Cravings can have a physiological cause (for example, if you don’t eat enough carbs during the day) but they often stem from a need to soothe yourself. We don’t like feeling bored, stressed, frustrated, angry, sad, guilty or even tired. When we start snacking on high fat / high sugar food, conciously or unconsciously, we’re usually trying to change the negative emotional state we’re in or/and prolong the positive emotional state when we overeat or binge.
Ok, I hear you say, so what do I do?
- Identify/observe the feeling/emotion that is present with the craving.
- Identify the thought that’s making these feelings stronger or transforming them into other negative thoughts.
Some common ones :
- I’m so stressed that I have to eat something.
- Food is my only comfort.
- This craving is so strong; it won’t leave me alone.
- I’ve had a really tough day; I deserve a treat.
- It’s so unfair that others can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.
- Accept the thought, respond to it and choose a way to sooth yourself without food.Let’s look at a possible response for the thought “I deserve a treat.”“Yes, a treat would be nice but I don’t have to reward myself with food. I would actually be punishing myself long-term because it stops me from losing the weight I really want to lose. I’m going to take a bubble bath and listen to some soothing music instead.”
Coming up with a response is not always easy, so finding ways to reinforce your motivation helps.
A new chapter has been written for the English version of Dr. Balon-Perin’s book about his method. This chapter focuses on ways to reinforce motivation, as well as cognitive behavioral and mindfulness based simple strategies to deal with cravings and soothe yourself without food. It also gives great tips on socializing and following the method.