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What Causes Cravings, and Why Ruin Your Good Dieting

Posted Apr 22 2012 10:47am

Craving can get you into trouble. You throw all your weight-loss willpower away. All your hard work and good intentions are gone in a flash. You give in to your craving, and that’s the end of your dieting program, at least for now.

Yet cravings have been your way to adapt to and override unpleasant emotional cues. Before you even think about what’s going on with you, you snap into action. You take action. You act before you think. OK, sometimes you think too. But your craving, even before you act on it, is a pretty impulse-driven reaction to some discomfort you don’t want to really feel, and deal with.

To do something about your cravings means that you have to slow down this pretty automatic reaction to whatever feelings you’re trying to avoid or deny. You have to rescue your self-reflection and use it. You have to call upon some constructive self-criticism. You cannot simply give in to the driven quality of your craving.

When you are dieting and you crave something that’s not on your dieting plan, giving yourself a moment or two to think is entirely possible. It may not feel like this is so, but it is so. Your cravings have a beginning, middle, and end—most importantly, they do end. You can, with practice, actually wait out your craving. Try it Next time you crave something off your diet, you could even time your craving to see just how long you would have to wait until it goes away. Or, you could think of your craving as a wave that crests and falls, and you could picture yourself riding out the wave.

Whatever your technique, the thing to do about a craving is to be more deliberate in your thinking about it. Interrupt its driven quality. Self-reflect, and be constructively self-critical. And…if you can deal with the unpleasant emotional cues more directly without turning on the craving, do so.


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