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Tag cravings

Cravings : When the Mind is Hungry

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The title of this article does not refer to craving intellectual pursuits, but to that intense desire to keep eating a specific food after our hunger pangs have been satisfied.

There’s a real distinction – cravings are not the same as hunger:

  • Hunger is regulated by the body, while cravings are dictated by the mind.
  • Hunger is usually a general need for food while cravings can be for very specific foods
  • Hunger is about surviving physically. Cravings are often about surviving emotionally

Seen in this light, cravings are not the actual problem,
they are merely symptoms of underlying issues.

Some of these could be:

Association
This is when we link certain foods with certain activities. For example, you could be perfectly happy reading a book for hours on end but as soon as you turn on the television your mind goes to the kitchen. Or as soon as you come home from work you reach for a glass of wine. As soon as you have the kids in bed you feel the need for cake. Etc.

Procrastination
Write this report, or get a snack?
Do the laundry? Hmmm I feel hungry, I’ll just have a bag of chips first.

Boredom
This is a popular time for cravings to surface. God forbid we have to sit with ourselves for a few minutes.

Emotional States – Comfort/Distraction
Food often gives us comfort, and when we experience intense negative feelings, we can reach for food to feel soothed. This is especially true if, as children, we were given food to calm and quiet us by well meaning caregivers.
Loneliness, Anger, Sadness, Guilt, Depression, etc., these are all states that can feel very uncomfortable. Not many of us have been taught to sit with discomfort and see ourselves through, so food becomes an instant comforter. As well as a distraction from the discomfort.

Physical States
Certain foods, like sugar, can trigger an increase in our endorphin levels, serving to boost our moods and make us feel happier. So though sugary foods may result in instant happiness, it is short lived, and fails to address the real cause of the negative feeling that we are experiencing.

Then the guilt/criticism etc. that we may feel as a result of having eaten the desired food ends up making us feel worse in the long run.

The reasons why we intensely crave certain foods at certain times are different for everyone.

What’s your reason? Here’s one way to find out:

The next time your mind prompts you to reach for the food you crave, do this : just pause. Go ahead and eat it, but just pause for a few moments before you reach for it.

In that pause, ask yourself what you’re feeling. Become aware of the reason behind the craving in that particular moment.

You may be surprised to discover every time you stop to do this that the reasons are not always the same! One time it may be sheer boredom, another time may be anxiety, and the next time you may be trying to avoid feeling sad.

See for yourself. What’s under your craving?
That’s the issue that needs addressing, should you wish to do so.


Notes on Willpower

If cravings come upon us in times of stress, when we are not feeling our best, when we are tired, how on earth are we going to summon reserves of willpower to stave off eating the very foods we think are going to bring us comfort in those times?
How sustainable is it?
How guilty/bad/ashamed/weak/etc. do we feel if we “give in”?

A study conducted by Hertfordshire University (2007) found that women who tried to stop thinking about eating chocolate ended up eating 50% more than those who actually talked about their cravings*


Trying to cut out all thoughts of your favourite, fattening food may actually make you eat more!

* Source : BBC News

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More About EFT

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What is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)?

A mind-body modality that is safe, gentle, and non-invasive, EFT is an evidence-based therapeutic technique which uses acupressure points to modify the stress response in the body. Combining the physical benefits of acupressure with the cognitive and linguistic benefits of conventional talk therapy, EFT promotes somatic awareness while enabling positive cognitive shifts.

EFT operates on the premise that no matter what part of your life needs to change for the better, there are unresolved emotional issues in the way. Tapping as we verbalise the problem allows an acknowledgement, flow and release of uncomfortable feelings like anger, hurt, guilt, fear or grief which may be negatively affecting our daily lives. Using this technique helps us to become aware of the negative thoughts and beliefs behind our emotional experiences; we use EFT to clear any specific distressing or negative aspects before opening up to more positive possibilities in that area.

EFT is a form of Energy Psychology, the name for a broad range of psychological treatments that utilise the human energy system.
: Energy Psychology in the Age of Covid-19: What does the research say? Research demonstrates, time and again, that energy psychology methods can very effectively address anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress. Even more strikingly, recent research suggests that energy psychology can boost our immunity, and thus may help keep us from getting sick. [Read more…]
: The Science and Research Behind EFT Tapping [Watch videos + Read more…]

: Press Release from EFT International: Tapping “Can Reduce Coronavirus Anxiety” – New research suggests EFT tapping can reduce stress hormone levels [PDF of press release… ]

EFT helps with emotional as well as physical pain. Unresolved negative experiences reside as triggers and disruptions in our mind and body. The physical symptoms we feel from those disruptions (for example, tight chest, clenched stomach, racing heart, etc), become attached to the memory of that experience and affect the way we see the world until we clear that disruption. Properly applied, EFT balances our autonomic nervous system and realigns our neural pathways; this disconnects the physical discomfort that we attach to negative feelings and memories, which often helps to remove the physical symptoms.

EFT has yielded remarkable results for relieving emotional as well as physical distress and often works when nothing else will. Since it does not involve drugs or other medical interventions, it is different from conventional medical approaches. EFT continues to gain a wider recognition within the mainstream psychotherapy and medical community.


Watch Professor Tony Stewart, a specialist in public health, talking about EFT on BBC News:


EFT has proven effective with a wide range of both physical and emotional issues. EFT Can Help to:

Relieve stress
Diminish anxiety and anxious fears and feelings
Release and transform painful, uncomfortable feelings like anger, guilt, grief, fear, etc.
Heal the effects of emotional trauma, including PTSD symptoms
Diminish cravings for foods and addictive substances
Resolve emotional eating and weight issues
Address relationship problems
Gain clarity to make decisions
Relieve symptoms of insomnia
Increase self-esteem, self-empowerment and confidence
Improve or even eliminate chronic physical discomfort or pain
Enhance performance in any area; sports, musical, artistic, professional, sexual, etc.
Resolve financial blocks
Increase energy and productivity
Empower children, parents and families
Benefit the lives of animals
Move us beyond negative, self-limiting thoughts and beliefs toward positive change

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl

EFT: News, Science and Research

A small sample:

Questions? Read the EFT FAQ here.

Demo of the EFT tapping points

A short video introducing myself and a demonstration of the tapping points used in EFT