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Day #8 Is it real hunger or a craving?

For Day 8 of your January Tweak Diet, here’s a 3-step strategy to use every time you fancy something to eat to help you distinguish between craving and real hunger. If you’ve just joined us, scroll down to see how the Tweak Diet works

Step 1  Crave-calming breath.  Before you reach for the food, take three deep belly breaths. Take in a deep breath,  hold it in your belly and count to five, then breathe it out.  Do it three times and the endorphins you want from chocolate will start pumping to your brain naturally, without food.

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Step 2 Now think:  Is this real hunger or a craving?  Real hunger comes on slowly, and is usually satisfied by any palatable food, says Dr Roger Gould, clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and founder of, an online program for emotional eating. Real hunger usually, builds gradually, can be fulfilled by most food and strikes below the neck (for example growling stomach).  Emotional craving or false hunger develops suddenly, is usually for specific foods, strikes above the neck (for example as you think about the taste of that Magnum) and is often in response to strong emotions such as boredom, sadness or even elation.  See the difference?

Step 3:  Sit with it ‘If you are craving as a result of turbulent feelings, try learning to sit with your emotions – be that anger, stress or anxiety,’ says Jeremy Gauntlett-Gilbert, author of Overcoming Weight Problems (Constable, £9.99).  ‘This robs your emotions of power over you and also gives you space and time to think about exactly why you’re feeling that way – where might habitually be distracting yourself with food.  Like cravings, negative emotions pass quickly, they can’t hurt you.’



What is the Tweak diet?  Designed for anyone who doesn’t want to go on a big starv-y diet during January, we deliver you one new small change to make to your diet or lifestyle on each day in January.  You continue each change throughout the month and come February, be on your way to weight loss and new healthy habits you can keep all year. You in?

1. Start anytime. Some of you will be starting on January 1st, but that’s not compulsory. If you’re joining us after January 1st, simply go back to Day 1 and start from there.

2. Continue with each of your small changes throughout the month and come end January, you will have built up a heap of new healthy habits and will be well on your way to losing weight and feeling better.

3. If you fall off the wagon just get back on asap If you don’t manage to keep up all your small changes every day, don’t worry. Just get back on the next day or even better, at the next meal.

4. Measure once at the start and once at the end. That’s all Take your waist, hip and bust measurements and weigh yourself at the start and end ONLY of your tweak-a-thin journey. I don’t want you getting bogged down in the numbers and would prefer you focus on how much better you’ll feel (the weight loss will happen, don’t worry)

5. Send us selfies of your tweak-a-thin journey Post them to Healthista on TwitterFacebook and in the comments below. At the end of January we’ll publish them and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a Healthista exclusive pamper hamper handpicked by yours truly.

6. Do what you can Obviously you don’t have to do every single tweak we suggest. Even just one will make a difference as we’ve handpicked each change to be small but powerful.  The more you do though, the better your results.


More posts in Healthista’s January Daily Tweak Diet

Day #1 Record everything you eat

Day #2 Drink two litres of water daily

Day #3 Your at-a-glance portion guide

Day #4: Have a protein breakfast for weight loss

Day #5 Cut back on sugar with these simple tips

Day #6 Burn an extra 500 calories a day (without the gym)

Day #7 Snack on 40 almonds a day


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