Who doesn't experience food cravings? Whether you're trying to adhere to a strict diet, or simply hoping to avoid sugary, fatty foods, curbing cravings can feel like a monumental task.
How do you say no to the tantalizing chocolate cake laying before you at a birthday party? Is it even possible to turn down your favorite macaroni and cheese, even if it's made with 5 sticks of butter?
No matter what it is you're craving, all you need to fight those feelings of hunger is a short waiting period. If you can survive 15 minutes, you can say no to it all.
Although you may feel as though you can't resist 20 scoops of chips and dip, if you wait just 15 minutes you'll be better off. According to relapse specialist Alan Marlatt, in an interview with Meg Selig of Psychology Today, cravings are nothing more than a wave of emotion.
He remarks that cravings come in waves, rising until we feel as though we must succumb, and then subsequently crashing into absolutely nothing. If we wait our craziest cravings out, we'll realize that we actually don't want what we think we cannot live without—and it'll happen in just 15 minutes.
Okay, so overcoming craving is as simple as waiting just a few minutes. But why 15 instead of five?
According to research conducted by professor Adrian Taylor, waiting 15 minutes means we can cut our mindless snacking in as much as half for over 70 percent of us. Taylor and his research team performed a test with overweight individuals who ate chocolate and other high calorie foods regularly, asking them to fight off cravings and not snack in the days leading up to the study. The plan was to see just how badly the participants would want a fatty, sweet snack.
Once ready for the research, the participants were split into two groups. One was asked to walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes, while the other sat inactive. After, both groups underwent stressful exams intended to make them more interested in satisfyingly sweet treats. Rather than giving in to their cravings, those who walked for 15 minutes were able to fight them.
Although waiting 15 minutes when you're hit with a craving is important, what Taylor and his research team found even more valuable was movement. Those who got moving, even if it was as simple as a 15-minute walk, were better equipped to ignore their strongest cravings.
So, when stress and the temptation of the delicious foods you love the most lay before you, get moving. If you move, or simply get away from them, for 15 minutes, you'll be better equipped to resist them and fight off excess weight.