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How the Pros Curb Food Cravings

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Plan on giving in

“Depriving a sweet tooth is a recipe for disaster. Don’t cut things out so you binge later. Instead, try allotting up to a fifth of your daily calorie allowance to the sweet of your choice. Every day I have a small package of Paul Newman’s Organic Peanut Butter Cups; they’re 180 calories for the pack—and I don’t feel deprived.”

—Jillian Michaels, trainer and host of the upcoming NBC show Losing It With Jillian and author of Master Your Metabolism

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"Next time you crave fried onion rings or chicken tenders, try this trick: coat the food with egg whites and a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese, whole-wheat flour, and panko breadcrumbs; spray with a bit of cooking spray, then put it into a 450 degree oven for 10–15 minutes. You’ll have a crispy, healthier treat with the same indulgent taste."

—Rocco DiSpirito, author of NOW EAT THIS!

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Collect your candy wrappers

"Instead of throwing away a wrapper after you indulge in something sweet, keep it in a jar. It’ll help you be more aware of how much you’re eating."

—Susan Albers, PsyD, author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

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Go gourmet

"Sometimes, we keep eating because we don’t get that taste hit we’re looking for; bland store-bought cookies, weak milk chocolate, and dry baked chips are among the worst offenders. Trade up for the gourmet version—a killer cookie, some intense dark chocolate, olive oil potato chips—and you’ll be satisfied with less."

—Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, lead nutritionist at TheBestLife.com

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Picture your payoff

"Make a collage with pictures that represent you reaching your goal—and look at it when a craving hits. Then ask yourself if having that doughnut will bring you closer to your goals."

—Chris Downie, author of The Spark and founder of SparkPeople.com

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Stop checking e-mail

"Cut out distractions. When your attention isn't diverted, you can truly savor what you're eating—and that satisfaction will help you control mindless snacking or overeating."

—Lillian Cheung, RD, co-author of Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

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Sneak in some nutrition

"Don't fight your cravings—become friends with them by trying to sneak in a little nutrition, too. Have what you love and crave, but think of a way to make it a little healthier. I make my hot chocolate with carrot juice to get a little health boost."

—Jennifer Iserloh, author of Secrets of a Skinny Chef: 100 Decadent, Guilt-Free Recipes

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Clean up your act

"Give up artificial sweeteners—they make you crave more sugar. All of my clients who've given these up have had more success with their cravings.”

—Keri Glassman, RD, author of 02 Diet and founder of of NutritiousLife.com

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Check it off

"On a 3x5 index card, write a check every time you successfully say no to a craving. You need to do this 15 times in a row before you’ll be able to conquer any craving. On the reverse side of the card, write down some affirmations to remind yourself why you should resist."

—Judith Beck, Ph.D., director of the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and Research

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