Can you control food cravings? It's tough, but doable. You have to learn to eat in a way that doesn't place all the emphasis on the pleasure of food alone. Here are some tips.

Take your mind off food and onto other things.

Picture yourself trimmer, for instance. Or, at a more practical level, plan a night dancing rather than a devouring a high calorie-meal.

It's not always about what you eat, but how you eat it.

Master the art of satisfying your taste buds slowly. Eat so that you enjoy every bite.

Watch your moods.

Do you tend to eat when you are bored or feeling low? Monitor your responses to food cravings. Sometimes, tension or euphoria can set off all kinds of crazy food impulses.

Food planning.

Often, food cravings are the result of low blood sugar, caused by a prolonged gap between meals. So, if you keep some interesting, healthy snacks readily available, you can eat whenever you have a snack attack. Chances are, your craving for a particular food will pass too…

Restrict junk food.

Buy new CDs, go for a trendy haircut, check out some of the latest fashion accessories, or do anything else to get your mind off food.

Set yourself a cravometer to rate your cravings from a count of 1 to 10. 1 is highest on your priority list, 10 not so important. What this helps you do is keep tabs on the “not worth it” foods you consume.

1-2 I'll die without!

3-4 I must have at least one small bite

5-6 I can't seem to resist my cravings

7-8 I think I can say no this time…

9-10 This is something I can safely pass up

So, on a scale of 1 to 10, if a particular treat rates 8, it is pretty low down on your cravometer. But if something notches up 3, or 2, or 1, don't even try to resist!

Concentrate on indulging in the foods you really can't do without, the foods that rate 5 and up on your cravometer. Savour those foods slowly, enjoy every bite. You get greater overall satisfaction from this experience, rather than filling yourself on foods you think you like, but can actually well do without.

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.

Keywords: food craving