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Got the munchies? Help for late-night hankerings
The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle
Cravings that spin out of control can be the downfall of any diet.
It's tough to make healthy choices day after day, and in my quest to lose 100 pounds and never find them again, my willpower gets a serious workout at times.
Like when my taste buds rebel against having soup for lunch and beg for a bacon cheeseburger instead.
Or when visions of Snickers bars dance in my head and I can't face eating fruit for a snack.
Or when I show up at work only to find an entire box of Krispy Kremes sitting right across from my desk.
Willpower can only go so far. To win at weight loss, it helps to have some tricks up my sleeve when the munchies insist on having an all-day wrestling match with me.
Is it really worth it? I ask myself if I'd be willing to put in an extra two or three miles on the treadmill to burn off that doughnut or slice of pizza.
Almost every time, the answer is no. But when the answer is yes, I give a green light to the splurge and then add five minutes to each of my workouts for the next week.
Don't just sit there: I often snacked in front of the TV when I was overweight, so watching television can trigger serious cravings. It can help to get up during the commercials and do some stretches or walk around — in the opposite direction of the kitchen.
Or I keep my hands busy by sorting paperwork or folding some laundry.
Sing, sing a song: On nights when I can't get my mind off the ice cream in my freezer, I crank up some of my favorite music and sing along.
I can't sing with my mouth full, and after three or four songs, usually the craving dies down.
Just breathe: The munchies like to attack when I'm stressed out. Taking slow, deep breaths for five minutes works as a good stall tactic and helps calm me down.
This time-out gives me a chance to try to talk some sense back into my taste buds.
It's not fruit, but nobody's perfect: I keep a single-serving bag of reduced-fat potato chips (140 calories) in my desk at work so I have a healthier option at my fingertips when I'm tempted to visit the vending machine.
Give extra calories the brush-off: To reduce the risk of late-night snacking, I brush and floss my teeth and use Listerine as soon as I've hit my calorie limit for the day. It's rarely worth it to me to mess up my squeaky-clean teeth with a snack. Besides, no food on Earth tastes good with the aftertaste of Listerine.
Find a payoff: Every now and then, I buy myself a Powerball ticket when I win a battle against the munchies.
Who knows, maybe someday I'll become an instant millionaire just by passing up a plate of nachos.
My odds of hitting that jackpot are one in a gazillion, but even if I never win the lottery, I know that it still pays off to put up a fight against cravings.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company