We all have cravings. And how you deal with your cravings can either make or break your diet program.
Some dieters have multiple foods they crave while others may have only one. No matter what you crave, being able to identify which foods stimulate your tendency to overeat is the first step to helping you take better control.
Make a plan to reduce your vulnerability to your cravings, as well as avoid the weight gain that can accompany them.
Here are some tips to guide you:
1. Know your cravings. Keeping a food diary will make you more aware of your trigger-type foods. These are often the salty or sweet snacks that you can't stop eating, despite your level of hunger. Recording your food intake in a food diary will help you reflect on what foods trigger your overeating episodes. As the saying goes, "once you can name them, you'll be able to tame them."
2. Make your home a safe haven. Whether your cravings include a bag of nuts, chips, cookies or a container of ice cream, now is the time to remove the "offender" from your home. It's not to say that you can never eat this food again; it's just that losing weight will be much easier for you if this food is removed from your home. Successful weight losers know they need to make their home a safe haven if they want to experience less struggles at home. If other family members still want those foods around, make a deal with them to keep that food out of sight, out of mind - either on a high shelf or in a non see-through container.
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3. Satisfy cravings in healthier ways. A smart dieter knows that deprivation can lead you to quickly abandon your healthy weight loss program. So as not to feel deprived, you need to plan for a healthier way to satisfy your craving for a sweet or salty treat. For example, if ice cream is your downfall, allow yourself to enjoy a light ice cream or yogurt cone in an ice cream shop. Or if salty chips are your favorite, consider trying the 100-calorie snack pack of baked chips as an addition to your lunch time meal. The goal is to avoid buying the big bag or box of a trigger food and start learning to enjoy healthier versions in moderate portions.
4. Add water-based foods. Most of the foods you crave are energy dense which means they have a lot of calories for their given weight. These high-energy, dense foods are often dry foods that lack water. We know that eating water-based foods - like soups, fruits, vegetables, whole grain dishes or oatmeal - fill you up faster and make you feel more full and satisfied. If you can consciously pick a snack food that is wet, not dry, you can use this trick to keep your hunger at bay. For example, it may take lots of dry pretzels to fill you up but eating some low fat yogurt with cut up fruit or a high fiber cereal with nonfat milk should satisfy you more quickly.