Has a bag of cookies ever beckoned you after a lousy day? Even if we otherwise have killer discipline, many of us can't help surrendering to food cravings. We assume it's the decadent flavors, sugars, and fats that have us feeling peckish; but it's more about the snacking patterns we've grown accustomed to, say our experts. "A craving is essentially just a habit you've ensconced in the brain pathway," explains Michael Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. If you tend to eat when you're anxious or at a certain time of night, the behavior just continues on as part of your lifestyle.
What's more, a lot of us turn to mindless super-snacking when we're really looking to comfort ourselves or just find distraction—but these psychological effects are temporary at best, says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. Instead of rationalizing your snack-happy scenarios ("I'm stressed!"), ID the real reasons behind them. Then make these wise adjustments from the pros, and you'll be back in the driver's seat.