5 D’s For Managing Cravings

The 5 D’s For Managing Cravings

By: Ben S. Fogel
 We all know how hard it is to battle cravings.  I mean, we all have them (I am dreaming of a long strand of  a Twizzlers as I write this!).

Managing or not managing cravings can be a giant barrier to weight loss success. It can set up a negative cycle of initially “battling” the craving, giving in, overindulging, feeling like a failure, and then finally giving up.  Sound familiar? I’d like you to try the easy “5 Ds” to help manage your food cravings. They really do work!


Delay:  First, postpone eating for 10-15 minutes when you feel an urge.  Even better, set an alarm for those 10-15 minutes.  You’re not saying “no” – just stopping to think before you eat. You’re not ignoring the thought but dealing with it. While you’re delaying your decision, the next D makes it easier…
Distract: Try a non-food activity to give you something to do (so you don’t watch the clock for 10 minutes!). Often the wave of desire to eat disappears in a few minutes when you keep your hands busy without food. Clean out a drawer, call a friend, brush your teeth, surf the web, or even drink a glass of water.  The most important part is to remove yourself from the situation and do something else!  
 Distance: It’s important to keep your eating environment at arm’s length – maintaining a distance. Keep food out of sight, not on counters; “out of sight, out of mind” can help. Stay out of the kitchen when a craving strikes.  And use the kitchen only for food preparation and meal consumption. Avoid it as a place to hang out.
Determine: After waiting 10-15 minutes, determine whether you are physically hungry or just thirsty; these two are often confused.  More often than not, just drinking a glass of water can quench your thirst and help you realize you were more thirsty than hungry to begin with. Also consider whether you might have emotional/boredom hunger, what I call “head hunger.”  If we asked you if you could eat a ½ cup of broccoli, and the answer is yes, then you are actually hungry!  Avoid getting over-hungry, a main consequence of meal skipping. All of these situations can be helped with a structured eating schedule and pre-planned meals and snacks. 
 Decide: If you’ve made it through the first 4 Ds, it’s time to make a smart choice. Think before you eat and pre-plan what you are really looking for – sweet, creamy, salty, chewy – before you make a choice. Look for single-serving packaged items for built-in portion control. You also get the satisfaction of “eating the whole thing.” Aim for a snack between 100-200 calories.
We get it! We totally understand life is going to happen.  Using the 5 D’s can really help you to slow down and realize that so much of the time we attach our emotions to eating, instead of using the food as fuel to keep us alive and well! 

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