I have the privilege of sitting directly across from the vending machine at work. Every single day, between the hours of 2:30 and 4:00pm I bop my head to the clink of coins and rustle of dollar bills being fed into the machine.
There are two types of people that stroll passed my desk to get their mid-day snacks… I call them the Energy Crashers and the Afternoon Cravers.
And would you believe I can tell who’s who just by listening to the pitter-patter of their feet?
The Energy Crashers typically shuffle to the machine like zombies and insert their money slowly. Usually there’s a long pause between inserting their money and making their snack choice as they assess what they’re in the mood for.
On the other hand the Afternoon Cravers always have a little more pep in their step. They feed the machine quickly, and there’s no hesitation or deliberation in which snack they’re gonna choose.
Three years ago, I was an Afternoon Craver. 3:30pm was usually the time I went scouring thru the breakroom in search of free donuts and leftover birthday cake.
But once I started changing my eating habits for fat loss, one of the very first things to go were my mid-day cravings and energy crashes.
To this day, my energy levels are consistent from morning until night. But the most unbelievable thing is, not only are my mid-day cravings non-existent, I can actually stroll passed the leftover birthday cake, brownies, and girl scout cookies at 3:30pm without giving them a second glance.
Now, I know this post isn’t appealing to everyone. Some of us live for those free breakroom treats, am I right?
But for those of us that are falling asleep during those mid-afternoon meetings, or would be so much further along in our weight loss journey if we could get those 3:30pm cravings under control, here are 3 steps to eliminate mid-day cravings and energy crashes for good!
Step 1: Adjust Your Meal Schedule
The simplest, most amazing change I ever made to my eating habits was pushing breakfast and lunch up by an hour or two.
I start my mornings with a cup of lemon water and a small snack (like an apple or protein bar). Then I have my breakfast around 10:30am and lunch around 2:00pm.
By the time everyone else is sniffing around for mid-day treats, my body is still energized and satisfied from lunch. But not just any old lunch… a very specific type of meal, which leads me to step 2…
Step 2: Pack Your Lunch with Protein, Fiber, Water & a Premium Cheat
Afternoon cravings and energy crashes are blood sugar related. Unless you pump your body with protein for breakfast, typically by lunchtime you’re craving both satisfaction and satiation as quickly as possible.
The fat/starch combo lunches fill that need very quickly. Burgers with fries or sandwiches with chips are the types of meals that spike our blood sugar in the short term, then send us crashing down within a couple hours.
But don’t forget about the fair-weather health-conscious folks… the ones who opt for the soup or salad at lunch, but can’t seem to get a handle on their night-time snacking after dinner.
Even though the soup-and-saladers aren’t experiencing the same blood sugar spikes, their meals don’t have the caloric power or nutritional depth to carry them through the afternoon.
So the key is to jam-pack your lunch with as much lean protein, fibrous vegetables, and water as you can possibly stomach (which can end up being more filling for less calories than your burger and fries).
Now here’s the secret-secret sauce… after lunch, have a small premium cheat to meet your indulgence quota.
Premium cheats are rich and decadent, only requiring a bite or two to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.
My premium cheat is Ghiradelli dark chocolate with sea salt caramel (yummmm…). Just a square or two a day keeps the 3pm cupcakes away!
Step 3: Create a Metabolic Disruption
And finally, if you want to distract yourself from those midday cravings or shake your body out of an energy crash, spend about 60 seconds slapping your metabolism in the face.
There are certain movements that shock your metabolism similarly to an earthquake. Walking up a few flights of stairs is the best example.
You know how you get to the top of stairs and feel more breathless and leg-burn than you did when you were actually climbing them?
THAT is a metabolic disruption!
When you force your body to do an activity that requires extensive recovery time, your metabolism will be too busy lowering your heart rate and removing lactic acid to even think about those oreos in the snack drawer, or that quick cat nap during your 2:30pm conference call.
What I do is set a timer on my phone for 60 seconds and do as many pulsing squats, wall pushups, or jumping jacks as possible.
This always gets my heart pumping and muscles burning just enough for the second wind I need to get me to the end of my workday!
These three steps were the backbone of my weight loss journey. Give them a try and kick those afternoon crashes and mid-day cravings to the curb for good!
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