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Cravings: Why They Strike, How to Curb Them

Why you’ve just gotta have certain foods -- and how to regain control

Taming Your Desires continued...

Do Something Else. Distract yourself with a non-food-related activity until the craving goes away. “It could be taking a walk or doing pushups or calling a friend," Wansink says. Cravings are fleeting, so they'll diminish or go away within an hour, if not sooner. But don't wait it out passively. An activity that’s "somewhat absorbing" will help you resist, Pelchat says. "Even counting to 10 helps," she says.

Make a Plan. "The most dangerous cravings are the ones that are chronic. Those are going to be the most difficult ones to deal with," Wansink says. Let's say that on most days, around 3 p.m., you crave a jelly doughnut or a big bag of cheese puffs. "In those cases, it can't be a piecemeal, day-by-day strategy," he says. It's better to have a steadfast plan. Make sure to have sugarless gum on hand, ready to pop into your mouth when the craving strikes. Or make it routine to take a walk at that time. You’ll eventually learn to replace that craving, Wansink says.

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Reviewed on December 21, 2011

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