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Dealing with Cravings (A&I Challenge Week 4 May)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My assignment: “How do you say NO to that Craving? Share the strategies and techniques you use to overcome cravings.”

The short answer for me is: “This too shall pass.” If I could remember that, I think I’d be within my calorie range all the days that I wanted to.

Generally, my go-to strategy is to drink water or herb tea. That pretty much accomplishes the “This too shall pass” strategy, because by the time I’ve finished the drink, I’m usually past the worst of the craving. If I’ve had a glass of water or cup of tea and I’m still craving something, I might try to set a time limit, after which I’ll try to further assess why I’m having that craving if I still have it. In the mean time, I’ll do a puzzle or read an article totally unrelated. Sometimes the reassessment leads to eating something healthy in a limited amount (1 T granola or yogurt, for instance). That rarely happens, though.

I also need to distract myself if--by that I mean when-- I find myself obsessed--uh, I mean focused--on food. I will day-dream about all sorts of food that does not provide the fuel I need for optimum health. I think food also serves as enjoyment, but like anything I need to find balance: not too much but not too little.

One strategy I find particularly effective is to exercise. Exercising itself has a biological effect of reducing my appetite in the short-term, it mentally distracts me, and I get an emotional boost that’s sometimes underlying my cravings.So it’s ideal for me, but not always practical.

Even though I usually want to eat and get cravings when I'm not truly hungry, I also need to keep from getting over-hungry which also leads to cravings. On the other hand, I do know I enjoy my food more when I am truly hungry and not just eating because the clock says it’s time to eat, so when I think of that I can usually put a craving away.

I almost always eat food I have prepared myself. I think this avoids giving in to cravings. If I don’t go to the snack machine or cafeteria at work, I don’t get tempted to think of things I’d otherwise not even dream about. If I don’t buy certain types of food at the store or have them in my house, I can’t give in to those cravings without some effort to actually go out & get the food.

At a restaurant, I have to have made up my mind before I get there or I’ll just eat anything. Most places have online menus now which makes it so much easier to consider options before presented with the strong temptations of seeing food of other diners or hearing what dining companions have ordered.

So mostly it comes down to two things. First, making decisions about what I will eat before I’m hungry (meal & snack planning) so I’m not making these decisions while I’m not thinking rationally. And second, exercising or otherwise distracting myself long enough for a craving to pass.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • LADYBUG1107
    I like your distraction plan.
    2212 days ago
  • BARBIE176
    Ann, it looks like you have come up with some amazing tips that help you avoid the cravings. Keep up the good work. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2218 days ago
    I agree with everything you said. Planning is a big key to avoid cravings. I also agree about not buying certain foods at the store or not keeping certain foods in the house helps to avoid giving into temptation. I have exercised before when I'm craving something and it does help. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    emoticon emoticon
    2218 days ago
    Distraction is a really good strategy, when it works. :) I like your idea of exercise because even a one-minute walk around my building's hallway has helped me.
    2219 days ago
  • CANDOK1260
    emoticon for sharing good points
    2219 days ago
    Im going to come back to this blog during my cravings. I'm mostly still working on making sure I eat the Goldilocks amount at night so I don't wake up in the morning thinking I'm starving and out of control. I also get cravings in the afternoons. And evening. Guess I better come back to this blog a lot;-)
    Thanks for sharing, Ann!
    2219 days ago
    Well I certainly can second the motion on everything you have said. If I don't plan out what I will do BEFORE I'm ready to eat - and have those things available - I'm setting myself up for mindless overeating. Thanks for stating this so clearly.

    2219 days ago
    Plan plan plan. I don't eat out very much and I do try and research the menu first. It makes a huge difference when I can walk in and know what I will eat ahead of time.

    I also try and have gum on hand to chew sugarfree of course
    2219 days ago
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