Dear Cassey: How do I ACTUALLY control cravings and eat in moderation?

Dear Cassey,
How do you control cravings to stay on track? How do you eat carbs, sugars, and desserts in moderation, and what does moderation really mean? How do you create an ongoing meal plan without it taking over your life?
Thank You!
Building a Lifestyle
macaroon bite portion healthy lifestyle

Dear Building a Lifestyle,

THANK YOU for asking the questions that so many people are afraid to ask. Fitness experts make it seem so easy: “just eat in moderation…just control your cravings!” But I’ve totally been where you are, reading that advice wondering, BUT HOW?!!!

Guess what? It’s not easy. But give it time and consistency, and it becomes habit.

Let’s start with cravings.

Instead of trying to control them, learn about why you’re having them. Most of the time, cravings happen because:

  • Habit
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Stress
  • Dehydration

It’s really helpful to learn about your body and take note of when you have certain cravings. I’d really recommend grabbing a food journal to help you keep track! When I started doing this, it was kinda life changing.

My favorite thing is to find healthier alternatives for my cravings. Like banana “nice cream” or a mug cake. Both are YUM.  But sometimes I just need the real thing, so I get the real thing! Which brings us to your next question…

Eating in moderation

Soooo what does “moderation” even mean?!

For me, it means eating what I want, without eating to the point where I feel I might explode. I do my best to keep my house full of healthy foods, while keeping the stuff I know I’ll overeat out (most of the time).

If I’m eating pizza, I eat it moderation by having a slice paired with a salad or veggie. If I’m having dessert, I just order a small portion or split it with Sam. If I eat more than I “should,” I don’t worry about it.

Eating in moderating isn’t complicated…even though I know sometimes it seems like it is. All it means is adjusting the portions of your favorite foods so you feel satisfied, but not bloated or like you need a nap 🙂

And now the last question. I’m gonna throw you a curveball on this one because a healthy meal plan SHOULD take over your life. But not in the way that you think 😉

No, you shouldn’t obsess over your “plan” and what you “should or shouldn’t” eat.

No, you shouldn’t feel like you’re restricting foods or missing out on your faves.

NO, you shouldn’t feel guilty or punish yourself if you indulge.

But YES healthy eating should be a lifestyle.

This is the question that always had me like BUT HOWWWWW?! But I promise it’s easier than it seems!

The best place to start is with everything we just talked about for cravings and eating in moderation. Then, I really REALLLLY recommend using a food journal. It’s the best way to pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. Next, experiment with  foods and recipes. So, try that mug cake recipe and play around with cauliflower rice, or zoodles or adding veggie toppings to your pizza. And have fun with it!

Get into the habit of finding balance at meals. If using an actual meal plan helps you at first, pick one that you see yourself sticking to. That means nothing that makes you feel deprived! After some time and consistency, putting together a meal that’s heavy on the veggies, lean protein and healthy carbs and fat will feel normal and natural…and won’t take much time or planning!

Hopefully this helps! I’m always posting amazing recipes and tricks that I find useful here on the blog, on Instagram and TikTok too!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

30 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: How do I ACTUALLY control cravings and eat in moderation?”

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  1. Deeksha says:

    Dear Cassey, I wanted to ask whether it was ok to skip working out on the day you are having horrible period cramps . I am kind off going through a dilemma if I should fight the pain or maybe skip today and do some stretches instead

  2. Kristin says:

    Cassey is a trainer, she is not a nutritionist or a counselor. She is qualified to give advice about exercise, but not nutrition or your relationship to food or your body. I highly recommend finding a Health at Every Size informed nutritionist or therapist to talk over your food concerns with. It has been tremendously helpful to me. More dieting and restricting will only make things worse.

    1. Solvei says:

      Hi, my body image is a eating a huge part of my life, I’ve talk to a doctor and will be going to a nutritionist and counselor, I want to be able to love my body for what it is but I can’t, and how can I eat in proportion, and not overeat?

    2. Urha says:

      Who knows? It might. But the fact that she actually lost weight and is sharing tips and RESEARCH she used is really helpful. Even if the Health at Every Size people have good tips, she’s trying to make it easier for us to figure this out and she also said that we shouldn’t restrict too much. She’s just trying to help us find better alternatives for the things we love to eat.

