Overcoming food cravings is one of the hardest but the most important part of any healing journey. What many people don’t realize is that there is a difference between physical and emotional food cravings. Like the women in my free and private community, you have likely been told that cravings were a bad thing and you just need more discipline to fight them.
Step 1: Stop and Feel
Impose a 15-minute cooling-off period and ask yourself if this is a physical hunger signal or an emotional craving. If it is an emotional craving, you will need to be present with what is going on in your life. Physical hunger is different. Let’s dive in.
Physical vs. Emotional Hunger
The first step in overcoming food cravings is to first learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. The chart below should be of great help. I suggest that you print it and post it somewhere to refer to it quickly as you begin your journey to solve your food cravings. You must become really comfortable in distinguishing physical vs. emotional hunger.
Physical hunger progresses slowly and you can feel it in your stomach. You do not crave a specific food but rather food. When you eat because your body needs nourishment, you are more likely to be present and able to stop when you feel full.
Emotional hunger is the opposite of physical hunger. When emotional hunger strikes, it’s sudden and specific. You get focused on eating this “one” food and once you get to it you without being present rather thinking about what has happened or what is upsetting you. It is likely that emotional hunger will come after an emotional event.
Step 2: Remove the Temptation
This step is simple but effective! Remove yourself from the situation or location where food is located until you can wait out your 15-minute cooling off period. Find a quiet spot where you can be alone for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Breathe and Feel!
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Sit or lay down and close your eyes. Start breathing through your nose. Slowly breath in and out for about 3 seconds (3 seconds in and 3 seconds out). Scan your body. Feel your body. How does your body feel? What emotions are you feeling? Admitting to yourself what is happening is usually enough to relieve most cravings.
Step 4: Replace Fear with Love!
While you scan your body and observe your emotions, find relief in a positive and happy situation where you felt love, happiness, or joy. Attempt to feel that positive emotion deep in your heart and gut. Fill yourself up with that positive emotion. A negative and positive emotion cannot occupy the same place. You can also use affirmations such as “I forgive, I accept, and I trust myself.”
Tool for Overcoming Food Cravings
It is so important that we work to heal our appetites and not kill them so that we can stop food cravings permanently. The most effective method to reduce or eliminate your food cravings is to listen to your intuition or gut feeling, trust it, and then follow it!
To take the next step in your journey toward solving your food cravings you should download my Crave Cure Guide here.
Share your thoughts: Have you ever experienced emotional eating? What triggers food cravings for you?