Control Your Eating Urges

Edited by Ian Gabriel T. Tolledo, Lynn, Eng, Donna and 1 other


Eat healthy, be healthy, they say. Yet most people still eat not until they're full, but until they're satisfied - do you know the difference? Are suffering from bouts of eating urges? Does it seem like you're being magnetized by any food you see? You're not alone. Thousands of people are suffering from uncontrollable eating urges. Whether you're looking for a way to stay more fit or just eat healthier, the steps below can help you start curbing your eating urges.

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First Things First

Many people turn to dieting in an attempt to fend off their eating urges. However dieting leads to many problems: When people fail at a diet, their cravings became stronger rather than weaker. The bottom line is, we can't control our eating and we lose our motivation.The alternative is that you just have to accept your cravings, rather than fighting them off. This is an effective way to control your urges and change your response towards food.

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  • Rather than controlling your urges by fighting it off, try accepting your cravings for the foods you like. Notice your thoughts and cravings that relate to the food you eat. NOW think of them as simple mental thoughts and not really physical needs to be acted upon.
  • This strategy works because our cravings naturally come and go, and much like any temptations, you just have to let them pass, or revolutionize how you think about it. This way you can fight the cravings better and understand what makes you crave.

Food Curbing Strategies

  1. 1
    Avoid Temptations
    If you find yourself eating a box of French fries and begin to feel guilty while eating it, simply destroy it. Don't just throw it in the bin, but utterly ruin it. You will begin to feel at ease, as you have defeated the very food you were craving. Never mind the money you're wasting - better it be in the garbage bin than on your belly and hips, right?
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  2. 2
    Avoid Triggers
    We naturally crave what we eat, so in order to counter this, we simply have to alter the foods we crave and make ourselves want new ones (healthier ones). This step is known to work fast. Instead of reaching for that bag of chips, try eating an apple instead. Do this for five days, and you will notice that you will start to crave the apple more than the chips.The first days will undoubtedly be hard, and will not completely remove your cravings. Still, the longer you do this, the less likely you will be to want the old foods you use to eat. This step is very effective if you decide to switch to fresh fruits.
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  3. 3
    Go Java Crazy
    Instead of reaching for that candy bar, why not try sipping a skim latte? The caffeine might not necessarily satisfy your cravings, but it will generally reduce your appetite and save you from unwanted calories. Try making the latte extra tasty, so it satisfies and distracts you better.
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  4. 4
    Take a Nap
    Taking a nap might not be a conventional way to remove your eating urges, yet it is a very effective way to forego yourself of unhealthy eating habits. Our cravings naturally sneak up when we're stressed and tired. Concentrate on your fatigue, go to your room or a comfortable sofa and snooze away.
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  5. 5
    Did you know that being stressed is one of the biggest trigger for cravings? Dealing with stress can remove or reduce your eating urges in no time. This step takes some practice and time. Try visualizing a good scene of your life and breathing in and out slowly. Try jacking up your favorite music. Another good tip is going to a spa, and letting a massage remove your stress and cravings. It works - BIG TIME.
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  6. 6
    Satisfy Your Mouth
    Sometimes, you don't really want to eat the food you're craving, you just want to taste it in your mouth. That's why we crave in the first place. So simply make your mouth busy. Gargle, brush your teeth and floss. You won't want to mess up a clean mouth anyway by eating, right?
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  7. 7
    Plan Your Ways
    Try varying your usual routine to avoid passing the pizza parlor or the bakery. If you know you'll be face-to-face with a cake later on, allocate calories in your diet so you can enjoy that piece of cake.
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  8. 8
    Distract yourself
    If you know that a chocolate bar will suffice for you, then its not hunger but craving. Recognize that you indeed are craving and divert your mind. Try texting or calling someone, run an errand, meditate or exercise, or even take a shower - whatever works.
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  9. 9
    Indulge Within Limits
    It's fine to go ahead and indulge yourself with your cravings once in a while. Make it as a form of reward. Just remember to buy only a small amount for your cravings. The trick with this step is to buy only a pack at a time, so your temptations will not get the best of you. If you're planning to eat an extra amount of calories, then strike a bargain with yourself and take a longer time exercising to remove the extra calories you took in.
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Some more strategies

  • Imagine yourself eating the craved food. You will notice that simply imagining the food makes your craving intensify, but imagining eating the food itself can decrease your urges.
  • At least one study showed that exercise can have a positive effect on food cravings, making you want to eat less. (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise)
  • You can also distract yourself by chewing gum or smelling flowers, or even watching kids play. This delaying tactic can weaken your cravings.
  • Try setting a timer when you're eating urges come, then distract yourself by doing other activities that you like. You will likely notice that your craving is gone after the time has passed.
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Tips, tricks and Warning

  • Never give up!
  • Every time you begin craving, ask yourself "Am I really hungry?"
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Think of the implications of the actions (foods) you are eating right now.
  • Think of your health.
  • Alter your eating from unhealthy foods (e.g. fries, burgers, pizza) to healthy food options (fruits and vegetables).

Questions and Answers

If you imagine eating does it help to control eating urges?

I have heard that if you visualize or imagine feeling full that you will actually feel full.. I have tried: I have tried praying to lose weight, over-eaters anonymous and weight watchers but I am still gaining weight.

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It is time for drastic measures. A very good and effective method is changing your work to something where you have to move a lot and stay on your feet, having a chance to sit down only during the lunch break. You may need a person next to whom you should always stay in order not to be tempted into running away to rest. This must continue for months and years until urges become controllable. An interpreter position at a factory or a salesman exemplify this kind of job. A lot of people, regardless of their shape, devote a lot of their willpower to restrain themselves from the temptation to have a snack or eat fast carbohydrates. This is much easier when you are completely distracted or absorbed in work or hobby such as golf, guitar playing while standing, or sports. Salary is a good urge controller as well. If you earn enough to afford eating as much as you want, you may consider donating a fixed amount of money monthly, for example, to animal shelters. It may seem like a weird solution, but it works for some people (they spend this money trying to control the urge anyway). When the urge has been put in control, you will need to attend the gym and hire a good coach who knows a lot about diets as well as sports.

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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Eating Disorders

Recent edits by: Donna, Eng, Lynn

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