    3. Reigh says:

      She studied in her uni or college about things related to health and nutrition. So she has the rights to give advice about nutritions/relationship with food too. And also, if a person has lost weight/gained weight/changed their lifestyle and it made a positive impact on them, then they’re always welcomed to give advice to others.

  3. Dewi Cynthia says:

    Dear Cassey,
    When i try to loose weight by eating healthy food and doing exercises, i always want to step on the scale and weight my body. Sometimes, i don’t loosing any weights and gaining it instead. It’s stressed me out. But people also like to say “Don’t pay attention to your weight just see your body ! Maybe you are getting heavy because it is a muscle gain.” Can you please give me a sugesstion for this insecurity about body weight ?

  4. Ava says:

    Dear cassey
    Jm trying to loose weight and I’m thinking about buying scales is that the best thing to do when trying to loose weight ? Or will it make me obsess over my weight

  5. Munchkin :) says:

    Dear Cassey,
    I’ve been following your beginner’s calendar for almost a month now and it’s been great…
    I have just one persisting problem though; I’ve been having back pains will excercising.
    As you recommend in the videos, I do suck in my core to push the back flat against the mat and when required, support the back with my hands in a triangle figure. I’ve also been doing stretches and doing my best to make sure my posture is right. I made sure my sleeping position at night is not the cause. But my upper and lower back still hurt.
    Is there anything else I can do? I’m worried that my back pain is signs of a more serious problem or injury…
    Thanks! 😀

    1. Solidrock;) says:

      Munchin:), when I started using scales it made everything worse and I uncontrollably obsessed over my body weight and image but I try to think about being healthy not skinny

      1. Solidrock;) says:

        I’m sorry I replied to the wrong person sorry

    2. StressedAmbience says:

      I had the same problem. Unfortunately, what worked for me was modifying or completely stopping any excercise that would lead to that awful pain. I do more strength-training now with a couple of Casseys workouts speckled in there for variety and flexibility. If anyone has a better solution please let us know, I feel like there is a lot I’m missing out on.

  6. Rose says:

    Dear Cassie, I absolutely love your workouts but I have big issues with your ab workouts because everytime I do them, it hurts a lot in the hip bone area, like a painful clicking. I’ve seen an osteopath and he told me that the problem is pretty known with people who Workout a lot, it comes from the psoas and that’s why I can’t do any of your exercises that require straight legs movements, moving legs around, cycling etc.. to work the abs without feeling an excruciating pain. I’m sad I can’t do your ab workouts anymore because of that problem, there’s apparently nothing I can do about it except adapt exercises to me, but I don’t know how. Do you have any tips/any exercises you recommand for people like me who can’t really use legs and hip flexors to work the abs ? That would be a blessing
    Thank for all your amazing work by the way, you helped me building my confidence with your workout videos!

  7. Meg says:

    Dear Cassey:)

    When I am doing your workouts, especially for the legs, my hips always click a lot as I move my legs around. It’s not painful just a little uncomfortable. Do you know what I could be doing wrong or any advice on how to stop it?

    Thank you so much!!

    1. Jessica says:

      omg. the same exact thing happens to both me and my best friend when we do the workouts.

  8. Mirimes says:

    The thing that really changed my life with food is going to a nutritionist! Having someone that know how the nutrients works on bodies and is able to mix them so you have what you need and can say to you what mixes are imbalanced for you is worth the money.

  9. Alexandra says:

    I have used fitbit and now myfittnaspal to document my food, mainly for me I count calories and found ways to be healthy and stay within a good calorie balance for myself. I have found so much success in using these apps!

  10. Alicia says:

    You know I blended fruits like banana blueberries with protein and coconut flour. Added baking powder and boom. Yes boom…fulfilling muffins. Like only one and done. The fiber from the coconut kick it just right.

  11. Reema Gupta says:

    I’m really gonna try to start food journal….To take note of what I eat, as it creates a sense of guilt and understanding to not indulge carelessly.

