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Nutritionist Q & A: How do I curb sweet cravings?

  [ 63 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Jennifer Benson, R.D. • • July 30, 2003

Q: I have Fibromyalgia and have taken many medicines that have put weight on me. I have tried to lose but still crave the sweets and chocolate. What can I do to curb the sweet attacks so I maybe could lose weight. I really am overweight and want to slim down for health reasons. Could you give me some clues as what to do?
- Shara

A: The problem with sweets is that they taste sooo good. Unfortunately, as you mentioned sweets pack a lot of calories in a small amount of space, and eating too many can lead to weight gain or be a nemesis to weight loss. Many of the foods that are low-fat still taste good because the company has replaced the fat with sugar. This can increase the calories in the product so much so that the full fat and the low-fat product have the same amount of calories. It is very important to check the labels on all your favorite snack foods.

It is important to include your favorite treats in your diet. Many times when one tries to eliminate a favorite treat completely, he or she ends up binging on that food and sabotaging a healthy eating pattern. As I mentioned above, make sure you are only eating one portion of your favorite treat, don't go over board and eat two or three portions. So include the treat, but don't overdo it.

Look for behaviors that trigger you to eat sweets, and replace that behavior with a new one. For example, you notice that every time you sit to watch television you have a bag of licorice with you. You eat the whole time you are watching T.V., completely unaware of how much you are eating and how many calories you consumed. That television is your trigger to eat sweets. You could then make a conscious effort to eat all meals and snacks in one designated area (preferably your table). So any time you are watching television, and you want a snack you have to go to your designated eating spot to have your treat. Pay close attention to what is triggering you to eat, and find some way to change your behavior. A food journal can really help with this.

Many people find that just having food around the house triggers them to eat. If that is the case, don't keep those tempting treats around the house, instead go out and buy a single serving. For example, many people think they can buy a bag of snack size snicker bars and just have two or three a week. However, they are aware that the bag of snickers is in the house, and before they know it they have eaten half the bag. It would be better to go buy a regular sized snickers bar, and eat small amounts throughout the day. That way you are satisfied, but not overindulged.

Some ideas for sweets that have less fat and calories than more decadent treats are

Graham Crackers

Sherbet or Sorbet

Vanilla Wafers


Angel Food Cake with Strawberries

Just remember, only a portion at a time. I encourage you to look for triggers though, that really helps many people. When you find your triggers, instead of giving in go for a walk instead or replace it with another activity.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Take care and good luck.

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