Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Way to Deal With Food Cravings

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Decode Your Cravings

Find out what your must-have-now urges mean and how you can control them.
Decode Your Cravings
Cravings — those intense desires to eat a particular food, strong enough that you may go out of your way to get it — are complex urges that some 97 percent of women and 68 percent of men experience, according to a survey conducted at Canada's McMaster University in Ontario.Researchers know we have cravings, but they still don't know exactly why. "We do know there are strong psychological components to food cravings," says clinical psychologist Susan Head, PhD. "A craving can mean you're being too restrictive, and that it might be a good idea to start planning on eating more foods you enjoy."
"Cravings can also be emotional." Your food craving may be triggered by negative feelings, such as stress, anxiety, anger, guilt and low self-worth. "Such feelings often make people crave certain foods, since food tends to be associated with pleasure," says Head. Some cravings might even be brought on by happy feelings. Has celebrating with friends and family ever made you want to eat?
4 steps to controlling a craving
It is possible to manage your cravings in a healthy way.

1. Distract yourself 
When you notice a craving setting in, find something else to think about. Take a walk, listen to your favorite playlist, call a friend. Just set your mind to something else. If that doesn't work and after 10 to 15 minutes your craving's still kicking, move on to step 2.

2. Trick your brain
Try eating the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie variety of the item you're craving. If you find yourself wanting sweets like chocolate, for example (a frequently-craved food, according to studies), opt for nonfat chocolate frozen yogurt instead of chocolate cake. If you're prone to over-doing it, however, don't bring the coveted food into the house, no matter how low-fat or fat-free it is. Instead, go out for your frozen yogurt and order a single-serving cone or cup.

3. Feed the craving 
If faking it doesn't work for you — say you're still craving something truly decadent, such as peanut butter chocolate ice cream or a burger — go out and get some. Just order from the kids' menu.

4. Dig deeper 
If cravings linger, get at the root of them. Have you been too restrictive? If you suspect so, plan your meals differently, including more variety and more foods you enjoy in your diet. Is there something going on in your life that's making you anxious, angry or stressed? If that's the case, face the issue head on. For example, if you're worried about an upcoming meeting at work, do your best to prepare for it. By being proactive and making yourself aware of why you may be craving a certain food, you may just make that craving disappear.

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