Uh-oh—you just started a new diet, but your mouth is watering for a juicy burger, salt-soaked fries, and a giant soda. If you take one bite, you know that your resolve will come tumbling down. What to do?
Dealing with food temptation can be tough. We hear ya! Junk food cravings come in every shape and size, but all are scientifically proven physiological reactions that shouldn’t be ignored.
Of the many ways to steer clear of processed fare—and here’s how to train your brain to hate the junk—there’s one that stands out from the rest. And luckily for dieters everywhere, it couldn’t be simpler. (These science-backed tips to stop your strongest food cravings can’t hurt, either.)
The solution: Eating just one raisin very, very slowly.
Sounds crazy, right? But it can actually work, according to Dr. Leslie Korn, an expert in mental-health nutrition and author of the new cookbook The Good Mood Kitchen. Korn says that the process of mindfully eating a grape releases chemicals that can curb your worst cravings.
To try it for yourself, start by picking up a raisin and examining its various dips and grooves. You can sniff it, too. While you do so, pay attention to your body’s reaction, such as a watering mouth or rumbling stomach, for example.
Next, place the raisin on your tongue and move it around in your mouth, inspecting the fruit’s texture. As you slowly chew the raisin, take note of its soft center and various flavors. Then swallow it, and stay still as you imagine the fruit moving through your body, all the way down to your stomach. Finally, ask yourself a simple question: “What does my body really need?”
That’s it! In five minutes or less (and for just a few calories), you just said adiós to your appetite. How? “The raisin exercise couples our awareness with our ability to exert control over our ‘automatic’ reactions,” Korn told The New York Post. Translation: You are teaching your body to say no to late night binge eating. (But if you absolutely have to munch in the p.m., here’s what to eat.)
This practice of mindful eating launches a chemical reaction called parasympathetic dominance, which slows your heart rate and breathing. Levels of an anti-anxiety neurotransmitter called GABA also rise, which stabilizes your appetite and improves digestion later on (like during your next meal or snack).
Although Korn recommends using a raisin due to its unique taste and texture, she says that munching on a small bite of almost anything could do the trick. So if you don’t have a raisin in the pantry, these healthy snacks can satisfy every craving, too.
[Source: The New York Post]