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How to Deal with Cravings

This is a discussion on How to Deal with Cravings within the Weight Loss forums, part of the Health | Fitness category; How to Deal with Cravings Ask any dietitian or fitness expert what is the healthiest way to be on a ...

Old 07-29-2011
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How to Deal with Cravings

Ask any dietitian or fitness expert what is the healthiest way to be on a diet and he or she will promptly answer that - no matter what the diet - it's the discipline that matters most. None of us are strangers to the fact that it's tough to stick to a diet when friends offer pizzas or your flat-mate orders in parathas first thing in the morning. But, it IS possible. One can resist temptations and kick out cravings. But first we must understand the concept of cravings and how these sudden cravings are different from hunger.

Difference between hunger and cravings:
Hunger means a painful sensation or a state of extreme physical weakness which is caused by the want of food. It is a direct signal from the body when it is looking for energy. When one is hungry the brain and stomach pass cues to indicate levels of hunger. Craving, though often used along with hunger, is quite different. The literal meaning of craving is "to long for; want greatly; desire eagerly." The food or the thoughts one tends to crave for are not life-saving, nor necessary. Unlike hunger, which can be solved by any food, craving is almost always for a specific type of food item.

Signs of craving:
Signs of craving can vary according to the need of the situation, your mental status and intensity of the moment. They are basically triggered by stress, sadness or boredom. Often, an attachment to a certain kind of food is why one might crave it.

Types of craving:
Craving can be broadly categorized into two parts: physical craving and emotional craving. Physical craving basically means a craving which does not go away easily and just doubles up over time. In this type of craving only the craved food can help in overcoming the craving. On the other hand, an emotional craving is something which is triggered by a wide range of emotions such as happiness, sadness, depression, stress and so on. In such a type of craving, the craving does not double up with time but the emotion does.

Dealing with craving:
In order to effectively deal with craving, first of all understand the kind of craving it is: Physical or emotional. If it is physical craving, try and play games, read a book, give yourself a pedicure, play with your pet or walk with your children, and chances are you will be able to deal with it in 30 minutes or so. However, if you still don’t seem to get over it, then we say give in to your temptation once in a while, but within the strictest moderation. Giving in to your temptation once in a while can make your diet more sustainable.

Here’s how to deal with diet breakers:

• Pizza:
Choose healthy toppings and healthy homemade pizzas, such as healthy eggplant pizza and healthy mushroom and gouda pizza. For accompaniments, choose tortillas instead of white flour starchy bread, as they are healthy and low in calories.

• Ice cream: Who doesn’t love ice cream? Made from dairy products, preservatives and white sugar, ice creams can wreck your weight loss plans. Go for healthy probiotic varieties that are made with skimmed milk and light sugar substitutes. The best option would be to prepare a healthy ice cream at home.

• Deep fried snacks: Replace deep fried evening or mid-morning snacking temptations by eating roasted vegetables, toasted moon dal, roasted or boiled tangy channa, plain murmura.

• Chocolates: Often considered healthy, too much of this deadly sin is sure to add to your waistline. Go for dark chocolates, if you absolutely must eat chocolate. Replace sweet temptations by choosing healthy yogurt desserts, which are not only healthy but great for your sweet tooth.

*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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