5 stages of junk food cravings and how to avoid them

There are five stages of grief, but who knew there are five stages of cravings?

There’s arousal, increased attention, desire, consumption and finally regret. The last two stages, however, are completely avoidable.

We are constantly surrounded by tempting junk foods, but if you always feed that craving, “We are more likely to overeat," said dietitian Lauren Ott. "We are more likely to be at risk to gain weight and for heart disease."

So what can you do to resist the cravings?

First, start a cravings journal. Write down the times of day you are craving those unhealthy snacks, what you are craving, your emotions at the time and what you ate before and how much. Notice if there are any patterns in the times you are craving them or any situation that may bring them on.

Another tip: find a healthier alternative. If you are craving a sugar-filled soda, try a soda with low to no sugar. If you want a grilled cheese sandwich, make it on whole wheat bread with reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

Finally, don’t deprive yourself. It can cause intense cravings that lead to overeating. It’s OK to indulge once and a while, but it’s all about portion control. Food cravings decreased when they were consumed less frequently and at smaller portion sizes.

Experts said another thing that can help reduce cravings is to not let yourself get too hungry. In states of extreme hunger, people tend to crave quick-fix foods like candy or chips. Instead, eat smaller meals throughout the day.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Angela Clooney, Videographer and Editor.