  12. Yuna says:

    Wait you only eat one slice pizza? I eat a whole pizza regularly and still lose weight. A pizza has about 700 to 1000kcal, depending on the topping (I like pizza with veggies on top most, which are the pizzas lowest in calory at about 800kcal on average I’d say), which means that I still have 1000kcl to go! I don’t always manage to eat all that. Sometimes I feel so satisfied from the pizza (or whatever else I eat) that I forget to eat dinner until it’s too late.
    I don’t even have cravings. I eat what I want, which is fruit and (mostly bitter) chocolate when it comes to snacks. Sometimes I eat too much sugar I guess, but I only drink water in day to day life.
    I don’t eat in “moderation” at all. I’m just too lazy or forget to make food, so I still eat less than I need sometimes.
    Well, I should say I hate most things people crave like chips. They give me a bad taste afterwards and make me feel disgusting. Most sweets I don’t enjoy either. All I want is more or less high quality chocolate.

    I think the secret to losing weight is: Don’t buy high calory snacks, and be lazy. So you’ll have to actually do something to get many calories (prepare food), but if you’re too lazy, you’ll only do that when you’re actually hungry, and not just out of boredom. Having stuff to do helps too. Sometimes I don’t have the time to prepare food because I’m listening to a lecture (online uni during corona) or just want to finish something before taking a break.

    1. Kathryn says:

      i think it also depends on how your body works, and how fast your metabolism is. this includes any hereditary things. i’m not a doctor, but i hope this helps! 🙂

    2. Harley says:

      No, no, no… who told you a pizza has 800 calories? A single slice of pizza is 200-300 calories minimum, and a whole pizza is 1600-2400 calories total. Eating the whole thing is definitely super unhealthy.

      1. Lucy says:

        It depends where you buy your pizza. If you’re getting a really greasy, meaty take out one dripping in cheese then it’s obviously going to be more, but generally the ones from the store you cook at home are about 800-900kcal for the whole thing, the veggie ones can come in under 800kcal!
        And it’s totally fine to eat a whole pizza if you’re craving a whole pizza, just don’t go crazy and do it every day because, you know, balance!

  13. Hazel Glazer says:

    Hey I’m a 14 years old girl. I’m not fat, but I’m not skinny either. I’m 5’2 and 129 ish lbs. How do I train for running? My body and lungs always give out before my mind does. I’m trying out do varsity field hockey and I want to get in shape. Can you recommend a vid for that?

  14. 💓💓Grreat Tips

  15. Sharon says:

    Nice article! For me personally I weigh out what the “recommended serving” of whatever it is I’m craving is so that I can physically see what x-amount of calories of what I really want looks like. For some reason, that just makes it so much more satisfying than just “eating till I feel full.” As far as healthy alternatives go, I’d rather just make the normal deep dish pizza and a well-balanced (and well-seasoned!) salad to go alongside it, that way I can feel satisfied with a regular sized slice of pizza, but also completely full because of the veggies/whole grains in the salad. 🙂

  16. Vanilla says:

    Hi Cassey! I’ve been following your monthly calendar for almost 3 years and I want to thank you because I discovered the joy of working out. I’ve been cutting sugar, unhealthy fats and even dairy and gluten from my diet, focusing on protein intake from the start of my fitness journey (meaning almost 3 years ago). The only problem is that I got muscle before losing fat, especially in my arms. I have stretched skin with visible muscles and that stubborn back arm fat that doesn’t go away. That way, my arms look big and masculine, no matter what I do. I adore your arms workouts but seems like nothing works for me. How can I actually lose that arm fat? I’m underweight and my thighs are almost the same size as my arms… Thank you so much for your help! Vanilla

    1. Ice cream says:

      Gaining weight in different areas could help you look more proportional if you’re underweight! I’ve loved the way my body looks since gaining weight, especially in my shoulders, chest, glutes, and thighs.😊

  17. Alice says:

    Hi Cassey,
    Thanks for the post, I have a question about how your change in diet has effected your energy levels whilst training so hard? I’m a professional dancer, I train 8 hours a day six times a week and I’ve always struggled on what and the right amount of food I should have that would best impact my energy levels and recovery.
    Your journey was inspirational, thank you for sharing it with us.
    Alice x

  18. Sejal says:

    I am 19 years old and I weigh 75Kg which is 20 more than my normal BMI.
    I have been following you for a time. But I could really use your help.

  19. I’m a total meal planner! It helps with syphilis itchy and it just makes decision making a lot easier. I’ve been loving eating raw beef liver lately!