Have you ever felt full when suddenly you’re hit with a craving for chocolate, chips or another not-so-healthy snack? Or, maybe it’s not so specific…perhaps you find yourself wandering back to the kitchen, opening up the fridge or the pantry and digging around aimlessly for something to eat.
Well, don’t worry–you’re not alone!
Everyone occasionally eats when they’re not hungry (ever wonder why there always seems to be “room” for dessert?). It becomes a problem only when you can’t seem to control your cravings and splurges—and instead, they’re controlling you.
When you’re not actually hungry but have a powerful drive to eat a particular food—that’s a craving. What prompts these seemingly irresistible urges? It could be emotional eating—when you’re bored, stressed or lonely, a chocolate bar, cookie or bag of chips can give you a temporary lift.
It may also have something to do with hormones—pre-menstrual cravings are well documented—or your particular brain chemistry, which makes it harder to resist certain foods. A lot of times, environmental cues trigger cravings; just think of how your mouth waters when you spot those leftover pastries in the conference room or get a
whiff of the Cinnabon store as you enter the mall. It doesn’t help that modern food manufacturing cranks out chips, candy and other foods to be as tempting as possible.
Here are 4 techniques you can try to resist food cravings:
-Delay and Distract
When the urge comes on, set a timer for 5-10 minutes and during that time, do two things. First, try to figure out what’s going on emotionally. Next, distract yourself with a non-food replacement. Just a few minutes might be enough.
-Ride the Wave
If distraction isn’t working—the cravings persist, or even become more frequent—do just the opposite and “experience” the craving without giving into it. When a craving strikes, try these three steps. Remind yourself why you want to stop giving into cravings; why you want to lose weight.
Accept the craving without judgment.Remind yourself that while you didn’t choose to have this craving, you can
choose how to react to it. Cravings rise and fall, like waves in the sea. Ride that wave, but don’t get engulfed in it.
Mentally step back from the urge. When you see it from a distance, you’ll recognize that a) it’s temporary, and b)
yes, you WILL survive if you don’t eat the craved food.