Just because you cannot fight your cravings, doesn’t mean that you have low will power. There are bigger things at play here – microscopic chemicals rather. Whenever your body faces an imbalance of serotonin, endorphins, neuropeptide Y and galanin the cravings start.

You may crave carbohydrate when there is a deficiency in seratonin – a hormone like substance in your brain. You can actually feel irritated and tense if seratonin is too low.

On the other hand endorphines are happiness inducing chemicals in the body whose deficiency can make you feel agitated and depressed. Stress adds to the food-craving orchestra and everything from boredom to anxiety can set off a crave attack. But if you plan your diet and activity levels well, you can beat craving attacks. Here’s how:

1. Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day that contain some high-quality carbs and some protein; this will keep NPY and serotonin levels in the normal range. Avoid skipping breakfast and fatty meals and snacks midday.

2. Go slow with your dietary changes to allow your body to adjust. The gradual shift allows time for the crave-control chemicals to adapt. Feed your cravings with small servings of your favorite food thus avoiding binging which is often the result of too much abstinence.

3. Cut back on sugar, caffeine and refined grains. Instead look for more nutritious, low-calorie foods to feed your craving.

4. Get physically active as this takes your mind off food and help maintain a more constant weight. Exercise is also a healthy way to get a pleasurable endorphin rush and reduce stress.