A craving is like a telemarketer...
The first few times it calls, you firmly but politely tell it to go away. But it's relentless, ringing you at the most unexpected times, giving you a sales pitch about how satisfying, delicious, and life-affirming it will be. A week or so of this and you're almost ready to buy the product just to get the telemarketer to leave you alone. But buying the product once will only make the calls come again, sooner and more frequent.
Learn to think of your cravings in this way, as an annoyance that will pass in a few minutes. Don't buy into the sales pitch.
When a craving does come calling, here's your action plan. We'll use a hankering for a slice of pizza as our example here.
1. Acknowledge it.
Silently say, "Hello slice-of-pizza craving! I was wondering when you'd show up!" This sounds silly but you'll be surprised how much simply confronting the feeling will make it skitter back to the shadows. It's when we try to suppress thoughts that they become hard to ignore.
For example, right now, no matter what, don't think about a pink elephant. DO NOT think about that pink elephant! What's the matter with you, we said stop thinking about a pink elephant! What picture is indelibly in your mind now? Trying to shove a craving down has a similar result, the thought pattern will only make it stronger. Bring the craving out into the open. Talk about it, blog about it, expose is to some sunlight and it'll wither.
2. Do something.
If you're at work, go talk to a friend or coworker. Start on a report. Organize your work space. If you're at home, wash the dishes. Fix that squeaky cabinet door. The brain isn't good at multi-tasking. If you give it something else to do you'll find the craving passes without you even noticing it. Plus, your house and office will also start looking cleaner than ever!
3. Eat a fruit or vegetable.
If you're really having a tough time with a craving, eat a vegetable or piece of fruit. You'll be amazed at how effective this is. Even though you know very well that it isn't a slice of pizza, something about the act of chewing and swallowing something takes the edge of any craving.
Don't worry about any extra grams this might bring to your diet. An extra fruit or vegetable that defuses a pizza splurge is well worth it.
4. Make a date.
If you've got a craving that comes calling again and again, write it down on a list of things you'll eat for your first Kenzai indulgence (coming soon!). Know that you can have that slice of pizza when the time comes. You might be surprised that when you finally get the chance to indulge how completely uninterested you are in the foods you've put on your list!
So there you have it. Acknowledge the craving. Do something else.
Eat a fruit or vegetable if it persists, and finally make a date with it in the event it doesn't stop bugging you. That should get you through.