The F.A.T. Rule: 3 Steps to Finally Beating Cravings in 2012

The F.A.T. (Frequency, Amount, Type) Rule

Getting off the diet roller coaster and becoming permanently thinner comes down to one thing; retraining your brain to want the foods that keep you thinner. There are three components to this brain retraining principle. I call it the F.A.T. rule which stands for:

Frequency: Gradually decrease how often you eat foods you shouldn’t.

Amount: Swap calorie-dense foods for low-cal, yet filling foods.

Type: Eat the same foods in a slightly different variety.

F.A.T. Rule #1: Frequency

There’s no need to go cold turkey from unhealthy foods to lose weight. As a matter of fact, it’s best that you don’t turn your diet completely upside down all at once. The smoother the transition, the more likely you are to stick with the new program. The next time you go to the grocery store, make a point to choose only one option for fatty, sweet or salty foods that you usually fall victim to. For instance, if you’re a salty snack lover then you probably have a section in your cabinet dedicated to these types of foods; microwave popcorn, Doritos, regular potato chips, BBQ flavored chips, etc. On your next grocery trip, choose only one salty snack. You can’t eat what’s not with you. Once you run out of that item, you’ll have to eat whatever else is there.

F.A.T. Rule #2: Amount

While you’re at the grocery store, you can also tackle F.A.T. rule #2. The trick is to not only decrease the number of selections of unhealthy foods, but to replace them with something else. You don’t need to stop snacking, you need to snack on something else most of the time. Replace crunchy snacks with something else crunchy, salty snacks with something else salty and so on. This is important because we tend to want a certain flavor or consistency of food at any given time. Cold, crunchy pickles offer low-cal satisfaction for a salty food craving. However, if nothing will satisfy your craving except the exact item you want, then have it. Just portion out less of it.

Never eat from the container or the bag. For example, if you’re having ice cream, eat from a measuring cup. Fill it with 1/2 cup of ice cream, put the container away, then sit down and eat. Take a glass of water with you to drink when you’re done. In 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll probably find that your craving has been satisfied. If not, try eating a small healthy meal instead of going for more ice cream. Chances are that you’re hungry for real food but your brain is interpreting it as a junk food craving.

F.A.T. Rule #3: Type

Try the low-fat, low-cal or low-sugar versions of foods you like. Gradually step down to these alternatives if you need to. For example, if you like dairy products, don’t go from full-fat to skim right off the bat. Step down to 2%, then 1% then skim. Buy two types at the same time and mix them until you get used to the taste if it helps you transition without noticing a difference. Remember that if you gradually step down over time, you won’t notice the difference and you’ll come to enjoy and prefer the taste of less salty, sweet and fatty foods. I used to be a soda head and Dr. Pepper was my drug of choice. After slowly switching to sugar-free drinks, it’s very hard to drink regular soda anymore. Dr. Pepper tastes like pure syrup after you wean yourself from it.