NEW YORK - The holiday season means temptation is everywhere, from chocolates at the office to cookies from the neighbours. If you’re prone to binge eating and food cravings - which can be a real addiction that affects the same areas of the brain as drug cravings - this is a particularly tough time of year. But with a little planning, you can outwit your appetite.
Eat a protein-rich breakfast:
Some protein - like eggs, yogurt, or nuts - in the morning helps prevent overeating later in the day, a new study from the University of Missouri finds. Protein keeps you satisfied so you’ll be less tempted by goodies. Eat this to fend off a snack attack and flatten your belly.
Especially when you crave chocolate. A quick walk will curb even major chocoholic cravings in just 15 minutes. It works by stimulating feel-good brain chemicals.
Avoid trigger foods
You’re less likely to be tempted by the foods you crave if you keep them out of your environment. Banish them from your house. If enticing treats lurk in the office lunchroom, stay out. When you grocery shop, make a list (stick to it!), and avoid aisles with the foods you lust.
Beware of the TV
Adults (and kids) eat more snack foods after watching TV shows loaded with food ads. Instead, hit the mute button and do sit-ups or even just step in place during commercials. You’ll burn a few calories and switch off cravings, too.
Chewing gum may not help you lose weight, but it can help quell cravings so you don’t overeat and gain weight, according to a new study in the journal Obesity. Choose sugar-free gum to safeguard your teeth. Use this simple trick to eat 14% less.
Think before you eat
If you repeatedly imagine eating a food you crave, you’ll eat less of it, according to research from Carnegie Mellon University. So before you dig into that dish of red and green M&Ms, imagine eating them one at a time.
Take that thoughtful approach a step further and spend just seven minutes a day focusing on, accepting, and experiencing your cravings rather than trying to ignore or suppress them. Dieters who meditate have far fewer food cravings and resist them better than dieters who skip meditation practice.
Feeling anxious, depressed, or just under too much pressure? Stress is a common source of food cravings. Depression, in particular, is linked with eating lots of chocolate. Find a healthier way to cope with your stress. Exercise can help you ease stress — and cravings. Is stress making your cholesterol worse?
Give in - wisely
Mind games and other strategies aren’t always enough to help you dodge a craving. Trying to stifle a really intense yen sometimes means that when you finally cave, you binge. Instead, enjoy one little cookie now to save you from eating 30 later. But eat mindfully, relish every bite, and move on.