Take a walk
iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
A University of Exeter study found that walking briskly for 15 minutes reduced cravings for chocolate—the most commonly reported food craving—during the walk and for at least 10 minutes afterward. The researchers say exercise could alter brain chemicals that help regulate cravings.
Consider the consequences
One study had participants use four different thinking strategies to overcome the urge to eat: thinking about something else, recognizing they don’t need to act on their thoughts, considering the negative long-term effects, or considering the immediate reward of the food. Remembering the long-term consequences of eating the food reduced the craving the most, the study found. If you’re dieting, here are 6 ways to curb pesky cravings without skipping a meal.
Imagine yourself eating
iStock/Sjoerd van der Wal
If you do give in to the urge to eat, a bit of imagination before digging in can help satisfy your craving sooner. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University had participants imagine putting quarters in a laundry machine or eating M&Ms before eating the candies in real life. Those who imagined eating 30 M&Ms and inserting quarters three times ate significantly fewer chocolates than those who imagined adding 30 quarters and eating three M&Ms, or just putting 33 quarters in the machine. The researchers guess that imagining yourself chowing down makes you feel like you’ve already eaten, so you’ll be able to stop eating sooner. Follow these 10 ways to train your brain to hate junk food.