Kick craves to the curb!

May 26, 2008

Things I crave (on an unfortunate regular basis) include:

  • cupcakes
  • frozen yogurt
  • homemade fettuccine with prosciutto and asparagus (so so so good!)
  • granola

So what’s a WIT to do when she must satisfy these cravings? Typically, if you’re like me, you seek, you find, you devourer. But (thank the lord!) new studies are showing that we can actually teach ourselves how to think about and handle these cravings differently so that we aren’t gorging on our favorite treats. Below are the highlights of the article that sparked this whole post, but for the entire story, head here. And might I just say there are some wonderful “Amen” moments tucked throughout the article so take a deep breath and start to kick those cravings!

***article and photo courtesy of MSNBC***

Snack Smarter

You can’t help being hardwired to yearn for unhealthy fare, but you can minimize the damage by stashing light versions of the flavors you crave most, suggests Keri Gans, R.D., a spokeswoman in New York City for the American Dietetic Association. Love ice cream at night? Stock up on 80-calorie Skinny Cow Skinny Dippers. Can’t miss that crunch in the afternoon? Keep crudités at your desk.

Schedule your splurges
To keep urges from taking over your life (that’s what bosses are for), schedule a specific time to enjoy a reasonable portion of your favorite treat. If you know ahead of time that you will savor a sweet snack at 4 p.m., it should be easier to ignore your desire for it at noon.

Wait it out
Some urges — like texting your ex-boyfriend at 12 a.m. — are better to let pass. Ditto certain food hankerings: Most go away within 20 minutes, Roberts says, so hold off for that amount of time.

Beware the witching hour
There’s a reason you have potato chips on the brain in the late afternoon rather than at 8 a.m. After a long day, you’re fatigued and suffering from low blood sugar, explains Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia — meaning you can’t muster the emotional energy to overcome your yearning. If you’re truly hungry, have a healthy, filling snack to raise your blood sugar to normal levels. Then grab some ammunition against mindless snacking: Pop an Altoid to perk yourself up.

Ditch the diet mentality
“When you cut something out of your diet, you’re more likely to overeat it when you do encounter it,” says Janet Polivy, Ph.D., the study’s lead author. In other words, restricting your diet primes you to obsess. Instead of swearing off sweets, pare down your portions, says SELF contributing editor Janis Jibrin, R.D.

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Most common cravings

— 31% of women report chocolate is the food they covet most.
— 24% of women say their strongest desire is for salty snacks.
— 10% of women admit they regularly long to eat ice cream.
— 10% of women crave brownies, cookies and cakes.
— 10% of women pine for carbs, such as pasta and bread.
— 7% of women wish for protein, such as fish and meat.

Source: A study from Tufts University in Boston

Accept defeat — occasionally
File this under
best news ever: A recent small study from Tufts University in Boston found that women who sometimes gave in to their yens still lost weight. The trick is to make those occasional bites truly satisfying so you don’t go back for more, says Joan Salge Blake, R.D., nutrition professor at Boston University and author of “Nutrition & You” (Pearson/Benjamin Cummings).

Make peace
Quit fighting with yourself over food and you might banish cravings for good. “Tell yourself, ‘My mind is having a craving right now.’ Pretty soon, you’ll see that the impulse to order something fattening is not the same as actually ordering it.” Use this mental trick the next time you’re at a restaurant and the siren song of a bacon cheeseburger threatens to derail your healthy plan. Breathe, count to three and select the grilled salmon and green salad. Then eat them serenely.

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