Is self control the only way I can control my snacking urges?

So the day has come. I’ve finally decided to do myself a favour and cut down on sugar and food dripping with fat. It’s not really a big deal, but I can stand to lose some weight. And in case you’re worried about me not eating right or anything like that, I’m having the standard three meals a day. Just no snacks in between or things dripping with fat. I’m also going to head to the weight room at school. I figured if I have to pay the fees for it in my tuition, I might as well use it. So, I’m eating right. I’m getting some excercise.

The problem is the urges to grab a cookie to munch on. Or the chips that are sitting there just staring at me. So far I haven’t given in yet (Yes!). But I don’t know, except for self control, is there any way that I can forget about the delicious snacks. As I’m typing, the thought of them is making me salivate. For one thing, though, I know that I can curb my longings by having an expresso. Coffee with no milk, no sugar makes me want to retch and stop eating immediately. Problem is, the only place where I can get it conviently is at work, and I don’t work all that much. So, it’s not exaclty “convient”.

Does anyone have any suggestions that are easier to obtain and not dangerous to my health? (i.e. no diet pills)

You exercise enough, junk food will feel bad in your body.

If you really exercise enough, it won’t matter how much junk food you eat. Run more than about 15 miles a week and eat without a guilty conscience. Run more than 20 a week and you can be downright reckless with the ice cream container.

Nothing succeeds like success. Don’t eat junk and your taste for it will likely subside.

Actually, most weight loss diets recommend at least two snacks a day. You should try to keep it to about 200 calories or less per snack, and having something with protein is recommended. Good examples would be lowfat cheese (about an ounce), a small handful of nuts, a little peanut butter or hummus with raw vegetables, etc. Good vending machine choices would be sunflower seeds or something with nuts.

Try some low fat snacks, they are actually getting better. I like those Quaker Oats rice cakes. The peanut butter ones and the carmel corn ones are quite yummy.

Basically you can eat anything as long as you dont eat too much of it.

Avoid things like chocolate bars and packets of crisps (do you americans call them chips? i dunno…). Maybe a couple chocolate bars a week is ok, but make sure you’re getting excersise, it’s the most important thing!

whenever you feel the need to snack drink a glass of water instead. Alot of people confuse thrist with hunger.

Hunger is caused not by your stomach being empty, but by your blood sugar being low. So the key is to eat things that will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. This translates into eating foods that take a while to digest.

Fats and proteins fall into that category. As far as carbohydrates go, stick to fruits, vegetables, fiber, and incidentals found in other foods. Avoid foods that have more than 15 grams of both fat and carbohydrates, as these foods cause a big insulin spike, which will cause your blood sugar to come crashing down.

Eat 6 small meals a day. This’ll go a long way towards keeping your blood sugar stable.

Lastly, I find that I’m not as hungry throughout the day if breakfast and lunch are my biggest meals, and dinner is a bit smaller.

Hmm, not very good for your stomach.

I am a total sugar fiend, and will snack on chocolate or cookies or the like ALL day if they’re readily available. BUT I have found that a protein snack (and trying to eat my protein first at meals) curbs my hunger and cravings. That’s one reason I’m considering the Atkins diet.

Also, I have found that drinking Diet Coke (or any sweet pop, sugared or not) exacerbates my sweet tooth. I don’t know if it’s just that the pop is sweet, or if (as my mother-in-law said she saw on TV) aspartame has some sugar-like effect on the blood sugar.

As for the crunchy stuff, maybe you should try less harmful snacks, like those rye crisp thingies they make for hors d’oeuvres. I don’t know; crunchy and salty is not my weakness.

Of course, YMMV on all this. But it works for me.

I wouldn’t follow greck’s advice (no offense). That’s what led to my excess 50 lbs of weight. ultrafilter has the best advice I’ve seen so far, if you’re not willing to do Atkins (which is what I do).

You might also switch to sugar-free candy, when the urge hits you and you can’t resist. It’ll keep your blood sugar from spiking, if you don’t overindulge. And if you do overindulge, your stomach will ache so badly (and you’ll probably have diarrhea) that you aren’t going to do that too many times.

My suggestion for eliminating the cravings only is a little drastic, but it should work. For 3-5 days, eat nothing but meat, vegetables (except potatoes), fruit, eggs, cheese, nuts, and whole wheat bread. It’s similar to Atkins Induction (except for the fruit, nuts and bread), and should help get rid of the carbohydrate cravings. That’ll make it easier to stick with healthier eating. Once you’ve done that, you should be able to add pasta, rice and potatoes without triggering food cravings for cookies, candy and chips.

I should add that I haven’t eaten pasta, rice or potatoes in almost a year, so I can’t tell you how effective this would be once you start eating them again. I do eat sugar-free bread, though, and I don’t get hit with cravings for chips or cookies.


