Food cravings and urges are tricky beasts. But never fear, with some specific knowledge and determined action, we can tame them.
There are three areas of your life in which you have the power to diminish their hold on you. These desires are profoundly influenced by the health of your microbiome, the quality of your thoughts and your ability to allow uncomfortable emotions.
If you haven’t already read the first two posts in this series, please read Part 1 here to learn more about how you can improve the health of your microbiome to manage cravings.
And Part 2 here to learn more about how awareness of your thinking and intentionally choosing thoughts can make it easier to manage cravings when they do arise.
Our emotional weather is the force driving our behavior.
This is not a willpower issue. It is a thoughts and feelings issue.
In my coach training program, it was often stressed that everything we do is motivated by how we think it will make us feel. All the positive actions we take. And all the negative actions. The buffering. The self-sabotage.
All the painful, shameful, angry feelings that arise from negative actions are the consequences of our thoughts and emotions driving our behavior.
Cultivating the ability to understand the many aspects of our emotional life is the third key to finding freedom around food.
Awareness of the undercurrents and cross-currents of our emotions and their affect on our behavior makes the difference between allowing a craving to exist without having to answer it and giving in to it’s siren call.
According to National Geographic Magazine, scientists think that between 30-60% of our emotional make-up is inherited.
They report that many factors influence the balance, from parents, authority figures and peers to our environment, our culture and the media.
Let’s flip this statistic upside down.. It could also be said that 40-70% of our emotions and the corresponding thoughts that created them are learned from these many factors.
Anything that we’ve learned can be unlearned. Every thought we think is optional. With awareness, we get to choose which ones to keep.
The very best news is that we’ve got plenty of room to gain traction over our emotional life because we can always take control over the thoughts that create our feelings.
You could just as easily think about it like this: From infancy, we are taught other peoples interpretations, judgements, opinions and values. Too young to question or evaluate them, we absorb them as our own.
As we get older, we may begin to examine them with a more critical eye. We can adapt them or create new ones of our own. As we mature, we are able to take ownership of our interpretations, beliefs, values, judgements, ideas, prejudices, the stories we tell and more.
At any time we decide, we can take back control of our thoughts and shift them to create the feelings we want to have.
Thoughts create emotions which drive actions which create the results we see in our lives.
This is the magic formula that is always operating in the background of our lives. Much the way gravity is always operational, even if we aren’t aware of it’s power every minute of the day.
So, if our thoughts create our feelings and feelings of desire come from our thinking, we can take a two pronged approach to managing thoughts and feelings associated with cravings.
Some common thoughts may stimulate cravings begin with:
- I deserve…
- I want…
- It’s not fair…
- Why me…
- I wish I could…
- I can’t…
- It’s time…
- It’s my…
Some common emotions associated with cravings, in no particular order, may include:
The counter-intuitive secret to coping with cravings when they arise.
When intense emotions around cravings threaten to swallow you whole, instead of resisting them and trying to talk yourself out of them, allow them to be present.
It may sound counter-intuitive but take time to consciously recognize them. Name them. Welcome them in. Allow them to sit by your side.
Believe me, this not crazy talk!
This approach is designed to out-smart your brain’s natural inclination to avoid what it fears may be painful. Remember the Motivational Triad? Seek pleasure. Avoid pain. Conserve energy.
Recognizing and allowing urges and cravings can help with dissipate with in minutes, not hours or days.
An unmanaged, unsupervised mind is like a two year old running with scissors.
Instead, make time to take that mind of yours in hand, just as you as you would a wild toddler.
Once you address the situation, and calm down all the energy, it’s possible to allow the tension to subside.
Have an Intentional Thinking Protocol at the ready to help dissipate the intensity of your cravings.
Here’s where it’s important to know what thoughts you’d prefer to think to generate feelings of confidence and motivation that you can experience urges and cravings without giving in to them.
Review how to create an Intentional Thinking Protocol right here.
Cultivate feelings of curiosity and compassion to make weight loss easier.
Become the watcher of yourself experiencing urges and cravings.
Notice how your body feels. What bodily sensations do you experience when cravings arise? Name them.
Notice the thoughts you were thinking that created those emotions.
Next, create a list of 5 believable thoughts that create feelings of curiosity and compassion when urges and cravings arise.
PRACTICE YOUR BELIEVABLE THOUGHTS! Many times a day. For weeks. For months. Until they become second nature so they are the thoughts your brain offers first.
You are doing the necessary work to rewire your brain with new thoughts that will trigger the emotions you prefer to have so you can allow cravings to exist. Without the need to respond to them.
Let’s figure out how to manage your urges and cravings.
I’ve developed my It’s Never Too Late Weight Loss Coaching program to address this HUGE weight loss challenge.
Isn’t it time that you made use of the free Strategy Call I offer so you can get started today learning how to allow your emotions rather than let them drive you to give in to urges and cravings?
Let me know you’re ready to get started making progress toward your weight loss goal right here.