Anatomy of a Food Craving - Part 1
cartiIn this article I describe the physical and emotional torment caused by food cravings and I give an overview of how I handled a deliberately induced craving.
If you have ever had a food craving I am sure that you may have experienced most of the following symptoms:
The thought of the food you crave enters your mind and it invades your thinking. You try to put these thoughts aside, doing other things to distract you and still you cannot stop thinking about this food.
You begin by thinking about this food and then you find that some physical sensations also arise, maybe increased salivation, maybe a gnawing in your stomach or a sense of hunger in your stomach. Emotionally you might feel agitated or anxious.
You might eat something else as a substitute for the food you crave and yet find that this is not satisfying, your thoughts still go back to the food you crave.
You might consider distracting yourself by doing something else like reading a book or watching a movie and yet you find your mind going back to the object of torment.
You try and logically prove to yourself that you do not need this food, that it is fattening, not good for you and so on. Or you might try to prove to yourself that it is only one bag of sweets or one bar of chocolate and you might go and do something else afterwards to burn off the extra calories. You might try to justify eating this food by saying you deserve it after a hard day out.
Before you know it your imagination is working over time; you can almost see this food, smell it, sense the texture of it in your mouth and even imagine the satisfaction you are going to get from eating it. Alongside this the agitation also grows and the gnawing ache in your stomach helps to exaggerate your desire for this food more and more.
Chances are that when you finally get this food, you eat it very fast and within a short time you want some more. Your satisfaction is short lived and your craving is like a monster which rears its ugly head looking for its next feed.
Guilt is another emotion which comes in the aftermath of satisfying the craving.
But really it is not about the type of food(s) your crave, but more about the thoughts, emotions and sensations that accompany the food craving. Prior to learning about NLP and self hypnosis, I managed my cravings by the simple method of avoidance.
For a period of a month I deliberately exposed myself like a guinea pig to the object of my craving and had fun applying the tools and techniques I teach my clients for managing their cravings. I bought the crisps and placed them tantalisingly inside the cupboard where I keep my herbal tea bags and coffee. Since I drink tea about 4 to 5 times a day, I exposed myself to the object of my cravings repeatedly throughout the day. Crisps, in particular the ready salted kind had been a weakness of mine in the distant past.
I could easily scoff two bags a night. If I didn’t buy crisps and they weren’t in the house, then there would be no temptation. Sometimes I struggled with another method called ‘willpower’. But there were problems with these methods. Ruminating over the object of my cravings dominated a lot of head space. I remember a number of occasions in the distant past when the craving got so bad that I ended up begging my husband to go out in the dead of night to fetch me some from the local garage shop and no, I wasn’t pregnant.
A month after buying the crisps the same bag is still there in the press unopened. Has it been torture resisting temptation? Quite frankly, no. In fact it has been an interesting experiment on myself to apply some of the coaching tools such as NLP, visualisation and meditation I teach my clients on a regular basis. As a practitioner it is very easy to forget to practice what you speak. So now this was a deliberately created opportunity to put what I preach into practice. During the month I noted down some of my experiences of the craving and how I dealt with it which might be of help to you. In Part 2 you will discover specific ways of managing and eradicating your food cravings.
Copyright © Anne Marie Courtney