2 ways to stop a food craving

Wouldn’t it be fabulous to easily and quickly stop a food craving that keeps derailing you from achieving your health goal?

I’d love to say it was a simple step.

We all have cravings, good ones and bad ones.  I’ll bet you didn’t realise that cravings are nothing more than habits which are subconscious and automatic behaviours.  And, the cravings that everyone want to stop, are the ones that sabotage your goals and good intentions.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Why do we crave things and why is it soooo hard to stop?

My worst craving is for lollies.  My mother, who’s now well on her way to 90, has the sweetest tooth I’ve ever come across.  I know the exact shelf in her kitchen where she has her stash and when I visit, I find myself opening that cupboard and reaching in.  I can taste the sugary goodness before I even arrive there.  My brain has associated love and comfort with Mum + lollies.  An emotional anchor that’s difficult to turn away from.

Cravings are a damaging habit.

Hard to break.  Hard to change.

They’ll sabotage your plans and derail your good intentions.  But overall, you’ll feel frustrated and guilty when you repeat them.

Whatever your craving, imaging for a moment what it would be like if you learnt how to stop that food craving.

Cravings are nothing more than a habit.   A repeated pattern that’s gave your brain a reward in the past so now your brain is looking to repeat the same thing to get the same reward.

Are you thinking this?

There’s the idea that you’re craving what your body needs, or is missing.  In some instances, this is true.  Like when you crave water you’re dehydrated and thirsty.  Or when you crave salt, it could be an electrolyte imbalance.  Or, the chemical cravings from cigarettes or some drugs.

I’m discussing food cravings here.

When you crave chocolate, a sweet biscuit or a white chocolate and raspberry muffin, it’s not because your body is deficient in cacao or sugar or the ingredients in a muffin.

Sorry to disappoint.

What is a craving?

It’s an emotionally driven feeling that takes over your body (and all logical reasoning) and makes you do a certain behaviour.

Cravings are all about instant gratification, and your brain loves instant gratification, over and above waiting patiently.  It’s part of your survival instinct from the dark ages when finding food and eating it right then was the difference between surviving and starving.

Why is it so hard to stop cravings?

In your past, you ate the thing you now crave and it made you feel good.  Maybe you were having fun or felt relaxed, content or even loved.  Perhaps you were tired and then felt energised.  What happened was – you had an emotional response.

Afterwards, your body was cruising on the wave of feel good neurotransmitters.  You possibly repeated the same thing again and, boom, your brain made that connection.  Eat that – feel good.  Your brain filed that behaviour and subsequent emotional charge away so that you could do the same on a subconscious repeat loop.  Because your brain is always looking to save energy.

Every time you encounter the cue or trigger that’s been logged by your brain (like a smell, time of day or situation) your body sets up a dopamine anticipation response.

It’s the anticipation

It’s the anticipation of how you’ll feel when you repeat the previous behaviour (eat that muffin, drink that glass of wine etc).  It has nothing to do with how you’ll feel afterwards.  You brain is chasing the anticipation of how you think you’ll feel.

Bite Sized Action Step

Here’s two tricks to short circuit your brain when craving something:

  1. Understand how dopamine works and short circuit the behaviour – click here to down The Dopamine Trap Worksheet.
  2. Use the delay exercise – click here to download The Delay Discounting Worksheet.

If you want to chat with me about building consistent habits into your life, book a free chat with me today.

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With you consistently good habits in mind,

Catherine x

If you're looking for more energy, better mood, and motivation to reboot your health, I'll show you how. I love working with motivated women like you, women struggling with energy, moods, hormones, staying on track and everything that makes us women. I listen, investigate and then work with you step-by-step to get your health back on track so you can be busy, focused and full of energy. As a Naturopath, Herbalist, Certified Consistent Habits Coach and Clinical Aromatherapist I can help you to Reboot Your Health and Rebuild Your Life.

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