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Craving Control: Ride the Waves

Food cravings—intense desires to eat a specific food—come in waves, building in intensity.  If you don’t give in to the craving, it will subside and then gradually build again.  One effective way to manage cravings is to “ride the wave”—distract yourself until the craving passes.  Cravings usually last  no longer than 15-20 minutes.  To manage your cravings, start by delaying the decision to eat for 10 minutes.  During that time, do something that keeps your mind and/or hands occupied: 

– Exercise
– Do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle
– Polish your nails
– Play the piano
– Work in your garden
– Wash your car
– Call a friend
– Take a shower or bath
– Walk your dog
– Organize something
– Send an email
– Clean your house
– Practice tai-chi or yoga
– Knit
– Play solitaire

When the 10 minutes have passed, decide whether you still want to eat that food you are craving.  If so, decide what you will eat (perhaps a lower-fat, lower-calorie version would satisfy your craving) and how much you will eat.   Then measure the appropriate amount and eat slowly and mindfully.

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