Weight Control: Ward Off Cravings, Binge Eating (cont.)
"People who skip breakfast at home are more likely to stop for fast food, say an Egg McMuffin on the way to work...or to crave donuts, cookies, croissants, and whatever happens to be waiting for them at the office," says Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
She notes that various studies have shown that successful dieters (those who maintain their weight loss) tend to eat breakfast, while those who regain pounds tend to skip it.
If your resolve tends to break down at breakfast time, try these tactics:
Binge eating can be triggered throughout the day, and the reasons appear to be both physiological and psychological.
People most often give into unhealthy food cravings because they are genuinely hungry -- they haven't consumed enough nutrients to sustain themselves until the next meal, says Ruth Patrick, PhD, LDN, a spokeswoman for the Institute of Food Technologists. The other side of that, she says, is that people often think they shouldn't be eating certain foods, or eating too much of anything. The more they think about it, the more intense their desire to have what's forbidden.
And once a craving strikes, it's oh-so-easy to get something to ease it.
"The fact is that, right now, the cost of food for anyone in this country is the lowest that it's ever been in history as a percentage of gross income," says Fergus Clydesdale, PhD, head of the food science department at the University of Massachusetts. "That makes everything available to everyone whenever they want."
To defend yourself from food cravings during the day:
Food cravings can hit hard in the last few hours of the workday, when people are likely to become bored, tired, or stressed. "Many people seem to naturally hit a low at this time," says Tallmadge.