have the strength to resist and not risk that negative impact it brings later down the line.
The majority of these urges are related to food, sex, and anything similar. No checking your iPhone is not a primal urge, we've developed that one ourselves! We've all been there where we know we shouldn't finish the whole packet of biscuits just because we ate one, we shouldn't go out drinking just because everyone else is, or we shouldn't slack of the gym just because it's been a tough day, but yet we do it anyway and end up with a guilty hangover, lost gains, and zero motivation, falling into a viscous cycle! So why do we do it? The scientific reason- a cheeky reward response in the brain named DOPAMINE.
Lets dig a little deeper....Survival of the human race is our primary goal above anything else, and these urges below are still hardwired into our brains as the two most important things to survival:
. Finding fast release, dense sources of energy.
Anything that relates to this gives us a reward response in the brain that in an instant gives us a dopamine release, which is basically our primitive brain saying 'WOO YEAH GOOD JOB!'
But then opposing to that the other side of our brain (the logical part) might be saying 'I shouldn't have done that.' Something like drugs is more of a fake mimic of this reward response which is a result of the chemical effect of the drug in use. Which is quickly followed by a sharp decline in mood. Hence addicts require that hit over and over. And yes, alcohol is a drug. So is caffeine.
So this lead to the two sides of our brain internally disagreeing:
'No you're not you just ate a whole tub of icecream....FML.'
So it's your first week of dieting? And let's say its maybe your FIRST TIME dieting for competition... You need to go in head strong and be prepared to feel the following going forward:
• Enhanced mood swings
• Selfishness (which is slightly necessary in this sport - remind friends and family you appreciate them daily)
• Jealousy (possibly of people around you eating cake!!)
• Foggyness (prep brain is a thing)
Sounds rubbish right? It's really not all that bad, you will need to constantly remind yourself why you are doing this and if your intentions are true & your mentality is in a good place for dieting then you'll be okay. Not everyone will feel all of these things, but you'll definitely have some highs and lows. So here's what you need to do when experiencing a low which may lead to a binge or similar.... Instead of justifying the behavioural choice with an excuse like 'this will be the last time' or 'just one more' you’re going to do the following -
• Analyse your behaviour patterns
• Write down how you’re feeling now, how you’d feel after making that choice.
• Be brutally honest with yourself
• Remove things/food that tempt the urge
• Stock up on calorie free drinks (but remember, moderation)
and lastly, remember you've got the power to control your own actions & choices.
Most importantly YOU GOT THIS!