What’s another big thing on every woman’s mind? Staying thin! All around us we see magazines of models and actresses of women who are thin and they make it look easy. What most us don’t know is that these women have professional trainers and time to train for hours a day to keep those bodies looking that way. Not to mention they eat some pretty weird things at time.
Right now I am not going to talk about a specific diet. Instead I am going to give you some advice on how to curb those annoying cravings that always seem to pop up and knock us off the wagon. We feel so great when we are eating healthy, but when we give in to even one craving we feel let down and than it all goes down hill from there. Jana Klauer, author of “How the Rich Get Thin”, tells us what to do to get rid of the cravings.
Once you have recognized that you have cravings and how they can sabotage your diet, it is time to get them under control. Time will be our ally in this task as we recognize the following simple fact: A craving generally lasts only 8 to 14 minutes. Refusing to give in to a craving will feel somewhat uncomfortable but it will pass. We are not talking about days or hours, only minutes! You need to realize consciously that these few minutes can make the difference between success and failure on a diet. There is power in this knowledge because it allows us to take action to regain control.
I have come up with a technique that I use in my clinical practice to help my patients gain control over their cravings.
First, identify the time of day that you are experiencing cravings. This will allow you to prepare for them by having a healthful snack at hand. Cravings are cyclical in nature. You may intuitively be aware of this hunger pattern but some people are not. I can almost guarantee that there will be a certain time of day when you are more vulnerable to allowing your appetite to go haywire but, if you identify this, you can control it. The typical time span of most food cravings is 8 to 14 minutes. I know it feels longer, but as Einstein told us, “Time is relative.” Knowing that a craving is limited in duration will give you the power to ride through it.
The Stop! Watch! Method
When a craving arises I ask my patients to set a stopwatch (which I provide) for fifteen minutes; during this time they are advised to drink a large glass of water and eat a protein snack. This allows their blood glucose to become normalized (if it had dropped) and, by “waiting out” the urge, they gain control. It sounds simple but it does work. We have all experienced this phenomenon: on the treadmill, when we want to stop with ten minutes to go and we just count down the minutes; when sitting in a boring lecture and we watch the minutes tick away until the time that the class is over; or even when we give children a “time out” when they are having a tantrum.
All of these situations have the same idea: holding on until a specific amount of time elapses. A stopwatch quantifies the time that a craving lasts. And for a dieter to know that there are only a few minutes left is enormously helpful! Drink a big glass of water. Because our brain may misinterpret the signal for thirst as a signal for hunger, drinking water eliminates unrecognized thirst from the picture. You may just be thirsty, so go for the water first. Drinking a glass of water is filling and good for you, too.
Have a protein snack. If the snack that you chose is in the form of a high-tryptophan source, which include turkey and dairy products, then so much the better. L-tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that impacts satiety, mood, and cravings. Recall how relaxed you feel after having turkey at Thanksgiving dinner, or how soundly you slept after having a glass of milk prior to retiring. These effects are due to the calming action of serotonin.
Your snack should be a food that will benefit your body and that you find satisfying. By the latter, I mean there are times when you might want a food with a creamy consistency, in such a case, low-fat yogurt is a great choice. At other times, you may desire a crunchy texture, here I would suggest baby carrots or raw celery stalks. And don’t forget to drink at least one 8-ounce glass of water; this assures that you are not misinterpreting the signal for thirst as a hunger signal.
Purchase a stopwatch and try these techniques. They will lead you to the realization that you are powerful and that your willpower is stronger than you now believe. After a month or so you may not need the stopwatch because you will have truly overcome the lure of cravings. You will find that the power was within you all along and you just needed to stop and watch for it to appear.
Stop! Watch! Method Summary
1. Set your watch or a timer for 15 minutes
2. Drink a large glass of water
3. Eat a high-protein snack
So let’s all give it a try and see what kind of results we can get from it. It’s inexpensive and easy to do and it could make all the difference. I’ll try it along with you and maybe we can finally feel good every day and not feel guilty!