Ideas for Tackling Food Cravings?

As I was reading blogs this morning I came across a post about strategies to tackle food demons, and I started thinking about what I can do to control my own cravings.

I often crave food when I’m not hungry.  In my mind it doesn’t matter if I’m happy, sad, stressed, lonely, bored, etc.  My mind automatically assumes that situations will be more gratifying if food is involved, and I’ve been attempting to change that mindset for years.  I still have a lot of work to do.

I did a little research (thank you, Google) and came up with a few ways to beat cravings that I can imagine working, and I am going to start implementing them right now.

Brush your teeth – I can see this working because I don’t like to eat anything for a while after I brush my teeth.  I can also whiten them because that means no eating for at least two hours, but I certainly can’t do that every time I have a craving.  i don’t want my teeth to be so white that they glow in the dark. 😉

Avoid your triggers – Jeez.  This one is tough because so many things make me want to eat junk, but I get the point.  Last week I picked up my old friend, Clint ( aka The Suit) at the airport, and his flight didn’t come in until after midnight.  I had some time to kill so as I was driving past Krispy Kreme, I decided to order a doughnut.

Krispy Kreme Metairie

I avoid this place most of the time because it’s so easy to convince myself that I need to buy more than one doughnut, but that night I reminded myself that the gratification of the doughnut would make me feel good for about 30 seconds before it made me feel bloated, lethargic and regretful.  I left the parking lot…doughnut-less, and I felt like I had won a battle within myself.

Drink  water – I drink a lot of water, but it’s hot in New Orleans so I won’t hurt myself if I drink more than that.  I keep a few 32 oz. bottles filled at all times, and it’s fairly easy to drink one quickly.  I usually feel full for a while after that, but I also feel like I did something good for myself, thus making it a little bit easier to pass on the junk food.

Keep it out of your environment – I cleaned out my fridge last week and got rid of most of the things that aren’t good for me.  I have a pint of ice cream in the freezer, but it’s not a trigger for me.  I have a serving from time to time, but I’m usually okay with that.  I don’t keep chips or candy in my place most of the time, and when I bake, I get it out of my house quickly too.

It’s easier for me to succeed when I have healthy choices available instead of unhealthy ones which leads me to my next strategy…

Plan – When I chop veggies for stir fry or roasting, I eat them.   When I boil eggs so I have a quick snack, I eat them.  When I come up with new, delicious ideas like a banana + 1 tbps of freshly ground almond butter, I eat that.

Exercise – I don’t mean that you should hit the gym every single time you crave a cupcake (although that may not be a bad idea for me.)  I mean, if you’ve made time to exercise, it’s a little easier to remind yourself that you’re doing good things for your body.  Maybe it’s a good idea to do three sets of jumping jacks, planks or something similar instead of eating, but that won’t always be a realistic option.  I mean, the folks at Starbucks might look at me like I’m crazy if I start doing lunges when I’m craving baked goods.  (I just ten avoid them there.)

Having healthy options that I like allows me to eat food that tastes good which reminds me that I’m doing this because I can, not because I have to.

Eat regularly – I know that when I eat breakfast and exercise that I will likely have a healthy day.  I also know that when  I avoid eating until late afternoon, I’ll eat too much at that point so it’s important to eat in a timely way.

I realize that there must be a zillion other ways to fight cravings so I’d like to ask YOU to offer some advice on this.  My question is…

What strategies do you use to avoid cravings?

Or is there something that you think might work that we should try?

Many of you have learned how to deal with this successfully, but I’d like to think that I’m not the only one who still fights with myself to say no to overeating.

I’m working on this, and I’d like to know if you are too.  I’d also like to hear your ideas too so please take a moment to share them.

 

 

 

32 thoughts on “Ideas for Tackling Food Cravings?

  1. Grace @ Grace Dishes

    I definitely tackle cravings with some of the methods you mentioned above.

    A few other things that helped me
    1. Weigh myself. This definitely kept me focused especially in the beginning of my journey
    2. Keep myself busy. I normally crave things when I’m bored so if my schedule is action packed, I don’t have time to dwell on cravings.
    3. Distractions.
    4. Analyze why I’m cravings this food. Is it because I saw it on TV. Did someone mention it. Am I lacking something in my current plan.
    5. Look up the calorie count and nutritional value of the food item you are craving. Nothing like a crazy high number to make you walk away especially after you calculate how many minutes of exercise it would take to burn it off.
    6. If after all of the things you listed and some of my tools I listed don’t work, I indulge and move on.

