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In Case of a Craving

Posted: January 05, 2015 by Ursina Teuscher

Guess what the most frequent New Year’s resolution is? Yes, losing weight.

We all know that's not an easy undertaking . One thing in particular gets in the way of even the best goals and intentions: cravings. They mess with our plans by telling us exactly what we should eat right now. They grip our thoughts. Suddenly it feels like we don't have a choice anymore. We won't get peace until that chocolate is gone.

So how can we stay in charge of our own plans and decisions in those moments?

The next time you feel a craving, try these steps:

1. Recognize and observe the craving.

How does it feel? What specific bodily sensations are associated with it? Does it feel different from hunger? Maybe it feels the same, but it happens in different moments? Sharpening your own awareness will make you less likely to succumb to it mindlessly.

2. Accept the craving as a natural feeling.

It is nothing to be ashamed of, and it may not go away right now. That's ok. The craving can stay. It causes you no harm.

3. Think more creatively.

What else could you do? Following your craving would use up some resources - at the very least it would probably cost you some money and some time, and you would consume calories. How else could you make use of those resources? By not following your craving, what else could you do with that "budget" that's now freed up? For example:

  • What else could you eat later that might be even better than what you're craving right now?
  • How else could you use that free moment?
  • What else do you find pleasurable? Do you enjoy knitting? Reading? Singing? Painting? Playing a game? Calling someone?

Think of it as a freebie: anything is allowed, as long as it's better than following your craving.

4. Decide.

Make a firm decision to stand up to the craving. Do what you really want. It will fade before you know it.

Give those four steps a try - they will get easier over time. Once you've gone through them a couple times, they will become a part of your natural thinking.

Happy New Year!

Tags: mood and feelings, addiction and behavior, body issues

Ursina Teuscher (she/her)

Professional Counselor

PhD in Applied Psychology, Career Counseling License from the University of Freiburg, Switzerland

Helping you tackle your big decisions and achieve your goals: career counseling, value-focused planning, executive and performance coaching

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