Play a game on your smartphone
Cravings typically last for 10 minutes so try to distract yourself with something simple like playing a game on your phone. In a study published in 2015 in Addictive Behaviors, volunteers reported that playing the video game Tetris reduced the intensity of their cravings for alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, food and activities such as sex and gaming. “Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery,” says study co-author Jackie Andrade, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Plymouth in Plymouth, UK. “It is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time.” Make sure you know what your food cravings can reveal about your health.
Take a walk
iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
Research has shown that exercise reduces the urge for chocolate in normal weight people. One study published in 2015 in PLoS One found that walking briskly for 15 minutes reduced cravings for sugary snacks in overweight people.
Consider the consequences
A 2014 study from researchers at Brown University had participants use four different strategies to overcome the urge to eat: distract themselves by thinking about something other than food; accept their thoughts as something that need not be acted upon; focus on immediate reward of the food; or focus on negative long-term consequences of eating the food. The last approach reduced participants’ cravings the most. If you’re dieting, here are 6 ways to curb pesky cravings without skipping a meal.