How to process a craving. No willpower needed.

Initially, processing the urge to snack is hard

Stop using will power, process the craving instead – Photo by Gaby Fishman Fosbery on Unsplash

Why should you process a craving?

Are you following through with your plan to stop snacking? If you are I am sure you have experienced cravings.

Willpower?

No, thank you.

Are you using willpower to stop you from snacking?

It works. Initially.

Unfortunately, it only works for a while.

That is why we get mixed up. We use willpower; it works for a bit. We think it is the solution.

However, we cannot keep it for long. We give up. We think there is something wrong with us.

What about trying something different?

Process a craving, the urge to eat something you do not want to eat

This time, instead of resisting or avoiding the urge to eat that snack, you invite the urge to be with you, let it sit next to you.

A craving feels uncomfortable, so we avoid it, we resist it. That makes it stronger and harder to deal with.

I am proposing you do something different. I am asking you to experience the craving.

FEEL the urge.

How does it feel? Bad, I know.

Describe it. Where is the feeling located in your body? Does it feel like a punch on your stomach? Is it piercing? Is it eating you in? Is it an itch? Are you getting anxious? Do you feel you need to move?

Describe how the urge feels to you, physically, in as much detail as you can. Describe the physical aspects of the craving.

This engages your rational brain in this process. It makes you think intentionally about this urge. You are transforming an irrational urge into a rational experience. It is just a biological response.

Use curiosity. Be curious about your urge. Do not fear it.

By consciously analysing it, with intent, the urge becomes less scary, less powerful.

When you do this, the urge will go away.

Give it 15 minutes.

The craving goes away. You do not have eaten the snack and you will have followed through with your plan. Well done.

Keep repeating this process.

We fear that if we allow the craving, we will give into it. It is the opposite. Allowing yourself to feel the craving intentionally will make it less powerful.

How many times do I need to process a craving, the urge to snack?

By repeating this process, you are breaking the association between the snack and the reward our brains associate with eating.

If you do this enough times, your brain will stop generating the urge. It is called deconditioning.

Commit to process the urge to snack a hundred times. You will see results much earlier, but it is important you commit to do it a hundred times. This tells your brain you intend to do this no matter what and you intend to do keep it long term.

Even if every now and then you fail. Keep going.

You can use a tracker. Get in touch if you want to use my 100 squares grid.

Every time you have an urge to snack, and you do not eat it processing the urge instead, cross a square, colour it, make it visually nice. That is the reward you are giving your brain instead of the snack. Initially, it is not as rewarding. The more times you do it, the more your brain will get the dopamine hit from the square rather than the snack. You will feel proud and gain confidence that you can keep going.

 Doing this a hundred times it will teach you that this is your new way of eating. You will become someone who does not eat snacks, someone who does not need to eat snacks. By the hundredth time you will not experience cravings and if you do, you will not be afraid of them. They will just be a vibration in your body that goes away before you even realise it.

Do you need help with processing urges? Get in touch, I am happy to help.

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