Monday, March 7, 2016

A Simple Exercise to Defeat Cravings

Found this on the WW Blogs. Posting it here so I can reference it! 

A Simple Exercise to Defeat Cravings

Have you ever noticed how cravings just seem to pop up in our minds, unbidden? One second we're fine and the next second we have a strong desire to eat unplanned food. Sometimes cravings just nag at us; other times they feel overwhelming. Managing cravings can be difficult! Sometimes they manage me, as in my recent Chocolate Easter Bunny Debacle (previous blog entry)! I've been using the following simple mindfulness exercise when cravings strike. I'm excited about the success I've had (not 100% but increasing). Please don't be put off by the length of this blog entry: It takes WAY more time to read through these steps than to actually do them, especially if you practice. At first, it might feel slow and cumbersome. With practice, this exercise takes mere seconds. If you think it's worth a shot, give it a try & keep practicing. It is based on the mindfulness concept that our thoughts are fleeting; they are not static or engraved in concrete. Learning to recognize, evaluate and manage them is a powerful way to connect with ourselves and create more peace in our lives.
1. Identify Specific Thoughts & Feelings when Cravings Strike
"I really crave that right now! It'll taste so good! It will distract me from feeling [fill in the blank – exhausted, bored, stressed, restless, sad, angry, empty]. WW (or work, life, etc.) is hard – I deserve a break! Just this once....”
2. Evaluate Those Thoughts
Essentially I try to step back and honestly consider what I am telling myself. "I'm thinking about indulging in unplanned food. The more I dwell on these thoughts, the more I want to give in. These thoughts are unproductive. I don't want to sabotage myself with these unproductive thoughts.”
3. Release Unproductive Thoughts
Tell yourself, “I'm letting these unproductive thoughts go.” I try to picture my thoughts as leaves being carried away in a stream. Or I picture my unproductive thoughts as birds that glide away across the sky. Images here can be powerful.
4. Substitute Positive Self-Talk
This one is tricky because it must be something that is true, and it must resonate. These are some of the things I say to myself, depending on the situation. “I am proud of myself for resisting. I'm not hungry. I want to be slim and fit more than I want to indulge. I am learning to make healthier food choices.” Say whatever resonates with you.
5. Celebrate the Awesomeness of You!
There is nothin' wrong with feeling proud – smug, even – about successfully negotiating a craving! It is a triumph to choose what we want MOST (health, weight loss, feeling good) over what we want NOW (sugar, fat, temporary pleasure / numbness / distraction).
Here's to all of us finding ways to manage our cravings and lead healthier lives.

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