4 Tricks to Kick Your Candy Cravings to the Curb

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You've probably already faced your share of tempting bite-size candies and seasonal desserts over the past few weeks, but tomorrow is the day that candy will find its way into your home, office or Halloween party venue (if it hasn't already).

So how are you going to avoid the temptation? How can you stop yourself from eating too many of those cute little treats before it's too late? Good questions. I have a big sweet tooth myself. I love candy, desserts and sweets—I am only human. But I do try to make healthful choices about what I eat and enjoy treats within moderation, which usually means turning them down more often than I eat them. It isn't always easy, but it IS possible. So here are some of my very own tricks to prevent overeating on Halloween candy—and kick those cravings for good!

Freshen Up
This is an age-old tip to prevent mindless eating and overeating, but it really does work. Brushing your teeth frequently (or chewing a strong, minty gum) makes all sorts of foods—including candy—unpalatable. Just think about drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth in the morning…not tasty. When candy is around, arm yourself with minty fresh breath. It's a lot easier to say not to treats when you don't want to disrupt that fresh, clean flavor in your mouth. This trick can also work if you find yourself losing control of your cravings. For example, if you ate one or two pieces of candy and find yourself uncontrollably reaching for another, stop that cycle by brushing your teeth before you think about taking another bite.

Don't Have Just One
I know this is going to make me sound like a food control freak, but hang with me here. When faced with a dishful of tiny treats (or any other food temptation), what's easier: Not eating the food at all OR eating one bite and then stopping? Really think about your habits and eating history. For me—and I think most people—eating some and then stopping is much, much harder than just turning it down completely. After all, who can stop after just one bite, lick or taste when more food is still right there in front of you? I find that it's way harder to stop once you get going, especially if you have any emotional or mindless eating tendencies. Remember this next time you're faced with Halloween treats and think, "I'll have just one." If you can't really trust yourself to stop, then don't even start.

Distract Yourself
When it comes to treats, we usually don't even know we "want" them until we see them. It's not that we're craving candy corn or Twizzlers all day every day. But when you see them in the office candy jar or on the end cap at Target, well, you remember how good they are and then you think you want them. Out of sight, out of mind. Don't even go to the Halloween section of the store—even if you know it's 75% off today. Bypass the candy aisle and keep your gaze on the tabloid magazines when in the checkout line. If the office candy jar is calling your name, choose another route and walk around it or divert your gaze to look away from it. If someone brings in pumpkin doughnuts to the office today, avoid stopping in the kitchen or by their desk until it's likely that every other person has done it before you (and eaten them all up). If you're faced with a craving that you feel like you're obsessing over, try a 10-minute distraction technique. Go for a walk, answer some of those emails that have been in your inbox for days, or play a simple mind game on your iPhone. Anything you can do to take your mind off the food will certainly help you remain in control.

Choose Wisely, Eat Mindfully
It's not realistic to turn down every treat or temptation—and no one should have to! Holidays are fun and so are the foods that come with them. The above techniques will work well if you're trying to stick with your healthy eating plan or control your calories. But sometimes, it's best to just give in and enjoy a little fun. When you consciously choose to enjoy a treat, first, choose wisely. Pick your absolute favorite. Save your calories for the treat that will be most worthwhile to you (and use the tricks above for avoid foods that aren't really worth the calories). Don't waste your calories on candies you don't really love just because they're around. When you're ready to eat, do so without distraction. Focus on that treat. Notice how it feels in your mouth, its texture and its flavor. Eat slowly and mindfully. The more you can really focus on the treat of your choice, without distraction, the more satisfied you with feel, and the more in-control you will remain. When you take the time to really taste and enjoy something, you won't feel the need to keep eating more, and you'll kick those cravings to the curb before you've gone overboard.

Do any of these four techniques help you stay in control around Halloween treats (or other temptations)? How do YOU enjoy treats without going overboard?

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