Decadent hot-fudge brownie sundaes, greasy chili cheese fries, and ooey-gooey pizza—sometimes it's hard to resist the temptation of these delicious, high-calorie, sodium- and sugar-laden foods. If your junk-food cravings are taking over and it's affecting your mood or your weight-loss goals, here are some ways to control your desire for not-so-healthy foods.
Set some limits. Going cold turkey and restricting yourself from every single type of crave-worthy junk food may be asking a bit too much (translation: you're bound to go crazy from want and overindulge). Start off with small limitations such as no artificial sweeteners or no soda, and then add to your list of no-nos as you feel ready.
Indulge on the good stuff. Allow yourself one small indulgence each day to avoid feeling deprived, which can heighten cravings even more. Forget low-quality, cheapo junk when cravings strike. Choose treats made with real, rich ingredients like a dark-chocolate-covered strawberry or full-fat ice cream—you're more likely to feel satisfied after a few bites of the good stuff, which means consuming less calories, fat, and sugar.
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Find healthier alternatives. If you know yourself well enough that it's not possible to eat just a little without wanting more and more, whip up some healthier options of your faves, minus the guilt. You'll feel much better devouring these low-calorie desserts—all delicious and under 150 calories. If pizza is your thrill, try these healthier slices. And instead of french fries or potato chips, these baked tofu squares are a lower-fat way to satisfy your salty cravings.
Use the power of a goal. Got a big trip or wedding coming up? Or maybe having to sport short skirts in a couple months is incentive enough. Use the power of a goal to keep cravings at bay. Every time you want to reach for a bag of chips, think about how delicious a healthier you will feel in that bikini or strapless number.
Change bad habits. Sometimes there are certain events or places that kick cravings into gear, so identify what sets you off so you can avoid it or start a new habit. If you can't pick up your morning coffee at the local café without grabbing an icing-covered scone as well, make your cup of joe at home. If you always reach for a pint of ice cream when you sit down for some late-night TV, make yourself a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit instead. After some time, these new habits will take over, miraculously diminishing your old ones.
Limit the booze. Alcohol impairs your judgment, making you more apt to say yes to anything
edible. Stick to a one-drink-a-day policy to not only curb your junk-food cravings but to also reduce your risk for certain types of cancers.
Get enough z's. When we're tired and don't have time for a nap, we tend to reach for a high-calorie pick-me-up. Get to sleep early enough so you feel so energized that you don't need a soda or cookie to pep you up.
This article originally appeared on POPSUGAR.com