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Conquer Cravings!

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Updated February 15, 2014

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Allowing yourself a small portion of "the real thing" will satisfy a craving much better than a food that doesn't fit the bill.

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The way you respond to food cravings just might make or break your weight-maintenance success. Veering off from your eating plan occasionally will not be earth-shattering, but if you make a habit of giving in to your eating impulses, your moments of weakness will certainly catch up with you. Here are a few simple tips on how to deal with food cravings:

 

 

 

 

  1. Wait for it to pass.
    Believe it or not, you can simply wait out a craving. Since it's quite easy to mistake a craving for "real" hunger, waiting before responding will help you distinguish between the two. If you still want something 20 minutes later, chances are you really are hungry. Or, you may find the craving disappears altogether. Get your mind on something else: take a walk, write in your journal, play a game. You may be pleasantly surprised to find time has passed and the craving has subsided.
  2. Drink up.
    A glass of water, that is. You may find that drinking water satisfies your craving in and of itself. Sometimes we can mistake dehydration for food cravings or real hunger. Your body is telling you that you need something, and you assume it's food, but before you reach for food sip some H20. It may be just what you need.
  3. Give in... just a little.
    When we give into a craving, we give in to an impulse. When you act impulsively you have lost some control. Yielding this way may lead you to lose control of how much you eat, too. Take a moment to think about what you are doing. Try putting some mindful eating techniques to use.

    If you decide to satisfy your craving, do it on a smaller scale. Never allow yourself to sit down with an entire carton of ice cream or a whole bag of chips. Take out a serving and put the rest away. Better still, purchase small portions to begin with. You will probably find that the first few bites actually do away with the craving anyway. If more food is not already in your hands, you probably may not go back for more.

  4. Keep it real.
    You're a smart cookie. If you really want a chocolate chip cookie, that rice cake is just not going to do the trick. Don't try to fool yourself and instead consider having all things in moderation. Allow yourself to indulge in what you really want (just watch your portion size!) and you will not feel deprived. If you do begin to feel deprived, you will probably eventually eat that rice cake and more than one chocolate chip cookie, because the former didn't really satisfy your craving.
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