Curb your Cravings

Author: Sarah Marshall, CPT
What can you do to control these urges that drag you kicking and screaming away from your perfect diet plan and down into the swirling vortex of indulgence? Follow their three-step plan -- and never again feel guilty about eating a cookie.

Curbing Cravings Step 1: Reduce the Number of Cravings You Experience

It's simple logic: If you develop fewer cravings, you'll give in to fewer cravings. See how to stave off the urge to splurge:
 Schedule a massage. When you're tense your body produces more of the hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of carbohydrates you want to eat. Sweets or carbohydrates temporarily increase our levels of serotonin, which makes us feel calm and relaxed. So to curb your candy urge, rent some John Candy videos, take a yoga class, call your funniest friend, or for serious stress, dial up your massage therapist.
 Have a little piece of chocolate -- every day. Know anyone who is desperately seeking spinach or craving kale? Didn't think so. Once you start incorporating small portions of these forbidden foods into your diet, a funny thing happens: You don't crave them anymore.
If you make room in your daily diet for a small amount of chocolate, you won't end up eating a pint of chocolate ice cream in one sitting. And in the long run, you'll save calories.

Curbing Cravings: Distinguish Cravings From Hunger

Suppose you walk by McDonald's and, all of a sudden, you have a deep desire for french fries. Instead of rushing to the counter and placing an order, follow this strategy: Divert yourself for at least 10 Minutes. Read, call a friend, take a walk -- just do something that doesn't require you to think about or see food Reevaluate your urge. After at least 10 minutes, ask yourself, "Do I still want french fries?" If your craving was based on the physical conditioning of seeing McDonald's and automatically wanting fries, you'll most likely pass. If, however, you wanted the fries because you were hungry, you'll probably still be in the mood for them.

Curbing Cravings Step 3: Satisfy Your Hunger or Persistent Craving

Let's say you still have fries on the brain. Before they end up in your stomach, read this: Don't compromise with a frozen yogurt. Instead of just eating a cookie, people will have carrot sticks, then rice cakes, then cottage cheese, then an apple, and then they'll finally have the cookie. And they've spent at least 200 calories more than if they had just had a cookie to begin with." Finish the fries. Go ahead and eat a small pack. People who occasionally give in to their cravings don't weigh any more -- and maybe weigh a little less -- than those who don't dare to indulge.