Beat your cold weather cravings: 8 effective techniques

The foods you crave are likely to be high in sugar, fats and carbohydrates — such as pizza, chocolate, cake and chips . Cravings can derail your efforts at weight control and may lead to binge eating, but you can learn how to manage them and stay on course with these tips.

  • Enjoy a small portion. Don’t give up these foods. In your overall healthy diet, include a small portion of the less healthy foods you crave. Better to enjoy a square of chocolate than to avoid it altogether.
  • Eat something healthy first. It’s often easier to eat less of the food you’re craving if you’re not ravenously hungry.
  • Keep the food you crave out of the house. Buy the item only when you plan to eat it, or order it at a restaurant.
  • Change your mental picture. When you experience a craving, replace the image of the food with a picture of yourself doing your favorite activity or some other pleasant image.
  • Distract yourself. Food cravings usually pass after 20 minutes. Try taking a walk or talking to a friend.
  • Chew gum. Chewing sugarless gum reduces hunger and cravings for sweet and salty snacks.
  • Get enough sleep and exercise. These habits help lower your levels of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite. Lack of sleep can lead to food cravings and overeating.
  • Substitute a healthier option. Satisfy your craving for something smooth and creamy with something low-fat or fat-free, such as yogurt, pureed fruit or buttermilk. Eat a piece of fruit as a healthy sweet snack.

Experiment to see which strategies work best for you so that you can control your cravings — not the other way around.

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