Hey, DeadlyAccurate, how well has Atkins worked for you? I’m seriously thinking about starting it. I read the book, and it’s nowhere near as whacked-out as I thought it would be. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. What’s your energy level like?



I want to chime in on the low carb thing as well- one thing that I love about eating foods that are low glycemic (basically no refined flours or sugars, no starchy vegetables) is that it greatly reduces your need to snack. You don’t need foods “dripping” with fat, but be careful that you don’t take your fat intake too low. Definitely keep to eating three meals a day, and allow yourself 2 snacks. If you drink Diet Coke- switch to water or ice tea or switch to sodas sweetened with Splenda rather than Nutrasweet. When I started low-carbing, I kept my coffee and Diet Cokes- at some point I had to quit drinking Diet Coke because it was making me have cravings. Once I stopped drinking Diet Coke and switched to Diet Rite and water- the cravings went away. I kept my coffee though and it hasn’t bothered me to drink 2-3 cups in the a.m.

Nuts make great snacks- have good fats, mozzerella cheese is a lower fat snack thats filling as well.

Skeptic- I know you asked Deadly but I just wanted to say that I’ve lost 40 lbs on Atkins and I love it- I eat lots of veggies, started adding fruits (grapes now taste even sweeter- who needs candy?) and my blood sugar stays stable- not bursting with energy but sufficient . I no longer feel that blood sugar crash after my “low fat” teriyaki bowl lunch that I used to- I needed a nap!


I’ve lost 36 lbs since I started in January. My energy levels are terrific, unless I forget to eat (something that never happened pre-Atkins). I never get that sleepy after dinner feeling any more, and I rarely eat more than I need to feel not hungry. I don’t crave chips, cookies, etc. even though they’re sitting in our house (our D&D friends bring their own snacks and leave them here).

I’m also seeing more and more low carb food choices. Breyer’s makes a low carb ice cream that’s exquisite. Chef’s Choice makes a brand of frozen lunches. I buy sugar free candy from Russell Stover and Hershey.

I haven’t given up diet Pepsi, but I try to drink plenty of water still.

I’ve lost 33 lbs on Atkins since May 5 (and gone from a size 14 to an 8-10; my hubby gone from 38 pants to 34!). Best choice I ever made.


How much of your snack attacks come from an instant gratification/boredom motivation? I know that cookies can often look delicious when I’m bored or when I’m thinking gosh darn, something sweet would be so tasty right now!

One of my favorite snacks is celery sticks with those laughing cow cheese wedges spread up the middle. Some folks like peanut butter there instead. The thing I like about the laughing cow cheese is that the triangles are pre packed and portable, and I don’t feel like I have to go overboard trying to keep them refrigerated. You could easily bring a baggie with you that has some celery sticks and a couple of triangles of cheese.

Otherwise, I’d say have a cookie snack from time to time, so that you don’t feel like you’re ALWAYS saying no to yourself, but the rest of the time, try to focus on snacks that have a little more nutritional value. Pieces of whole fruit and yoghurts & the like.

You can eat anything you want, as long as it is in reasonable quantities. And there are a few things you can do to help that out.

Your first line of defense is not to buy snacks. If you have them in the house, you will eat them all. And there is no good reason to be buying them in the first place. Maybe you can treat yourself to a movie or other fun activity with the money your not spending on snack food. If you must have snacks, buy a single serving package so you arn’t tempted by the damn things all week.

Next, comes portion control. Every time you eat something, look on the back of the package and make sure you know how big a serving is and how many calories is in that serving. Take that much out of the bag, and close the bag up. As long as you are aware of what you are eating and how that works into your plan, you usually won’t screw up.

Then, you gotta break some habits. This is a hard one. Do you always eat snack when you watch TV? Do you type with one hand and keep the other in a bag of chips? That is a surefire way to overeat, and those cravings are some of the worst ones out there. It helps to have a bit of ritual when you eat- use a special bowl, grab napkins, eat at the table. Make eating an event unto itself. And most importantly DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE because otherwise you are always going to want to eat when you do that thing. You might even go so far as to find something else to do with your hands while you do those activities.

Finally. get an electric teakettle or some other easy hot-water device (I use my espresso machine) and learn to drink lots of tea (herbal is good). It will give you something to do when you are bored (or sitting at the computer, or whenever you get cravings) that isn’t eating snack food. Pretty soon that will become your comfort and you’ll start craving it.

Thanks everyone for the advice so far. I want to point out though, I just can’t have any snacks. Once I pop something into my mouth to munch on, I’ll eat until I’m too full to eat more or I run out. (That’s why I can stand to lose a few pounds)

As for ridding myself of the temptations, it’s a bit harder than to just stop buying. I live at home with my parents and they tend to buy a lot of snacks for us to have. I could ask them not to buy any, or store them away so I can’t find them, but that wouldn’t be fair to my brother. So, there’s always the prospect of “there’s something waiting for me in the kitchen” that’s so tempting.

