Dealing with an urge to eat

Slim.in will teach you a technique called outlasting the urges that will help you spot trouble before it occurs, and deal with high-risk situations where you are likely to end up eating more than you planned.

Knowing a ‘craving from ‘real hunger’ will not always help you resist foods you love, but there are ways to gradually conquer your cravings. There are 5 main approaches you can take get the better of your cravings.

You can ignore the craving by doing something else. Some things Slim.in users find useful include: planning a home renovation project, watching your favourite TV show, or reading a book. Other distractions include – calling a friend who knows your weight loss goals or going for a walk.

Anything that takes your attention away from the urge to eat will work and the craving will usually pass within 15-30 minutes.

This method works best if you have a good imagination or can change activities at an instant’s notice. But if you are constantly faced with cravings throughout the day, confronting the craving may be more effective.


You can actually pit yourself against the craving. For example, if you feel like ordering a double cheese pizza, you could pretend you are arguing the case against another person who is trying to convince you to order that pizza. A typical confrontation with a craving will go like this: You will say to yourself: “You are just a craving! I won’t allow you to ruin my calorie intake when I am not even hungry. I am in charge of my hunger and my weight.”


Planning to eat the foods you enjoy as part of your planned meals is another way to make sure cravings don’t dictate what you eat. That way, your favourite foods are in your diet and will not throw your diet out of gear. Planning also includes carrying healthy snacks with you at all times so that you don’t end up indulging a craving when you are actually hungry.

Being an urge surfer

Psychologist G Alan Marlatt compares an urge to a wave in the ocean that builds up and then breaks on the shore. Getting the better of an urges is like surfing. A wave begins as a small undulation, builds to a high crest, breaks up and then fades. Dr. Marlatt’s contention is that urges follow a similar course. They usually build gently to their strongest point, weaken and gradually just go away.

Most of you may think that an urge builds and builds till gratified: the wave analogy challenges this thinking. Experts believe that every time you satisfy an urge to eat when you are not hungry, you make the urge stronger and more frequent. In contrast, when you let the urge pass, you weaken it over time. If you outlast enough urges, they gradually go away altogether.

The surfing analogy is great because of another reason – as someone just learning, you will not feel in control. Gradually, as you ride out more and more urges, you will become stronger.

To be a good urge surfer, you need to do 2 things:

  1. Identify the urge when it’s still developing; and
  2. Ready yourself to ride it out.

Doing something else

This technique is especially useful for you if you are also trying to become more active. Every time you get an urge to eat, if you start to do any alternative activity, over a period of time, an urge to eat will become a signal for that alternative activity. Over time, eating will become less rewarding and the old associations between urges and eating will diminish.

The rule of the thumb is to think of an activity or activities you enjoy – do you like dancing? Or walking? Think of anything you like; and every time you feel hungry, do them?.

Teaching your mind new habits can seem daunting. But remember, habits such as these, once ingrained, will give back in so many ways.

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