When we talk about food cravings we are talking about a compulsion to eat certain foods. Overeating tends to be a habit; something that we get used to doing all the time, and it becomes automatic.
We form habits through repetition. We do things over and over again until they get so ingrained in our subconscious and we don’t even realise we do them.
A lot of people who overeat don’t realise they are overeating until someone else points it out. “Wow, are you going to eat all of that?” Even if they are overweight because of it, they don’t make the connection between the weight and the food.
This is because they eat unconsciously.
We also attach powerful triggers to food, which make breaking habits difficult, unless you have adequate mental training. TV is one of them. Do you know someone who can’t sit on the couch and watch a movie without gulfing down a packet of cookies? They’ve done it enough times that in their mind, TV equals chocolate time, or popcorn time, or whatever unhealthy food time.
This is why we are being told more and more often to go back to the way things used to be years ago:
Eat your food at your kitchen table, with no distractions, so you can pay attention to what you are eating and the amount of food you are eating. So you allow yourself to enjoy eating nutritious foods and notice when you are already full, and how good you feel after you’ve eaten healthy foods.
When you do this, don’t be too surprised to realise you have left food on your plate!
A lot of people who have bad food habits somehow find a way of getting out of what they know they should do.
“I should start eating healthily but it won’t happen this weekend as I’m going to a party. I’ll start on Monday” Does this ring a bell?
So, on Monday they try to break the habit through will power. By Thursday, they’ve found a new excuse to get out of it. Then they get disappointed because “it doesn’t work”. This happens, because will power doesn’t work for most people.
When you think about cravings, think that you have other strong desires that you don’t act upon. Like when you are standing at a queue at the post office, and it’s moving so slow you just want to yell at someone, but you don’t do it. Sometimes you want to slap someone badly, but you don’t so it.
This means you can control your desires.
If you want to be able to control your desires around food and build new healthier habits, you need the right mental preparation.
You need to build new more useful beliefs and more powerful desires. You need to become more determined. And for this to be effective and lasting, it needs to happen at a subconscious level.
See, will power has nothing to do with it. And your imagination has everything to do with it.