Decadent hot-fudge brownie sundaes, greasy chili cheese fries, and ooey-gooey pizza — sometimes it's hard to resist the temptation of these delicious, high-calorie, sodium- and sugar-laden foods. If your junk-food cravings are taking over and it's affecting your mood or your weight-loss goals, here are some ways to control your desire for not-so-healthy foods.
- Set some limits: Going cold turkey and restricting yourself from every single type of crave-worthy junk food may be asking a bit too much (translation: you're bound to go crazy from want and overindulge). Start off with small limitations such as no artificial sweeteners or no soda, and then add to your list of no-nos as you feel ready.
- Indulge on the good stuff: Allow yourself one small indulgence each day to avoid feeling deprived, which can heighten cravings even more. Forget low-quality, cheapo junk when cravings strike. Choose treats made with real, rich ingredients like a dark-chocolate-covered strawberry or full-fat ice cream — you're more likely to feel satisfied after a few bites of the good stuff, which means consuming less calories, fat, and sugar.
- Find healthier alternatives: If you know yourself well enough that it's not possible to eat just a little without wanting more and more, whip up some healthier options of your faves, minus the guilt. You'll feel much better devouring these low-calorie desserts — all delicious and under 150 calories. If pizza is your thrill, try these healthier slices. And instead of french fries or potato chips, these baked tofu squares are a lower-fat way to satisfy your salty cravings.
- Use the power of a goal: Got a big trip or wedding coming up? Or maybe having to sport short skirts in a couple months is incentive enough. Use the power of a goal to keep cravings at bay. Every time you want to reach for a bag of chips, think about how delicious a healthier you will feel in that bikini or strapless number.
- Change bad habits: Sometimes there are certain events or places that kick cravings into gear, so identify what sets you off so you can avoid it or start a new habit. If you can't pick up your morning coffee at the local café without grabbing an icing-covered scone as well, make your cup of joe at home. If you always reach for a pint of ice cream when you sit down for some late-night TV, make yourself a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit instead. After some time, these new habits will take over, miraculously diminishing your old ones.
- Limit the booze: Alcohol impairs your judgment, making you more apt to say yes to anything edible. Stick to a one-drink-a-day policy to not only curb your junk-food cravings but to also reduce your risk for certain types of cancers.
- Get enough z's: When we're tired and don't have time for a nap, we tend to reach for a high-calorie pick-me-up. Get to sleep early enough so you feel so energized that you don't need a soda or cookie to pep you up.