By Dr. Coral Arvon, Ph.D.
Sugar may be the most common craving, but it also has plenty of company; burgers and salty snacks are also high on many peoples got to have lists. I believe as much as 85% of the country’s obesity problem is tied to cravings, I see it all the time here at Pritikin.
We also eat tons when were “ F.L.A.B.”, frustrated, lonely, anxious and bored. Be on alert to see if these aren’t triggers for you.
Emotions like anger, fear and shame all create additional tension. This underlines most food cravings. “The more we try to ignore a feeling, the stronger it grows its like the pink elephant in the room – we can’t stop thinking of it. And then of course, unhealthier eating. To stop the urge I suggest setting a timer for 10 minutes while asking yourself: Am I really hungry or simply holding on to strong emotion? Just the act of honestly admitting and reviewing one’s feelings is usually enough to relieve the urgency associated with emotional hunger.
Surf the urge. An urge is like a wave; it comes to a peak in a matter of minutes and then it will pass, May I suggest putting nutritious food in your body all day instead. Try 3 main meals and 3 healthy snacks. We need urge control!
One Way to cut cravings is to be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth. Many people eat unconsciously. Mindlessly all daylong
Paying attention to food can pay dividends. There’s a growing body of research that says when people eat mindfully they start to shed pounds. When we’re not eating mindfully, we eat more quickly. It takes 20 minutes from the time you start eating to register fullness. Eat too quickly and you’re not going to feel full soon enough, so you’ll eat way more than you would otherwise.”
How do you stay focused on your food? “Sit down at table instead of the computer. And one of the biggest triggers for mindless eating is television. Take the time to make sure the very first bite is mindful—smell it, look at it, enjoy it as you begin eating .That first bite is always experienced more intensely than the others.
Find a food you really like—mine is a sweet potato—one that you can really savor and enjoy. Choose a healthy, calorie dense food, it can also be comfy too!
Maintain Your Momentum
So you’ve lost weight—you rock that bikini. Time to hit the road for some well-deserved downtime! Not so fast. I will warn you against treating vacations as munching sprees: “There’s a saying: All I want to bring home from vacation are souvenirs and the clothes I bought, not the weight I gained.”
When going away, find a location where you can enjoy sports or other calorie-burning activities. Stock your room with plenty of water and fresh fruit, and have some before going out to that fancy restaurant. Set boundaries for yourself, such as I’m going to eat what I like, but at this meal only and not at all of them.
Try to take the same approach with holiday eating. You have to say to yourself, What do I really love? I can do without the stuffing, and instead have a tiny piece of the pecan pie.’ Then back to my clean healthy eating. Remember this is a life style not a diet.