Written by: Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Kim Feinstein, Red Mountain Weight Loss® Behavioral Weight Loss Specialist
- “On certain days, I could eat everything that is not nailed down. I find myself sneaking into the kitchen, rummaging through the refrigerator and pantry for something to eat. I begin to eat everything in sight. I justify my eating by telling myself that I deserve to eat after having such a difficult day. Eating makes me feel good; it is instant bliss! I forget about all of my responsibilities and stress.
- “I just had an argument with my spouse, I am so frustrated. I am in the mood for chips!”
- “On days like today, I could really go for pizza. My job-related stress is overwhelming. I have so much work to complete by next week.”
- “I just got a promotion, let’s celebrate by going out to dinner for a fabulous meal.”
- “My children are driving me crazy. I want some chocolate right now.”
Everyone experiences uncomfortable cravings or urges to eat when they are on a diet. It is important to know that cravings or urges, although not very pleasant, are only thoughts and feelings. They will only last for a period of time and YOU CAN push through it if you know how.
No matter how powerless you feel over food and your feelings, it is possible to make a positive change. You can find healthier ways to deal with your cravings and finally put a stop to sabotaging your diet.
Below are some effective skills you can use to S. T. I. C. K. to your diet and fight a craving.
Freeze! Don’t make a move. Say “stop” out loud to yourself the minute you notice your mind and/or your body is reacting to a craving. You may even want to visualize a stop sign or a traffic light.
As the intensity of a craving builds, it feels like it will last forever. However, research indicates that a craving typically lasts for about 25-30 minutes before subsiding. So, before you give in to your craving, I encourage you to delay as long as possible. If 25-30 minutes seems like eternity, start with 5-minute intervals and work your way up to 30 minutes. It gets easier the more you practice this; Don’t let the craving control you!
T: Take a Breath
Try to take a few slow, deep breaths. Breathing deeper and slower will calm you down and reduce the physical reaction of your craving. This will help you to slow down so you can think more logically and rationally.
I: Imagine Future Consequences
Ask yourself, “Will giving in to my craving help me with what I want in the long run?” Imagine how you will feel after giving in to he craving. Visualize how your future self will feel if you resist the craving.
C: Choose Wisely
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to do something different than you have done before. Tune everything else out and really ask yourself, “What is the right choice for me?” I promise you that food will never be the answer.
K: Keep Going
Never give up on your weight loss journey. Remember that you are creating a new, healthier lifestyle, & it won’t happen at once. Stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.
If you feel overwhelmed or unable to change on your own, your RM team is here to help. We can offer additional strategies to help you change unhealthy behaviors, develop healthy habits, and succeed in reaching your goals.