1. Expect Food Cravings. If you are prepared, managing them will be easier. Try to stock your kitchen or office with healthy substitutions. Craving chocolate? Try a fat free pudding cup or individual portion of low-fat chocolate ice cream. Craving salt? Try a 100-calorie pack of salty snack mix. Small treats can easily fit into a healthy diet!
2. Where is the “Hunger” Coming From? Try to distinguish if it's your stomach or your mind that's sending the message. Many of us eat in response to emotions such as stress, sadness or boredom. First, rate your hunger on a scale of 1-5 (1 being starving and 5 being stuffed). If you are not a 1 or 2, ask yourself how you are feeling and what you can do instead. For example, talk a brisk walk, call a friend or take a bubble bath. This process will help you become an intuitive eater and connect with your feelings of hunger and fullness.
3. Reflect on your Progress. Think about how far you have come and all the positive changes you have accomplished. Accentuating the positive (on a daily basis) keeps you motivated and keeps the momentum going. Try writing down 3 things you feel good about at the end of each day (no matter how small you think they might be).
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4. Cut calories elsewhere during the day. If you find that late night snacks are just finding their way into your diet, find a way to cut calories from other meals and snacks. Focus on cutting “extra” calories vs. healthy calories. For example, use less mayo or cheese on your sandwich, less creamer in your coffee, or cut back on portions of meat.
5. Evaluate your Eating Habits. Your cravings could very well be validated. Are you skipping meals, eating well below your calorie needs for weight loss or denying certain foods or food groups? If so, cravings can be your body’s natural defense mechanism. Remember, all foods can fit in moderation and skipping meals or eating too few calories will only work against weight loss in the end.