5 Ways to Outsmart Cravings

Jan 11 2017
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I'm trying to lose weight, but my fatty-food cravings have always thrown me off course in the past. Any suggestions on how I can "get in front of it"? (P.S. I can't stop saying that now!)

Crazy Craver
Answer@2x Hi Crazy Craver,

You've already got the right idea... Get in front of it! By being prepared, you can outsmart those diet-destroying cravings once and for all. Here are five tips and tricks to help you out...

Have distraction strategies ready. Cravings are rarely about physical hunger. In fact, experts say that cravings typically last only 10 minutes. So if you can find something to do for that small amount of time, those cravings will likely pass! Try going for a walk: outside, around the office/house... wherever. Studies actually show this could reduce your food cravings! Another idea? Whip out your phone, and play a game. Remember Tetris? A study in the journal Addictive Behaviors found playing it for only 3 minutes weakened test subjects' desires. Angry Birds = happy you! Speaking of phone tactics, have a go-to friend on speed dial. Text or chat until the craving passes. Social support is a huge help with weight loss!

Make yourself a mini mint arsenal. This one totally works! Mint is a natural appetite suppressant. One study even found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month! Keep some mint-scented hand lotion in your purse (DIY with unscented lotion and a little peppermint essential oil) along with some sugar-free mint gum and/or mints. You could even stash a mini bottle of mouthwash. Once you get a minty taste in your mouth, you won't wanna reach for whatever you were craving. Why bother? It won't taste as good! Mint-scented candles are also great to have at home.

Keep a food journal. You may know that tracking your food helps with weight loss, but there's more writing you can do to help combat those cravings. When the urge strikes, grab that journal and write down the details. What exactly are you craving? Are you truly hungry, or is an emotion driving your hunger? How did you feel after the last time you indulged in that craving? Was it worth it? If you're not up for this approach (it's not for everyone), I still recommend keeping track of everything you eat along with the calorie counts. Knowing you have to tally up the calories in eight Reese's Minis could be enough to stop you in your tracks!

Carry a water bottle with you at all times. We often mistake thirst for hunger or a craving to eat something. If you have H2O on hand at all times, you can stop those cravings before they take over. There are some really cute refillable bottles over on Amazon. Grab one, and fill 'er up! Before giving into a craving, force yourself to down 8 oz. of water and wait 5 minutes. There's a good chance that craving will pass! P.S. If you have trouble gulping down water, here are some tips 'n tricks.

Stock up on lower-calorie swaps for the foods you crave. Sometimes, the only way to outsmart a craving is to feed it. We've all got diet villains that threaten to throw us off track. (Mine are salty, crunchy snacks.) Identify the foods and flavors you crave the most, and then find smart, satisfying substitutes. Instead of potato chips and pretzels, I go for seaweed snacks (I'm obsessed with SeaSnax Chomperz Crunchy Seaweed Chips) and Jicachips (you've GOT to try 'em!). If it's chocolate you can't live without, check out these 22 fixes with 100 calories or less. The key is to keep these swaps handy, so you don't cave to fattening foods when those cravings hit. Plug your personal cravings into the search bar on the HG website for a slew of solutions!

Get in front of it with these strategies, and those cravings won't stand a chance!

Chew on this:

It's January 11th, which means it's National Milk Day. Wondering which type of milk or milk swap is right for you? Wonder no more...

You're not the only one who needs craving-busting solutions. Click "Send to a Friend" to help everyone out!

Have a Question for Hungry Girl?

Send it in! She answers new Qs each week (but cannot respond to emails personally).

Social

We may have received free samples of food, which in no way influences whether these products are reviewed favorably, unfavorably, mentioned with indifference, or mentioned at all. Click for more about our editorial and advertising policies.

SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.