Crushing Cravings

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The 5 D's

Linda Crawford, an eating behavior specialist at Green Mountain at Fox Run -- a residential weight and health management center in Ludlow, Vermont -- suggests using a group of strategies she calls "the 5 Ds".

Here's how it works:

When you feel a craving coming on:

Delay giving into it for fifteen minutes. Often the craving will subside. If it doesn't, move on to the next strategy.

Distract yourself from thinking about the food you crave by getting involved in an activity that requires concentration and that is not compatible with eating. Phone a friend, take a warm bath, vacuum the house, pop in a workout video, play music and dance around. Do something, anything that works for you, to take your mind off the urge to eat. You can even read or watch TV, unless these are activities that you associate with eating. If that doesn't work, move on to the next suggestion.

Distance yourself from the food you crave. Go to the gym, take a stroll, walk the dog. Get out of the house and away from the source of your temptation. If you still feel tempted, try the next strategy.

Determine how strong your craving is. How strong is your desire to eat the food in question? It's a good practice to rate your cravings on a scale of 1 to 10. If a craving is very strong, say, a 10, you may want to give in, especially if you have tried all of the previous strategies for dealing with cravings, but you still have a strong urge to taste the food. Now that you've determined you are going to have some of the food you crave, the question is, how much?

Decide what amount of food is reasonable and appropriate. Put a reasonable portion on a plate and return the rest. Eat your portion slowly. Savor every bite. And, most important, don't feel guilty. You've earned it!

Continued on page 3:  Tips to Avoid Cravings


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