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4 Ways to Indulge Your Cravings without Ruining a Diet

Apr 24, 2010

Cravings are often the feared enemy of anyone who is on a diet. After weeks of working hard at the gym and sticking to a healthy diet, the last thing you want is to undo all of your hard work because you're craving a chocolate milkshake or a big piece of cheese pizza. The thing you need to realize is that giving into your cravings from time to time isn't such a bad thing. Indulging in your cravings in moderation will keep you happy and also keep you from feeling deprived. If you're not convinced, here are some ways to indulge your cravings without ruining your diet.

1. Indulge Your Cravings

What is the food you crave the most? For many people, it's something like chocolate, salty chips, cheese or alcohol. You're not doing yourself any favors by completely banning these foods from your diet. That kind of plan may work at first, but it'll eventually backfire when you reach a weak point and can't take the limitation anymore. You're better off indulging these cravings in small increments on a regular basis. Is chocolate your weakness? Treat yourself to several small pieces of chocolate each day (think three or four Hershey Kisses). Do you like a glass of wine regularly? Allow yourself a glass with dinner every couple of nights. By incorporating your cravings into your lifestyle, it's not as easy to slip up. You're admitting to yourself that you deserve a treat--and you do! A little bit here and there will be beneficial to your overall well being.

2. Plan For Your Big Treat

Sometimes we crave foods that are filled with enough calories and fat to exceed our daily caloric needs in one meal (fried chicken and buttery mashed potatoes, anyone?) If you have an intense craving for a food that you really want to satisfy, plan for it. Decide which day you're going to eat the food and plan the rest of your meals that day around it. If you're planning on indulging in the french toast at brunch on Sunday, plan to eat a salad for lunch and a half turkey sandwich for dinner. You can indulge a major craving without ruining your diet if you are mindful of your overall calorie consumption.

3. Make Your Craving Count

Before you eat that cookie at the office, ask yourself, "Is this really the treat I want to eat today?" Chances are it's not. Only indulge in your craving if it's truly a food that will satisfy you. There's no room for so-so treats in a diet. Make sure what you're about to eat is what you really want.

4. Split a Treat with a Friend

With any diet, portion control is key. If you're experiencing a craving that you just can't shake, share the food with a friend. Go ahead and eat the french fries, but only after you've given half of the portion to a friend or co-worker. It's not the best case scenario, but it's also not the worst.

Remember that cravings are natural. It's okay to give in every now and then. You're not going to ruin your diet if you indulge in moderation.

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