Managing Your Cravings
Good morning, nurse friends! Today, I wanted to talk about food cravings because food cravings are a very sensitive topic for me. They were very difficult for me to manage (especially during and after work) because I thought food was the only way to feel better. I have great news for you — it’s NOT the only way to feel better! Now that I’ve learned so much about my mind and how to manage it, food cravings are actually manageable (who knew?).
What I mean by food cravings (or urges) is an urgent desire to eat something that you shouldn’t be eating.
In my previous blog post on How to Plan for Your Success, I talk about the importance of planning every single thing you eat at least 24 hours in advance.
I want to reiterate just how important this is.
Every time we have a craving for food, it’s because we had a thought that created a feeling of desire.
If you think about the fundamental actions of the human brain, this is a universal truth: Our thoughts create our feelings. We know this is true because our feelings change, depending on how we think about something.
Every time I see a donut in the staff lounge, I think “Oh, that looks yummy. I want it.”
That thought “I want it” is what triggers the desire for that food.
Now here’s something to know: Just because your brain thought it, and just because you desire it, does not mean you have to eat it!
Instead, be curious about your craving. Get to know it a little. Really understand this about yourself — why do you want that food, and what are you hoping that food will do for you?
A great tool that I’ve created just for understanding your cravings goes like this:
Every single time you have a craving for a food that is off-plan, OR you find yourself stuffing your face with cookies from the staff lounge (which I’ve done!) or buying PopTarts from the vending machine after work (which I’ve done!), take the following four steps (with the acronym SNAAC — use it whenever you want to grab a snack!):
Stop: Stop what you are thinking or stop eating & pause.
Notice: Notice whatever feeling (vibration in your body) you have at this moment. Label it as whatever you would like.
Ask: Ask yourself why you are feeling this way, and keep asking “Why does this matter to you?” until you find that underlying reason for your craving.
ACcept: Accept that whatever thought came up for you is the reason why you are craving (or eating) food off-plan. And that is completely okay. At this moment, you can choose to continue eating with awareness and ownership that the thought you had created your desire for this food. OR you may no longer feel the need to eat that food altogether, once you gain a better understanding of why you are eating it to begin with.
Food cravings can seem so automatic because, before you know it, you are stuffing your face with donuts and cookies! (Trust me, I’ve been there so many times.) And I want you to know that this is not an automatic behavior. We have full control over our action of overeating 100% of the time. Yes, 100%.
Starting with this SNAAC tool is a great way to understand yourself a bit better, to interrupt the neural pathway of your reaction to overeat, and to fully accept that your overeating is always caused by a thought (and that is completely okay).
If you are interested in this material and would like a free coaching session with me, click the button below to schedule your call today!