Don’t Fight Your Food Cravings!

Do you struggle with food cravings? How often do you try to talk yourself out of them? Does it work? My guess is no! The more we fight them, the stronger they tend to get. I often use the example of playing tug of war with a dog or battling wills with a teenager. The more we fight, the harder it becomes. We have cravings for a few different reasons. Sometimes cravings come from a deficiency in nutrients. More often than not though, cravings are due to the addictive nature of food. High fat and high sugar foods light up our brains and when paired with emotional situations, the conditioned response becomes a craving. Every time you are faced with difficult emotions, you are likely to crave food if that has been our primary coping skill. Instead of shutting the craving down, ask yourself what you are hoping to feel. If you are using food to feel comfort, nurturing and safety, food will not provide that for you. In the moment, you may feel that briefly, but if hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the solution. If you can’t identify an emotional root, ask yourself what you really want. If you want a specific food item, don’t choose a substitute. It will likely not satisfy you. Instead, allow yourself to have your food of choice, but slow the process down. Allow yourself to eat slowly to enjoy it and savor it. Then, pay attention to how your body feels. Does it feel light and energized or heavy and sluggish? Check in an hour later to notice how you feel. By getting in touch with your body, you may realize that your craving isn’t what your body truly wants after all and the craving is based on an emotional trigger. The more you practice, the easier this will get!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.

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