How to Stop Cravings: A Common Mistake and How to Fix it
June 24th, 2013 by Katie Morton
Photo by Chewonki Semester School / Creative Commons.
Does the below scenario sound familiar?
Your pants feel tight. Really tight. Like, annoying tight. You don’t want to buy new pants, you want to lose weight! You think, “That’s it. No more chips, no more margaritas, no more pasta, no more ice cream, no more sugar!!!”
The next morning you wake up and think, “I shouldn’t have sugar. Well, a little sugar in my coffee won’t hurt.” Then lunchtime rolls around. Your lunch comes with chips, and you think, “Oh, don’t eat those.” But you find yourself munching a chip just moments later. For dinner, somehow you find yourself eating or drinking something else off the “no-no” menu.
We tell ourselves to avoid unhealthy foods or drinks, but then we find ourselves drawn right to the very thing we said we wouldn’t eat or drink. Why do we do this?
Psychologists call it “thought suppression.” Here’s how it works: don’t picture a purple shoe. Seriously, stop thinking about a purple shoe. You aren’t thinking about a purple shoe. Right? What shade of purple is it? Hey, I just said NOT to think of a purple shoe. You can’t see a purple shoe in your mind’s eye, okay? Perfect.
Do you want to know how well that works? Not at all. Not one darn shred of effectiveness. There was a study done that dubbed thought suppression as “ironic rebound” because when you try not to think about something, guess what – you’re going to think about it.
When it comes to controlling cravings, so many of us think about all the deliciousness we should avoid, which makes us feel completely nuts and deprived and like we want to eat a mountain of the very thing that we just told ourselves is forbidden.
The good news is that this issue is pretty easily solved. Point your mind in the direction you want to go. Don’t bother banning foods or deciding what you can’t have — instead, think about what you will have. Look ahead at what you want: Health. Vitality. Energy. What foods will take you to these goals?
Think of all the healthy, delicious foods you can eat that will make your body a lean, mean, fighting machine. Even though we’ve been conditioned to think that healthy food isn’t that great, that’s a load of hooey.
Think about the most delicious salad you’ve ever eaten. Perhaps the lettuce was crisp and fresh. Did it have some tasty vegetables on it? How was the dressing — was it tangy, sweet, salty and delicious? What else was on the salad? Personally, I love seared ahi tuna on a salad, but I’ve had plenty of good ones that had steak, chicken or shrimp. I also like some nuts or seeds on my salad. Salad…mmm, so filling, so delicious! I want one right now!
Excuse me while I run and get a salad for lunch. (That actually just happened.) Okay, I’m back. Where was I? Guacamole! That’s what I just had on my salad. It was pretty awesome. That was one rad salad. Mmmmm, salad.
Sorry, I can’t write anything else, I can’t stop thinking about salad.
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