How to deal with cravings in a non-deprivational way

Back in April, I read this article on Move Norish Believe, the blog of fit fashionista Lorna Jane. The article details how to deal with cravings for naughty foods in four easy steps. I’m going to give you a minute to guess what those four steps were. If you guess along the lines of drink some water and have some veggie sticks then, ding ding we have a winner! I’m really disappointed with this article as I have a problem with this approach. Firstly, the article suggests that we can’t trust ourselves when it comes to sweet foods and as soon as we give in to our cravings we’ll never be able to stop eating as the ‘addiction’ centre in our brains goes haywire. So best to cut it all out. Then the article goes on to explain that often it is the texture of foods we are craving- if you are craving something crunchy it’s a sign of tension apparently. So instead of some chips we should snack on some raw veggie sticks. Or better yet, just have some water as that can instantly reduce cravings. Yeah, that sounds totally satisfying. Have you tried something like this in the past? How did it go? Does the following scenario sound familiar? You crave chocolate. But you tell yourself its unhealthy and bad. So you have some berries and yoghurt. Its nice but not that satisfying. So then you have some crackers and veggie sticks. You’re still restless and that chocolate is still calling to you. You give in and have some. Maybe you eat more than you intended. So now in addition to chocolate you’ve had berries, yoghurt, crackers and veggie sticks and if you’re honest with your self, even though you aren’t hungry, the experience wasn’t that satisfying either. So instead of depriving yourself I suggest you try something different: eat what you are craving. Step one: choose your food Try and hone in on what you’d really like to eat. If you are craving something salty what is it? Hot chips? Maybe its a potato cake or pretzels? I’m going to use a bowl of ice cream as an example. I’m a simple gal and love vanilla, especially that stuff with the real vanilla bean in it. You can imagine any other flavor you like, or any other favorite food. Step two: eat Spoon out your ice cream. Put your iphone, newspaper and other distractions away, you’ve earned this quiet time with your delicious treat. Sit in a quiet place and look at your ice cream. Notice the texture of it, the smell. Maybe its starting to melt a little around the edges. Spoon some into your mouth. Slowly savor that mouthful- what does it feel like in your mouth? Notice how cold it is and what it feels like when it starts to melt. Can you taste that flavor yet? Pay attention to how that flavor tastes and if it changes at all as the icecream melts. When your mouthful is finished, take another remembering to savor it. Repeat. When you’ve finished your bowl (or eaten as much as you want, you don’t have to finish it all!) notice how you feel. I’m willing to bet you’ll feel more satisfied than had you tried that first approach. Let me be clear: No, I’m not giving you permission to eat unlimited amounts of food. I’m giving you permission to eat the foods that you truly enjoy. Because isn’t that the point of life, to enjoy things?

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