Your Food Cravings – Understanding & Tackling Them Effectively
Have you experienced being stuck in a place where the craving for a particular snack, especially those that are bad for you, takes complete control?
It’s like you have been possessed, and all your previous resolve of avoiding such foods has completely gone out the window. Now, you simply have to indulge.
But what we must understand is that it is not our body itself that is physically craving for the food, rather it is your mind that is craving for the feeling you get temporarily during the consumption of that food.
The mind acts very short-sighted in such cases. It just wants to chase the thrill of the moment and completely forgets the feelings of guilt and regret you’re going to get after you have given in to temptation.
What we don’t realise though is that these cravings are more a psychological phenomenon than a physical one. That is why practising some mind control can go a long way in enhancing your ability to resist these cravings.
Tips To Boost Your Mind Control
1. A Simple Mind Shift
When you are craving for food, you are automatically focusing on the temporary feeling of satisfaction you get during the act, and not the lasting feeling of inadequacy after.
Of course, if you are too lost in concentrating on the feelings you get while eating a chocolate cake, resisting that temptation will be much harder.
Instead, consciously shift where you focus the next time you get these cravings. Instead of thinking about how good the chocolate will feel for a little while, remember the feelings of guilt, lethargy and “being stuffed” that will follow soon after. With practice, you’ll notice that resisting this temptation becomes more and more easier.
2. Engage Your Mind
Your food craving can often simply be a result of boredom of the mind. Are you trying to find a cookie jar because there is nothing to do for the next hour?
Take a minute then to think about something you’ve been wanting to do but have been putting off. Or perhaps there is some other hobby or recreation that you enjoy doing and can divert your attention towards that activity.
Constructive engagement of the mind in meaningful activities is a great way to not only take your focus off of food cravings but also to make you feel productive at the same time.
3. Check With Your Emotions
If you start dreaming about fatty and sugary foods again, take out the time to be mindful of your state of mind. Are you feeling sad, nervous, anxious or stressed out?
Negative emotions are a magnet for unhealthy food habits. Identify and acknowledge what you are going through and look for healthier ways to make you feel better, like exercising and meditating. They’ll help in taking your mind off from impulsively indulging in food cravings.
4. Are You Just Thirsty?
In many cases, simply being thirsty is mistakenly (and conveniently) interpreted by the mind as a want for food. When your stomach signals emptiness to your brain, it is not always because of a lack of food but because of a lack of water.
So check in with your water quota. Have you had enough to drink since you woke up? Have a tall glass of water and check in with your hunger pangs again. You will find that often you are not famished but simply thirsty for a glass of pure, simple water.
5. Remind Yourself
Giving in to temporary temptations can make you forget about the long term price you pay for having bad foods. It is good practice to visually remind yourself of the health consequences every day.
Simply print a list of drawbacks and paste it on your kitchen wall, or save it as a cover on your phone’s image store. Do your own research and mete it out in writing if you want a more profound impact.
- List of drawbacks when you eat too many sugary foods
- List of drawbacks when you eat too many salty foods
- List of drawbacks when you eat too many fatty foods
Getting a periodic reminder of the price you pay in terms of lack of energy, poor health and the plethora of ailments that bad food invites is a great way to bust your cravings.
6. Exercise Right
Exercising releases a feel-good hormone in your mind which regulates your mood and emotions better. This helps rewire your brain so that it doesn’t rely solely on food to feel good.
Also be sure to invest in exercise to support your diet, and not as an excuse to hurt it. Many exercise doers think their cravings are ‘okay” and give in to them because their exercise routine will “sort it out”. The truth, however, is that no amount of exercise can serve as a replacement for a persistently bad diet. So, if you exercise regularly (which is great), use that as motivation to be even more wise about your food. Exercise and good diet together can do wonders for both your body and mind.
7. Invest Time In This Art
Lastly, realise that mind control is an art. Just as all art is a skill developed with patience and persistence, mind control too can be mastered over time using tools such as meditation and breath control.
As you get better at controlling your mind, you will reap its benefits not only in the controlling-food-cravings arena but in several other aspects of life as well.
To conclude, understand the fact that food cravings are more psychological than they are physical. The above-listed methods are tried and tested strategies to resist this hazardous temptation. With practice and awareness, food cravings can be totally eliminated from your life, along with their great health consequences.