Easy Ways To Distract Yourself When You Want To Eat Junk

A new study from the University of Minnesota concluded that comfort food doesn't assuage your grief. Researchers screened depressing movie clips for students. Half subsequently got their favorite comfort food, while the others didn't.

"Once the students had finished eating, the researchers asked the students how they felt," said Maanvi Singh at National Public Radio (NPR), summarizing the study. "It turns out all the students felt better, regardless of what they had eaten." The comfort food had no effect on mood, with both groups feeling equally better.

The take away? Indulging in food for the sake of comfort seems to be a myth, so try to avoid it all together if possible. Stick it out, don't cave in and the urge will pass.

Healthy, non-food distractions for those times when your dietary enemy rears its ugly head can be your saving grace for fast, lasting fat loss. Resisting temptation can be hard, so you'll want every bit of ammunition you can get.

I've found these five distractions can get your mind off that triple-layer pumpkin pie or whatever your dietary enemy might be.

1. Take a nap.

One study in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine showed that a 30-minute nap promotes wakefulness, enhances performances and improves learning. It also guarantees, for a little bit at least, that you don't go facedown in leftover maple cheesecake with roasted pears for a midafternoon snack.

2. Get your brain going.

Cooler weather is a great excuse to turn off the blaring TV and go old-school with classic board games for entertainment. Scrabble or Charades challenge your mind so you're not thinking about that leftover apple crumb cake in the fridge.

If you'd rather stimulate your brain solo, crossword puzzles or Sudoku make smart ways to distract you from the kitchen's siren call.

3. Take a long walk.

Surely you've heard by now that we sit too much. A brisk walk breaks that sedentary behavior and gives you an excuse to get some fresh air.

One caveat: you're not going to burn enough calories walking to earn that piece of pumpkin pie, so don't use that as an excuse to subsequently pig out.

4. Take a hot bath.

You can't get to the kitchen while you're bathing, right? (At least not without a potentially slippery fall.)

Close off the kitchen after dinner and take a hot bath with some Epsom salts, a good book and camomile tea. You might get so absorbed in your book that you completely forget about that sweet tooth urge. I love this relaxing soak-the-day-away detoxifying bath recipe.

5. Email or call friends and family who impact your life and thank them.

A study in the journal Psychiatry showed people who kept a gratitude journal experienced more feelings of well-being compared with those who wrote about neutral or negative experiences.

Make your own gratitude list. Remind your family and friends how much you appreciate them. Surprise someone who's shown you kindness with a "thank you" phone call or email. You'll feel great, with no lingering regrets like you'd have with that second cookie.

Dietary deviations are everywhere. What one strategy would you add to avoid them and stick with your plan? Share yours below.

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