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The Facts on Food Cravings: When to Resist and When to Give in

food craving

Hit with a food craving? Going for a walk can help! Credit: swissphoto australia

How to Control Food Cravings

There are a few things you can do to battle any sort of craving. A little later, we will tackle specific cravings if you are prone to repeats. To reduce cravings, though try a few of these simple techniques…

1. Sit on it. When your craving strikes, it can be easy to reach for what you are longing for to get rid of the uncomfortable feelings, but don’t give in right away. “Learn to de-stress on the spot with ‘urge surfing’,” advises Hartley. “When a craving starts, picture the urges as waves that grow in intensity before they crash. Breathe calmly, deeply and intentionally while observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment until they pass. And then bask in the glow of your success, give thanks, and process your feelings and environmental circumstances that led up to the craving.”

2. Get up and moving. Leave the environment you are in and get your blood pumping. Whether you get in a good sweaty workout or simply go for a walk, getting endorphins from physical activity instead of a lustful food has two pronged benefits: exercise is great for your figure, and you are building healthy relationships with food by avoiding relying on food to get your feel good buzz on.

3. Distract your brain. If physical activity isn’t an option for whatever reason, play a game of Words with Friends, do a puzzle, watch some funny YouTube videos or do anything that preoccupies your mind. Even if it’s just a few minutes, it’ll help to distract you from your food craving or whatever emotion is lurking under the surface.

4. Give in a little. If you surfed your urge, ran a 5k and did a 1,000,000 piece puzzle, but you still can’t shake the visions of gummy bears dancing in your head, eat a dang bear or five. Making room in your diet for a favorite treat once in a while can actually help you resist the urge to overindulge on them if you deprive yourself over an extended period of time. Remember, all good things in moderation!

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5 Comments
  1. Cat says:

    I had a craving for crunchy, salty carbs! So I had a small handful of whole-wheat pretzels. Everything in moderation 🙂

  2. Kellee says:

    My cravings are almost always sugar related: usually for jelly bellies or some other candy. In my case, swapping a piece of fruit actually does usually work since it’s something sweet that I’m craving. But it usually means A LOT of fruit. Still, I feel like 3 apples is healthier than a bag of jellies. If that doesn’t work, I turn to chocolate. I don’t really care for chocolate, so I don’t have to worry that I’ll be tempted to eat more than a few bites – but the sweet is still enough to curb the craving. And if all else fails, I head to the store that has bulk jelly bellies and buy a reasonable amount to eat in a single sitting. I know once I start eating them I won’t want to stop, so only buying a handful at a time is a great solution!

  3. Celina Yanez says:

    Lately I’ve been craving salty chips. Little did I know that it was due to the fact that I was doing major Bikram Yoga. My yoga instructor advised to give into these Taro chips they sell at Whole Foods. They are delicious and they’re high in fiber (I usually open the bag and IMMEDIATELY pack two zip lock bags to cut down the portion).

  4. Nyx says:

    For me I always found a reason for my cravings – how I learned this was if I had a craving I’d think about why I was craving what I was craving, I’d go though various foods and if I kept coming back to the same food time and time again then I’d look up that food and see what nutrients they where high in or the like and if there was a more healthy option for those deals I found eating the more healthy option would cure that craving, take the the craving for iron rich foods it was a common deal for me when I was bleeding but since that’s over with the craving have disappeared completely (that and my iron levels are back to normal).

  5. Dania says:

    Hi, great article! Just wanted to say that I recently discovered this site, I’m 13 years old, and am currently working on fitness. A lot of your posts have some great tips, so thanks for posting them! 😀
    For me, like you suggested, I usually take a deep breath and sit down and think about it.
    Measuring the pros and cons really helps for me.