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Six Tips to Help You Control the Urge to Snack

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Snacking is a problem that many people have. It can be due to boredom, nervousness, anxiety or something more serious.

However, if you believe that indulging in your favorite snack will result in satiety, you should be aware that it could have more negative consequences for your body than you think.

Snacking and Addiction

If you are snacking to satisfy your cravings, you could be causing your body to crave more and more food. This is because giving into food cravings has the same effect on our bodies as indulging in alcohol or drugs.

When we give in to our urges, cravings increase, and we experience less pleasure in our snack each time. However, being aware that cravings have a lot in common with addiction can lead to making the necessary changes.

Fight Cravings like Addiction

While it is an intuitive response to try and fight cravings, this may not be the best solution. The first problem with fighting urges is that this actually makes them stronger, rather than weaker. When fighting urges does not work, we end up giving in to our cravings and losing motivation.

The first step to fighting urges is to accept that cravings are, in fact, a problem. Like in addiction treatment, accepting your cravings is one of the most effective means of changing how you respond to food.

Learning to Control Urges

In an experiment conducted by Dr. Robyn Vast, participants learned to control the urge to eat chocolate by accepting that they had these urges. Patients were trained to notice thoughts and cravings that were related to eating chocolate.

Instead of trying to push away cravings, patients were instructed to think of urges as just thoughts, not a physical need that must be acted upon. 81 percent of the subjects who learned this technique were successful in curving their cravings for chocolate.

This technique is similar to one used in drug and alcohol addiction treatments, called “urge surfing.” Through “urge surfing,” one notices the urge and addresses it, but does not act on it. The main idea behind this technique is to notice how urges come and go like waves.

Additional Tips for Controlling Urges

Although “urge surfing” is a powerful technique, there are several other ways to control your cravings. Here are six additional tips you can try to curve your cravings:

  1. Don't skip meals. Try to create a set meal schedule, that you can stick to throughout the day.
  2. Create a healthy shopping list and stick to it.
  3. Remember to drink a lot of water throughout the day.
  4. Keep busy and find a hobby that keeps your hands busy.
  5. Get away from your television to avoid mindless eating.
  6. Don't deprive yourself of your favorite foods; instead, treat yourself in moderation.

Source: and