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6 Ways to Control Your Cravings

Whether you're trying to diet, lose weight, or stay in shape, use these smart strategies to watch what you eat and avoid food temptations.

By Jessica Girdwain

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Party buffet
Jason Wilde
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The party buffet is calling your name.

Fight back: Distract yourself. Talk to a guest or help the host. Turning your attention to another activity will keep you from fixating on the food.

Why it works: Cravings live in your short-term memory, which holds only a limited number of things at once. A diversion helps by crowding out the temptation, and your brain is forced to refocus.

In a study from Flinders University in Australia, weight-watchers who were asked to imagine highly desired food and then were immediately exposed to something else (in this case, a flickering computer screen) reported a 30 percent reduction in cravings.

Bonus tip: Eat a healthy snack like an apple before you go to the party. "Distraction works only if you're not feeling unsatisfied," says Roberts. "When you're hungry, cravings are harder to control."

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