Fending off a snack attack can be as simple as asking, Am I hungry? "When a craving doesn't come from hunger, food will never satisfy it," says Michelle May, M.D., author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. "Treat your body like your car: Check your fuel gauge before you fill up." Imagine 1 is starving and 10 is full, and aim to eat at a 4, when your stomach feels fairly empty but not clanging with hunger pangs. To prevent bingeing, eat before you feel signals such as irritability, light-headedness or headaches.
Retrain your brain. If 10 seconds of contemplation reveals that you're not truly hungry, there are ways to lower your cortisol without calories. "Do anything that lets you take a breath: Chat with a friend, watch a soap opera, or hang from the monkey bars," says Stephanie Smith, Psy.D., a spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association. Change your routine and your brain will begin to crave your brand of fun instead of gooey treats.