Many tips are said to stop cravings — for sugar and other foods. Recently, Judson Brewer, M.D. gave a TEDMED talk in which he proposed “curiosity” or increased mindfulness as possibly the definitive cure for a craving or an addiction — regardless of the type of addiction.
It brought to mind several things. I”™ve encountered a wide variety of cravings cures over the years. Some of them seem to come from the viewpoint that cravings are imaginary, all in your head.
My research on food and brain chem has suggested that cravings might well be all in one”™s head — if that means “all in one”™s brain.” My understanding of cravings is that they”™re often neurochemical, making them physiological and quite real.
Does that mean mindfulness or curiosity won”™t work? As I”™ve written in other posts about other things, almost anything can work for some people.
So I do believe that mindfulness could be the answer to cravings for those people, at least sometimes.
How Can Mindfulness Help Food Issues?
Mindfulness could be one answer to such things as reducing food intake and eliminating overeating. Stopping long enough to figure out if you really need the dessert you”™re tempted to eat, or the extra portion you want, is a wise thing to do. Is it about actual hunger or the appetizing look of the food? Stress? Boredom?
A few years ago, I read a brief description in a fitness industry journal about a weight-loss plan that involved eating approximately 500 calories a day, two days a week. Because I suspected that some of my clients might have been tempted to try it once they”™d heard about it, I wanted to be able to discuss it with them knowledgeably. So I tried it for a week.
On the days that followed the very low-calorie days, I noticed that I felt quite in touch with all aspects of my eating: food selection, portion sizes, meal timing, even rate of consumption.
I didn”™t continue the plan because my workout schedule was too rigorous to make 500-calorie days practical, but the observations I had made were interesting. Since then, I have indeed heard from a few people who have tried similar plans. They incorporate anywhere from 5 to 9 very low-calorie days in a month.
Their reports echo my personal observations. They”™ve told me they feel more mindful of their eating, and that examining their state of mind before letting themselves eat out of habit helps them make changes — all without white-knuckling, willpower fatigue, or other conflicts. Some have said it changed their relationship with food and eating.
So Let”™s Get Back To Cravings
Assuming anything I thought I knew about food cravings is true(!), cravings can be brought on by a decrease — for various reasons that I”™ve covered in other posts — in specific brain chemicals.
In that case, is observing the craving with curiosity truly the mindful thing to do? Might it even be considered a lack of mindfulness?
Perhaps the mindful thing to do would be to address the low levels of those brain chemicals and restore them.
That”™s why I typically recommend liquid B-complex. It can eliminate a craving in a matter of minutes by giving the brain the co-factors it needs to re-establish optimal levels of the chemicals involved in craving manifestation.
Again: mindfulness, like anything, can work for at least some people, at least some of the time. But what if you”™re in a situation where a craving hits and there is not adequate time (or even an opportune moment) to sit and observe it till it subsides? Or what if you need to concentrate on your work without distraction?
I can attest that it takes equal discipline to reach for liquid B-complex when you”™re feeling as if you”™d kill for a brownie.
And I submit that getting the brain back on track within a few minutes could be the mindful behavior that addresses the immediate cause of the craving.
As for other eating behaviors, mindfulness could be ideal.
More permanent cravings elimination can be accomplished through changes in food. If you”™d like to get rid of cravings permanently, I”™d be happy to help. Please visit www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com/Coaching and request a free Food Breakthrough Session. No obligation!
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