The answer is nothing, as long as you are not depending on that ice cream, or wine, or whatever to feel the way you want to feel. Here’s the interesting thing about cravings, it’s NOT about the food! It’s about how the food allows you to feel. So if you find that the only way you can tap into relaxation, happiness, calm, etc., is to eat a particular food or drink a particular drink then you have become caught in the food/reward/cravings trap.
The first thing to understand is that it’s not your fault. When we are experiencing an unpleasant sensation it is only natural to want to make it stop. So we turn to something, anything that will take our mind off of the stress and turn on the good feelings. And if you get right down to it, feeling good is what we are all truly craving. However, by giving in to the instant gratification of the craving we miss the deeper opportunity of learning what is driving the craving in the first place.
So here’s the secret to breaking free of cravings...
Allow yourself to fully experience the unwanted, unpleasant sensation. Seems counter intuitive doesn't it? But the truth is: the only way out is through. Because, until we can honestly see and support the deeper need we won’t be able to release the unwanted experience, which means it will stay inside of us, festering and continuing to infect our thoughts and actions.
Here’s where to start:
- Remember, it’s not about the food… it’s about the feeling we get from the food. So stop for a moment before diving into your treat and ask yourself: “How is it that I want to feel in the moment?” And then: “What is keeping me from feeling that way?” By acknowledging what is truly going on you will begin to understand what needs attention.
- As you explore the feelings that are connected to your cravings, never, ever bring judgment or criticism into the process. Negativity will add fuel to the unwanted feeling so stay neutral as you look deeper into what’s going on.
- When the true cause of your cravings begins to reveal itself the best approach is to be gently curious. To help with this, shift from seeing a craving as something you need to fight against, and see it for the personal message it is. Curiosity and compassion will ensure that you hear the message clearly.