Make Over Your Motivation
Week 2: K.O. Cravings
Congrats! Seven days down and you're still with the program. Next challenge: Squelching the urge to splurge. "Cravings worsen during the second week of a diet," says Elisa Zied, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson and the author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips. It's partly physical -- your body isn't used to running on fewer calories -- and partly psychological. Suddenly, treats become more desirable simply because they're off-limits.Stick-with-It Strategies for Week 2 Downsize your sweet tooth.
Adjust your palate by reducing sweets to only 10 percent of your caloric intake. So if you eat 1,600 calories a day, allow yourself a 160-calorie indulgence (about six Hershey's Kisses or a half cup of Dreyer's Grand Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream). "Giving up too much makes you feel deprived," Zied says. "By gradually cutting back on sweets, you'll eventually stop craving them.
Tempted to make a beeline for the candy machine? Tweet an S.O.S., suggests Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition at Washington University in Saint Louis. You might write, "Candy bar craving! Need ideas for healthy alternatives." You'll be bombarded with supportive, encouraging words.
Pining for a peanut butter cup? Take a hike. "Exercise eases stress and distracts you from thinking about food," says Heather Chambliss, PhD, a professor at the University of Memphis specializing in health behavior and exercise motivation. In a recent study in the journal Appetite, a 15-minute stroll reduced cravings in chocoholics, perhaps because exercise boosts levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain. Another study found that working out may release satiety hormones that keep your appetite in check for a full 24 hours.Picture a new you.
Find an old snapshot of yourself that you love and post it on your fridge as a reminder of your goal for when the munchies hit. Keeping images of a trimmer you top of mind may help you think like a thin person, making it easier to choose healthy foods and toss out negative thoughts that could sabotage your diet, Perlmuter says.
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