Do You Know These Tricks To Help Conquer Food Cravings?
By Tracy Lee
Food cravings are crafty -- they appear from nowhere and hit you just when you least expect them, don't they?
And the critical thing is that the way you respond to your food cravings might just make or break your success at weight loss and maintenance.
That's why you need simple ways to deal with cravings whenever they pop up.
Now, 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.
The good news is that if you can remember these tips that I am going to share with you today, you will be able to conquer those pesky cravings of yours!
1. Avoid being hungry
Eat 5 times a day -- 3 meals a day with 2 planned snacks, but remember to moderate your portions for each of your meals.
Once you start eating 5 times a day instead of the usual 3, you'll find that you'll be hungry less often, and you'll automatically have fewer cravings throughout the day.
On top of that, eating 5 times a day also helps to boost your metabolism level, so you'll be burning more calories throughout the day than before. And that's why this is my number one tip!
2. Catch your cravings early
If you can catch your cravings early, you have more control over them.
So, when do cravings start? A craving starts with a thought of something good to eat. It can be triggered by encountering a situation in which you see or smell tempting food, or by just thinking of something good and dwelling on the idea.
After a while, you'll be able to recognize the situations which are likely to make you start craving for certain foods.
The moment you catch the cravings coming on, you can start to put the tips below into use. The earlier you can catch your cravings, the better chances you have of overcoming them.
3. Ride out a craving
Believe it or not, you can simply wait out a craving. Sometimes we may even mistake a craving for actual hunger. Don't dwell on thoughts of food or eating -- distract yourself!
By playing the waiting game for about 20 minutes, it can help you to distinguish between the craving and actual hunger.
In the meantime, get busy by doing something else to distract your mind: take a walk, play a game, or concentrate on your work projects. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the craving has subsided after some time has passed. If you still want something 20 minutes later, chances are that you are truly hungry. By giving yourself a little time to take a pause before giving in, you may find the craving will disappear altogether.
4. Drink your water
Sometimes all you need is just a glass of water, that's all! Many times, we can mistake dehydration for hunger or cravings. Take a moment and drink a glass or two of water; it may be just what you need.
And this has another side benefit too -- even if you were truly hungry, the water will help to make you fill fuller (without adding any calories to your daily intake), so you'll not need to eat as much later.
5. Temporarily ruin your taste buds
After drinking your water, if you find that your craving still does not go away and you cannot stop thinking about eating, what you can try to do next is to disrupt your sense of taste or smell.
Try a strong mouth mint. Or you can brush your teeth or dab some cologne or strong smelling ointment under your nose.
This may only work for a while, so you must get busy doing something else to take your mind off eating. After a while, you will find yourself not thinking of the craving, and before you know it, it is already time for your next meal.
6. Giving in to your craving BUT only just a little
You will face the biggest danger about cravings when you give in to them.
What happens to a lot of people is that when they give in to the craving, they also lose control of how much they eat too.
Thus, please be extra careful when you decide to eat something to satisfy your cravings.
Don't overdo it. Eat an amount that seems reasonable and appropriate.
For example, you should never allow yourself to finish an entire carton of ice cream or a whole bag of chips in one sitting. What you can do is to take a small serving out and put the rest away. Alternatively, you can buy small portions to begin with. In most cases, you will find that the first few bites actually satisfy the craving anyway!
7. Don't fool yourself
If you are dying to have a chocolate chip cookie, you know that the low fat energy bar is not going to do the trick. So, what should you do?
Well, there's no point trying to fool yourself.
That's right, go for the "bad" choice. But remember: "Moderation, moderation, MODERATION!"
It is fine to allow yourself to indulge in what you really want, provided you watch your portion size. You will not feel deprived, and you'll be able to sustain these new healthy eating habits for the long haul.
On the other hand, if you abstain completely from all your favorite foods, you are more likely to eat that energy bar AND the chocolate chip cookie.
Easy, right? I'm sure they'll be able to help you manage your cravings better. So go ahead and try out the 7 tips above... today!
Copyright 2006 Tracy Lee
About The Author
Tracy Lee is the owner of the "Weight Loss for Women Over 40" site.