How to beat those cravings

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Wednesday, 20 January 2021.
Tagged: cravings, health, healthy eating, healthy weight loss, nutrition

How to beat those cravings
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Many of us have cravings from time to time and for different reasons. One thing is certain, they can sabotage all your best efforts at a healthy diet and/or weight loss. The good news? You CAN beat them. I’ll tell you how.

Four questions to ask yourself

Cravings can undo all your diet and exercise strategies and are worth examining. To figure out WHY you get cravings, ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Why do I get cravings?
  2. What foods do I crave? Sweet (lollies), cold (ice cream), salty (chips), cake (doughnuts)?
  3. At what times does the craving hit? Late in the afternoon? After dinner at night?
  4. What am I doing when the cravings hit? Am I alone and bored? Am I stressed and trying to meet a deadline? Am I not eating enough because I’m trying to lose weight?

Keep a food diary

Keeping a food diary can often show you the pattern behind cravings. Sometimes cravings are a way of comforting ourselves and soothing away anger or resentment. Other times they indicate our meals are not balanced and we’re short on one, or maybe two, essential vitamins or minerals (one theory behind chocolate cravings is that the body is short on copper, and cocoa is a good source). 

Your best insurance against cravings is to make sure you eat healthy balanced meals, with a generous serve of protein and plenty of ‘fill-you-up’ vegetables or salad.  This will help to overcome the physical cause of cravings. Then look at other reasons why you’re using food.Young hungry woman in front of refrigerator craving chocolate pastries.

The four problem foods and how to cope with them

Watch these four worst offenders when you’re trying to eat light and cut down on kilojoules. 

  1. Chocolate 

Chocolate is the single most common cause of a diet breakdown. It’s hard to stop at just one piece of that rich velvety smoothness.  If you feel deprived on a diet without ANY chocolate and you know you’ll eventually break out and have a huge binge on it, then try my Drip Option:

  • Allow yourself two squares or bites of the best quality chocolate you can afford and allow yourself to ENJOY it every day.
  • Sit quietly by yourself and hold one square of it in your mouth.
  • Let it melt in the heat of your mouth and savour every sensation as it does. 

You may find that’s all you need for a fix. But if you’re the sort of person who can’t stop once they smell it, sometimes it’s best NOT to buy any at all. Out of sight, out of mind.  Don’t start in the first place.  

  1. Potato crisps 

Woman Blonde Eating CrispsCrisps, corn chips and other salty snacks are a disaster for anyone trying to eat light.  Yummy, salty and nibbled from a pack.  Once you start, you can’t stop.  Plus, you see them everywhere – at train stations, at vending machines, when you go to buy petrol, at the checkout. 

A small, 50-gram snack pack of potato crisps will halt your diet efforts by 1000 kilojoules (240 Calories) and 15 g of fat. Most of it saturated (unless you pay more for the new crisps cooked in sunflower oil).

Like chocolate, if crisps are a problem binge food for you, either try Drip Option or try to wean your taste buds off them completely. Nutritionally you’ll be doing yourself a favour as there’s not much nutritional value in them.




  1. Wine

A glass of wine adds more kilojoules and undoes more diets than any other beverage! Sure, it’s great to sip at the end of a hectic day but one glass leads to another and, before you know it, there’s three glasses down! Not to mention the nibbles with the wine like cheese and biscuits, not forgetting nuts, pretzels and other salty snacks. 

Like all alcohol, wine loosens diet resolve so you end up eating more than you would. Space out your wine with a diet soft drink or mineral water in between, or save your glass of wine to sip with your meal rather than drinking on an empty stomach. Another alternative is to add soda water to your wine or try one of the ‘alcohol removed’ wines which won’t affect your decision-making powers.

  1.  Muffins and croissants

If you love to stop for a cappuccino or latte, it’s hard to resist something sweet with it. Cake and coffee go together so well, whether it’s a freshly-baked muffin, an almond croissant, Danish pastry, raspberry slice, almond shortbread, baklava or banana bread (even if toasted, it’s still cake!). 

All cakes share the same problem.  They’re high in fat and sugar, deliciously easy to swallow but they don’t fill you up.  So, enjoy the coffee, but say “No” to the muffin on the side.

The bottom line

Cravings are the underlying failure of most diets. So, let’s eliminate one of the main causes of failure. Sort out your cravings once and for all! Buy a simple, inexpensive, ebook which helps explain the different sorts of cravings, why you have them and tells you what you can do to defeat them. Think of it as your tool box of strategies to beat cravings.

Catherine Saxelby About the author

About the Author


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Catherine Saxelby's My Nutritionary

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Catherine Saxelby has the answers! She is an accredited nutritionist, blogger and award-winning author. Her award-winning book My Nutritionary will help you cut through the jargon. Do you know your MCTs from your LCTs? How about sterols from stanols? What’s the difference between glucose and dextrose? Or probiotics and prebiotics? What additive is number 330? How safe is acesulfame K? If you find yourself confused by food labels, grab your copy of Catherine Saxelby’s comprehensive guide My Nutritionary NOW!