    If the craving is something I can replicate at home, I make it for myself. I find it’s healthier when I can recreate it at home.

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      I really need to concentrate on #2 and #3 because I have some pretty awesome hobbies that I haven’t been jumping into lately.

      You shared so many awesome suggestions..thank you, Grace.

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  2. Gail

    Oh, you know I work on it, every hour of every day. (But come to think of it, I’m good during daylight hours; the food monster only comes out after 9 p.m.) My problem is I don’t have any trigger foods — food is my trigger food. I’ve been thinking about how to slay the Nighttime Eating Monster a lot lately, especially since I’m at my lowest weight in 15 years right now. I think a lot of it has to do with making sure your actual meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) have enough calories and nutrition so that you are satiated during the evening hours. I tend to skimp on breakfast and lunch, have a “diet-sized” dinner and then spend the evening ravenous. So my latest tactic is to use up pretty much all my calories before dinner, leaving me just enough for a decent-sized dinner. Then I pronounce the kitchen CLOSED. Is it working? Ehhhh, I did eat some watermelon last night but that’s better than scavenging for leftovers.

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      The food monster comes out at the same time here. I bet they’re friends too.

      But seriously, you just made a great point about eating enough so I don’t overeat…

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  3. Amber

    Cravings are so challenging! Planning ahead and being “Smart not Strong” are huge for me. So I often keep different flavors of Extra dessert gum in my bag, desk and car. Sometimes just having the flavor of something plus being able to chew really helps. Normally I hate gum, but since I have been working on losing weight I will chew for 10 min. or so and then the craving usually passes. Also, I use ‘Thought-Stoppers” to help with cravings. When I am craving, I will usually insert a visual image or mantra in my mind to help remind myself to get through the moment. When all else fails, I keep a jar of baby pickles handy and will eat one. Minimal calories, satisfying crunch, and the vinegar/dill flavor usually kills the craving.

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  4. Stephanie @ Athlete at Heart

    I definitely struggle with overeating and mindless munching. If boredom while you are watching TV or whatever at night is an issue (it is for me) I try to keep my hands busy. I’ll cross stitch or knit while I watch TV or play with my dog or anything that occupies my hands. It keeps them out of the proverbial candy jar!

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      I knit too, and that’s a great idea. I used to do a lot more, and I’m not sure why I stopped..There’s a basket of yarn sitting by my sofa at all times.

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  5. Kay

    I keep safe snacks around, especially at the office which is where I have most of my trouble. It’s a trigger disaster area.

    You’re so right–if it’s in my fridge, I’ll eat it. That goes for good food and bad. So the moral of that? Keep only the good stuff in there.

    I also try and analyze what’s really going on if I’m suddenly moving like a programmed missile toward the cookie storage in our office: what am I really feeling? Am I bored? Usually. So I go look for somebody to talk to for a few minutes, or take a walk around the building with my camera. That usually fixes me.
    –Kay
    http://ninemonthsofrain.blogspot.com

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  6. Julie

    I get bored really easily, so different things work for me at different times.

    Here’s whats working for me right now.

    I keep any and ALL trigger foods out of the house!! That way, I am less tempted to binge, and if I REALLY want something, I have to leave the house to get it. Gives me time to really think about if I want it or not.

    Set a timer for 10 minutes. Use that time to think about the pros and cons of eating whatever you might be considering eating. If at the end of 10 minutes, you still want it? Eat it. Most likely, you won’t.

    Eat a variety of foods. For me, it helps me to NOT really crave anything. All things in moderation.

    I was, however, recently craving a bagel and cream cheese, so I drove to Panera,(directly from my WW Meeting!) and ordered the blueberry bagel and the hazelnut cream cheese. I sat down, looked up the points, decided half was all that I really needed, and as much as I HATE to do this, I threw away half of the bagel and half of the cream cheese. I was pleased with myself and satisfied with only half.

    I think a variety of foods though, is what is helping me the most!

    Good luck! Stay strong!

    Julie

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  7. 2Momma2

    Brushing my teeth with my 2-year-old has been a part of my plan so I won’t snack at night. I find a lot of reasons to not do it, which is part of the problem… But it is something I try to do! I don’t always succeed at this one either, but I also try to make myself complete some task before giving in to a craving. When I’m on, this is actually a really good tool for me because it keeps me moving and I get stuff accomplished. Also, I will start making a meal or healthy snack if I’m craving something unhealthy – even just planning my healthy meal helps a little.

    Good luck fighting off those cravings – it soooo hard! I wish I was better at it too!

