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Knock Out Cravings and Impulse Eating (James Hazen)

Knock Out Cravings and Impulse Eating (James Hazen)

Here are a few key Strategies for Success that will help knock out cravings and impulse eating.

James Hazen is a personal trainer in California and has worked in the exercise and fitness realm almost two decades. He is a very experienced coach and trainer and has helped hundreds of people (of all ages) meet their personal and collective goals. As an enthusiastic guest writer, James shares one of the most popular requests from his clients. ". . . are there any suggestions you might have to people who want to eat carbs with every ounce of their being?"

James writes, "I hear this A LOT! Let's be honest—it's easy to overindulge in carbohydrates—and partly this is how we are wired. Your brain prefers glucose as it's fuel of choice. No wonder carbohydrates and simple sugars seem appealing and so hard to resist!"

"So how do you avoid cravings or the immediate impulse to eat tempting high calorie foods when they're accessible?

A. Recognize that both cravings and hunger are TEMPORARY. Both will go away given enough time.

I’ve been known to try weird things like fast for 24 hours (after dinner on one day to dinner time the next day -- so 8ish hours of the fast are while sleeping).  This helps teach that hunger and cravings aren't "bad," that they come and go, they are never an emergency, and that you therefore, never have to respond by eating. Try is just once and see.

B. Cravings are strong urges to eat a particular food or kind of food - often accompanied with a yearning in the mouth or body.  And for most people, cravings begin to disappear after 15 minutes.

What this means is you need to wait 15-20 minutes and that craving will be nothing but a memory. The more you do this, the easier it becomes to manage your cravings.

Distraction works best during this time.  Try this:

1. Occupy yourself with something that will take longer than 20 minutes to complete, rather than sitting in the middle of the kitchen staring down the cake with an egg timer and fork in their hands. (Go for a bike ride!)
2. Clean out the junk drawer in your kitchen or office
3. Go through your closet and donate or throw away clothes that no longer fit. Spend a few moments celebrating the fact, that you can now fit into clothes that might have been too small months ago!
4. Take a walk around the block as many times as you need to pass 15 minutes.
5. Create a list of tasks you've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to starting:
6. Clean out your email account
7. Sort and begin to organize photos into a photo album
8. Create your "Bucket" list -a list of things you want to do in your life at some point
9. Call or write to a friend or family member.  Many times we experience cravings or have the desire to eat when we're lonely or bored.  Find another way to lift your spirit.

C. The other important piece to cravings is to make sure you don't keep "your craving foods" around.

It's a lot easier to resist a craving for chocolate if I have to put my coat and shoes on, get in the car and go out to buy it than it will be if it's sitting in my kitchen cabinet calling my name.

D. Finally, what about impulse eating?

You walk into the office lunch room not expecting to see donuts and coffee cake....or you're grocery shopping and they keep passing out tempting samples.  How do you say no when it looks so good?

Wait.  Don't make any eating decisions for at least 10 minutes.  This will allow you to reason with yourself about whether this is a necessary food choice or a knee-jerk food choice.

Make sure you a have a reason for not eating that's more important than that tempting food.  I have clients carry an index card in their wallet with a list of what they want to achieve and why. In situations like this, they pull out the card, read it a 1/2 dozen times or so, and this usually helps them move past that impulse.

Can you have it tomorrow?  Is this a food you could go out and purchase (or could you purchase something similar) at another time if you discovered you absolutely had to have it?  If so, then pass on the opportunity now.

Cravings, the desire to eat when we aren't hungry and impulse eating are a very common part of our lives. We are inundated with food, messages of food, or encouragement to eat everywhere we turn.

But remember, these things are MANAGEABLE, and more importantly these behaviors can be eliminated. Just practice the strategies above.

Committed to your health and fitness,


To contact James, please email jamesahazen@gmail.com

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