Pin It

The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management, a program of the Institute for Lifelong Weight Management – teaching you the skills you need to keep the weight off forever!

Coping with Food Cravings

Food cravings can be difficult to resist!

The first step is to be able to differentiate hunger or desire from a craving. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Hunger: if it’s been at least a couple of hours since you last ate, and your stomach feels empty, and you could feel satisfied if you ate a range of foods (broccoli, fish, fruit), then you are likely experience true physical hunger.

Desire: if your stomach feels reasonably comfortable, but you just feel like eating (and you’re open to eating a variety of foods), then you’re probably experiencing a mere desire to eat.

Craving: if you have a strong urge to eat a particular food or kind of food, with a yearning in your mouth, throat, or body, then you’re probably experiencing a craving.

A variety of factors can result in a craving, including:

– Food characteristics: the smell, sight, and sound of certain foods

– Particular emotional states (sadness, anger, happiness, anxiety)

– Certain activities: watching TV, attending social, sporting or cultural events

– Particular meal settings: restaurants, mom or grandma’s house, outdoors events (barbeques, picnics)

– Special or significant events: holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, parties, weekends or days off, anniversaries of losses or other traumatic events

– A particular time of day

– A particular type of weather

Tips for Resisting Cravings

A. Delay:

1. Rate the strength of the craving from 1-10.

2. Set an alarm for 15 minutes and commit to not acting on the craving till it goes off. During that time, remind yourself of your motivation for not acting on the craving.

3. When the alarm goes off, rate the strength of the craving again. If it’s come down to a manageable level and you’re confident that you won’t act on it, go about your day. If not, repeat steps a. and b. Delay usually works, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be repeating the steps.

B. Distance:

Create distance between your usual cravings and your ability to act on them. Example: remove trigger foods from your home; stay away from stores that sell your trigger food; avoid looking at pictures of your trigger food – instead, distract yourself with something else.

C, Pros and Cons:

Identify your options, and think about the short-term and long-term Pros and Cons of giving into your craving.

D. Breath-based relaxation exercises: slow, deep abdominal breathing

Try different combinations of these strategies to see what works best for you.

Please share your experiences with cravings and craving control with me and with other readers by commenting on this post.

“Craving control success is making a craving go away completely, even if only for a moment” – Pavel Somov, Ph.D., author of Eating the Moment

To learn more about effective weight management strategies, join my next weight management class, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management. For details, visit

For frequent updates on this topic and related topics on weight management and motivation, follow me on Facebook and on Pinterest: Institute for Lifelong Weight Management; On Twitter and Instagram: InstituteForLWM.

Join me for my free Teleseminar on Sunday, January 11th at 12 noon Central Standard Time. For details, call-in information, and to register, visit

Email me if you’d like to receive my monthly newsletter “News you can Use” and my free “Tip of the Month”:

With your continued health in mind,

Doreen Lerner, Ph.D.

Director, The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management

Creator, The Full Mind Weigh™ to Lifelong Weight Management

The Institute for Lifelong Weight Management provides education and training. The Full Mind Weigh™ is strictly an educational program and is not a substitute for medical or psychological evaluation or treatment. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder, please consult with a qualified mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat eating disorders.