Also, I’m not sure how much I can cut rice and the like out of my diet. Being Asian, every night at dinner, rice is part of the meal. Without it, it just doesn’t seem like dinner. I have cut back on it, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to cut it out completely.

As for excercising part, I’ll have to say, I’m extremely lazy. I haven’t been excercising properly since high school stopped the requirements (that’s almost three years now) and I can’t run a block without panting and wheezing. It’s a bit sad, really. So, I’m probably going to start out slow, as to not kill myself by over excercising. I’m thinking half an hour a day on the treadmill to start should be fine.

With all that said, I’m still looking a way to make me turn away from food. While pacing myself is a good way to go, isn’t there anything else?! I don’t exactly have a lot of self control here.

7 up yours On May first I decided to do much as you seem to have - cut way back on the sweets and fatty things. Here it is October 3rd, and I’m still sticking to it- despite initially thinking it’s be a spring/summer goal only :slight_smile: And I’d say prior to this at least 30% of what I ate on a day to day basis was sweets. If I had a scale that worked I’d tell you how much weight I’ve lost (not a whole lot, but my main goal was not to gain) but before it died on me, I was losing about 1lb a week, just from cutting back on sweets.

This might not work for you, but this is working for me:

  • On the seventh day, relax your restrictions. I designated Saturday as the day I can eat whatever sweets I like. It’s something to look forward to, and I’m already cutting back by a huge precent. Eventually even on your “free” you’ll start to feel like you should chose healthier alternatives that day too. (7 grams of fat for a lindt ball will feel like it’s too much for how little you get to eat etc)

  • Get rid of anything you’re tempted to eat because it’s just lying around. It’s easier to resist the temptation to buy something sweet/fatty than it is to ignore something you already have at home. Virtually all of the “slip ups” I’ve had over the past several months have been because there was something left over from a saturday. BTW, I too live with my parents, and I explained to them that I’d only be eating sweets once a week. They stopped buying things with me in mind (yeah, dad can keep his gross cookies to himself, lol and my brother keeps his snacks in his room), and we started making the treats for the family that day.

  • Cold turkey isn’t the way to go about it. You’ll give up after a couple of days because the cravings are killing you. Instead buy yourself a box of thin mints. They come 20-24 a box, and they’re divided into four neat sections for you. They’re only 3.5 grams per 1/4th a box, but they’re chocolate which is the important thing. They’re your reward. At the end of a day of sticking to your goals, you get to eat one section’s worth of mints. I may still crave the mints by the end of every day, but I usually don’t crave other sweets during the week. Better the mints than a candy bar with 4x the fat.

  • If you can’t stick to a rigid goal, change it. Like I said, it was only my goal to stay on this track through the end of the summer, mostly to see if I could. I made the goal this way because I knew as the fall (and the “sweets holidays”) approached it’d be harder to stick to things. So now that I met the orginal goal, I adjusted the goal so I can continue on with my vastly improved eating habits - now Saturday and Sunday are both free days until Easter has past. Interestingly enough, I’m not eating all that much more sweets than I had before, just a lot more spread out. (which is probably a good thing anyway)

Like I said, it might not work for you as well as me, but for someone with such a fiece sweet tooth as I’ve always had, I think I’m doing pretty damn good :smiley:

My opinion is that the self-control issue really has a lot to do with our body chemistry. I think it’s awfully easy to overdo one type of food & thus trigger a craving for its counterpart. Balance, mixing food groups, eating smaller meals, and watching those sugar triggers seems to make a big difference. For example, brown rice is, for me, vastly better than white rice; same with pasta. Once you get used to a baseline of healthy foods, plus start getting some exercise, then I think having a little bit of this or that which isn’t healthy won’t hurt you, and won’t cause wild cravings. The exercise is key, too, it just changes your whole system.

Of course, I will always and forever consumer every morsel of KFC cole slaw that’s sitting in my fridge, so some temptations are best avoided :).

For some reason, I read your thread title as “smacking urges,” and was hoping for some pointers.

As for snacking urges, find something else to do with the time you would normally spend snacking. Read a book, go for a walk, even play on your PC. It’s hard to eat when you’re typing with both hands, and people usually get totally absorbed in whatever I’m doing and stop thinking about food. Or find some creative (non-food related) ways to hang out more often with your friends. For example, I and a bunch of my friends are going apple picking this morning. While we are going to be picking apples, the whole thing usually dissolves into all of us climbing trees like monkeys. I’m 27, so it probably looks weird, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Or start a volleyball group or find a league. That way you’ll get your exercise and won’t be snacking.