    Kristin
    Likea2-year-old.blogspot.com

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      I’m going to try the task completion thing as well. That’s smart. I also like the timer suggestion that Julie mentioned above.

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  8. Laurie

    This has definitely been an on-going thing for me. I’ve liked to lie to myself in the past and say cravings are just a way of your body telling you what it wants. Since doing the Whole30/Paleo cleanse, cravings have been crazy. I’m not one of the lucky ones that can say they all go away during the process. However, since I’ve made a commitment to 30 days of this, they’ve actually been easiesh to ignore. I accept that I have them, but I have a rule in place for 30 days, and I don’t give in. I’m sure it’s entirely some sort of head-psych thing, but it has worked for me.

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  9. Airlie

    I sniff one of those Vicks inhalers because the smell makes the smell of other food go away, chew gum or put on smelly flavoured lipgloss. I love your suggestions though!

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  10. Bonita Gordita

    Great topic, great suggestions. I don’t really have any to add that haven’t been said. For me abstinence (keeping it out of the house and out of my mouth) works. Especially for sweets. I just don’t crave them if I don’t eat them (in any form). My exception is I will go for some sugar free ones during my TOM. But I haven’t had desserts or sugary anything in a long time. That’s really helped in every aspect.

    Brushing teeth in the evening, and/or hopping right in bed keeps me honest. The less evening wine I have, the less I eat. If I get in the routine of brushing teeth and heading to bed to read or watch TV, I’m less likely to nighttime snack.

    Cravings are hard, because you’re convinced you NEED something, and it’s a mind over matter.

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      Mind over matter…yep. I know you’re right. I have the start convincing myself that it’s still right late in the evening.

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  11. Chris Barnes

    Willpower. .. yep

    When I was losing weight I was working a few jobs one of them was at a gas station/ convienience store. I had chips and candy bars everywhere for free. . In 6 months know how many I had? 0

    The weight loss was the gratification I needed.

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      I’m not particularly taunted by chips or candy bars, but I get the point. Pretty sure you’re just better than most..Good for you.

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  12. Mary

    Hi Kenlie:
    My food craving is just food! Anything at anytime, mostly, although certainly I have trigger foods as well, have to keep them out of the house. My biggest downfall was evening/nighttime eating. I tried to just say no but it didn’t work too well, so I thought, oh well, if I’m going to eat late in the day, better just plan for it. I’m on Weight Watchers, so now I don’t just allow myself 2 or 3 points for end of day eating, I actually am eating around 4 to 5 points, but I am trying to really make them count, for instance: 3 egg whites (1 pt plus), or a salad with ff dressing and some chopped chicken (2 pts plus), or an actual sandwich with WW bread, Dijon and ham slices (3 pts plus), you get the picture. Sometimes a combination! Working well so far and am actually not dipping into my weekly points nearly as much doing this as before.

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    1. Kenlie Post author

      Great job, Mary. It sounds like you’re making excellent progress. I love WW for that reason…

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  13. Jess

    I’m going to try these tips out, thanks for sharing!! I know that it has some calories, but I find that if I’m chewing gum or something it helps me from eating.

    Also I nominated you for the versatile award. It’s just a fun little thing you can do. If you’re interested it’s posted here. http://slowlyshrinkingme.com/?p=400

    <3

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  14. Tracy

    This is a big one for me! I eat mindlessly, a lot. Which I’ve been more aware of this month since I started back on WW (July 1st). If it’s late enough, I simply to go bed. But that isn’t always a good option.

    I definitely keep trigger/red light foods out of my house. That means chips and crackers for me. I’m usually OK with sweets and stuff. In fact, there’s a thing of Tillamook ice cream in my freezer right now, and it’s been there for a few weeks.

    I’ll also brush my teeth and drink water. Those are usually my best way to beat back the need to eat. That, and do something with my hands – usually cross stitch!

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  15. Sarah@makingitmyhome.blogspot.com

    I tend to do well during the day but once I am home, I can raid the kitchen like nobodies business. I also found that I have much more self control at the grocery store than at home so I just don’t buy the nhealthy stuff that I can’t control…cookies, chocolate, ice cream.. To battle it during the day, I pack a variety of healthy snack options and take with me so I won’t drive through someplace and get a chocolate donut or candy bar at the convenience store. And I chew gum (similar to brushing teeth) when I am home, I do my best to stay out of the kitchen so I am not tempted to binge eat.

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  16. Lisa

    My office has a horrid candy drawer (everything you can imagine) and what helps me is chewing gum! Then I don’t crave chocolate and candy.

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