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The 5 D's for Managing Cravings

Cravings, we all get them. They are defined as “a powerful desire for something”. For a lot of us, this “something” is FOOD. Of course, we rarely get a craving for something nourishing like a cucumber or an orange. Our cravings usually for something salty, like potato chips or something sweet, like chocolate! More often than not, we crave the foods that give us PLEASURE. Unfortunately, that pleasure is usually only temporary, because soon after giving into our cravings, we are burdened with the feeling of GUILT. Cravings have been compared to a wave in the ocean. They start out slow, increase in strength, rise to a crest and then gradually fade away over time. Using the 5 D’s may help you manage your cravings. The 5 D’s are: Determine, Delay, Distract, Distance and Decide.

1. Determine- Ask yourself if you are actually hungry or if you are eating for reasons other than hunger i.e. emotional eating. If you are truly hungry, it has been 3-4 hours since you last ate, your stomach is growling or you feel lightheaded, you should eat a nourishing snack or meal.

2. Delay- If you think you are eating for reasons other than hunger (i.e. boredom, stress, anxiety, anger, sad or tired), do not react on impulse. Acknowledge that this is just a craving and delay eating for 5-10 minutes.

3. Distract- It may be easier to delay a craving if you distract yourself with another enjoyable activity i.e. do a crossword puzzle, knit, read a book or call a friend.

4. Distance- Distance yourself so that you are not near food, i.e. go to a different room, go for a walk or take a relaxing bath. If your cravings occur at the same time each day, you may plan an activity that will get you out of the house during that time, such as taking a course or going to the gym.

5. Decide- After 5-10 minutes, decide whether you will eat a reasonable portion of the food you are craving, eat something more nourishing or try to delay your craving by another 5-10 minutes.

Delaying will help you take control of your craving, rather than your craving controlling you! The longer you can delay a craving, the weaker it will become. If you think you may be an emotional eater, it will help you in the long term to identify your triggers (i.e. boredom, stress, anxiety, anger, sad or tired), and then think of ways to manage those triggers rather than eating.

Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.


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