CRAVINGS. Often seen as a bad thing and our reason for not fully being able to commit to a lifestyle of healthy eating that will allow us to let go of the extra weight and the medical health concerns that are exacerbated or created from the eating rollercoaster that many battle with for years. It is not beyond your ability to create a different reality.

Here are some practical, easy and PROVEN strategies for controlling food cravings:

1. Have a glass of water and wait 15 minutes.
We often think we are hungry when we are truly just dehydrated. Before you grab a snack, grab an 8 oz glass of water and drink that. After 15 minutes or so, you might find you are not hungry at all…and if you are, then you can go ahead and grab a healthy snack but rest assured you are hydrating your cells first! Great habit to have in the long run as hydrating our bodies helps us eliminate what our bodies don’t need and creates an environment that will encourage weight loss.

2. Get your zzzz’s
Research has shown a link between not getting enough sleep and being overweight. When you get a good amount of shut eye it helps prevent the disruption of the hormones associated with controlling your appetite. Additionally, when we sleep our body has an opportunity to get to work rebuilding our cells, so we don’t need as much energy from foods to do this AND it is an anti-age strategy to boot.

3. Resolve the emotional eating roller coaster.
We have all heard about emotional eaters and while some of us readily admit to this, others refuse to think that they are that susceptible to it. Well, we are ALL emotional eaters, though some of us do this in a way that hurts us more than others. Perfect example…one of my emotional foods is actually not a food at is coffee. I was raised in a very traditional Cuban home and along with my breakfast, was the smell of Cuban coffee, or on a special day…café con leche. The smell alone transports me to images of my grandmother in her housedress and pearls or my mother in her long flowing gowns, or my father and his male friends laughing in a private room as they worked. When I feel unsure or just want to feel close to family, the smell of coffee takes me ther. I try to limit the amount of coffee that I have because I have allowed myself to have too much of this in the past, which is the worst thing I can do for my adrenals. So I now sit and wonder what is going on in my life that I would be that needy of home/family/safety. By looking at what is emotionally present I allow myself to see that I can just as easily resolve this by calling up my mother, or dealing with the insecurities that allow for this craving to appear.

4. Eat a healthier version of what you crave.
Cravings are often the body’s way of telling you that something is missing. Is it emotional? Is it physical? Chances are it’s both. If you crave something sweet, don’t go for the Dunkin Donuts or chocolate chip cookies (notice that cookies were plural)….instead, try to have a better alternative around. For example. In lieu of that sugar rush that puts inches on your waistline and sends your blood sugar on a wild goose chase…. try eating a bowl of berries, an apple or part of a left over sweet potato. It isn’t what you do every now and then that hurts your body, it’s what you do all the time that creates a problem. If you learn to feed your cravings wisely, then your overall health and your ability to curb your cravings might very well end.

5. Eat often and in small quantities:
When you eat every 3-4 hours, keeping portions within the right sizes for meals and snacks, you prevent your blood sugar from dropping so low that you get famished and then binge. It’s the grabbing of whatever is available because you have not eaten for too long that drives our cravings and appetite out through the roof. Keep those snack pack carrots or a piece of fresh fruit around. Your body will love you for it.

6. Keep your meals balanced
We all know portions are important, and I would like to note here that portions are not necessarily a calorie count. We should start trying to listen to our bodies and allowing ourselves to recognize what it needs. If you are not there yet and simply want quick, easy to use tips….here is what we suggest as a way to balance your intake. For carbs/grains, cup your hands and that is about how much you should have in one meal. For protein, you only need an amount equivalent to the size of your palm. That isn’t much so if you are out at a restaurant and they place half a cow on your plate, take that cow home and space it out. At restaurants, order an appetizer as it’s often closer to the amount of protein you SHOULD be eating. For greens…the sky is the limit. You can have as much of these as you want. The reason for this is that if you don’t have greens as part of your meal, you are missing the single most dense nutrient rich food available.

7. Avoid trigger foods:
This is easy enough. Biggest mistake we make is buying the foods we like and thinking we can resist them. If we haven’t been able to in the past , then we may not be ready to in the present. Having them available, only creates a tug of war within us and if we give in, it creates a sense of guilt for not having had stronger will power. Nip it out of your
life and stay away from foods at parties that are traps too. If you do nothing more than stand away from the treat table, you will be doing yourself a huge favor.

8. Exercise
Research suggests that any physical activity increases the brain’s receptors for pleasure chemicals. This may help some overeaters who have fewer pleasure receptors. And yes, some of us actually eat more because we have not received the message that we are satisfied because we simply don’t have enough receptors to achieve this so we consume more in order to reach the same level of satisfaction. Exercise also burns energy by burning calories from the food we eat, and it releases the feel good hormones that we often get from foods.

If you feel you need someone to help you put these strategies to work for you, contact Odette at

Author's Bio: 

Odette Worrell is a certified Holistic Health Counselor, certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP), a Reiki Master Practitioner, Certified Hatha Yoga Asana Teacher (200RYT), Certified Living Foods Chef, and founder of Find Your Organic Soul.

Odette's work encompasses supporting and empowering individuals to regain their physical health , improve the quality of their lives, and reach their personal goals.

Odette and Organic Soul offer newsletters, online health, self-growth classes, and one-on-one health counseling consultations.