You know what a craving feels like: that manic moment when the devil on one shoulder swoops over to sucker-punch the angel on the other, demanding something salty-sweet-forbidden right now.
But, believe it or not, it is possible to master your hankerings. Registered dietitian Marissa Lippert is here to show youand our Feel Great Weight womenhow to enjoy your gotta-have foods and stay on track.
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Her craving: “Pastries, cakes, pies … I like sweet stuff!”
The fix: Your best betsurprise!is to go for the good stuff, or youll drive yourself crazy with deprivation. Two or three times a week, have a dessert that really does it for you.
“Its all about having the real thing, but occasionally and in small quantities,” Lippert says. If you try to scratch that itch with “light” versions, you wont really be satisfied, she warns. Some worthwhile goodies? Full-fat ice cream, a thin slice of banana-walnut bread, or 2 or 3 squares of dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa content or higher.
On days when youre not indulging, load up on foods that are naturally sweet like pineapple, apples, bananas, or 1/4 cup trail mix with almonds and dried fruit. “Unlike the fake stuff, those snacks will help alleviate your sweet cravings overall,” Lippert says.
“Ive always craved sweet foods more than savory.”
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Her craving: “The week before my period I long for carbs and everything salty!” The fix: “When your hormones are out of whack, it can affect your cravings,” Lippert confirms. Heres how to manage them. The next time you have your monthly yen for fries or Doritos, reach instead for a dozen or so small honey-whole-wheat pretzels with 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 4 cups air-popped popcorn with a little salt and grated Parmesan cheese, or 1 1/2 cups edamame with a pinch of sea salt.
Another way to survive PMS? Make sure to give your taste buds their salty treat before youve worked yourself into a feeding frenzy. If you wait until your cravings hit, youre more likely to really go off the rails when you finally do give in, Lippert says.
“Bread, pretzels, chipsI use them as comfort food whenever PMS strikes.”
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Her craving: “At night, Ill be watching TV and want something to nosh on!”
The fix: Its OK to give yourself a nibble, Lippert saysjust do it at the same time every night. “When its part of your routine, youre less likely to get out of control,” she explains. Aim for a 100- to 150-calorie treat five nights a week, with a 200- to 300-calorie indulgence the other two nights. One caveat: You must put whatever it is onto a plate or into a bowl.
“Thats your treat, and when youre done, youre done,” Lippert says. And no more nibbling mindlessly while your real attention is focused on 30 Rock, either. Switch off the TV, “sit down and really focus on how the food tastesitll be more satisfying,”
Lippert says. A couple of no-guilt nibbles to try: low-fat frozen yogurt with berries or a few whole-grain crackers and a slice of cheese. For a splurge snack, enjoy a small cupcake or brownie, or a small portion of French fries.
“I can always concoct a reason why I deserve a treat at night.”
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