Part 1: Recognising your food triggers
Look we have all been there- you sitting there staring down at the last crumbs of a pizza or the empty wrappers of sweets and chocolate bars and wondering how did I get here? How did this happen? Craving can drive you up the wall! It makes you feel like an failure and out of control.
By understanding why, where, and when they happen and creating a strategic action plan ahead of time, brings back your power against these urges.
Cravings are rarely true hunger and often linked to junk food. They reinforce the craving cycle and take over your mental health.
reward ⬅️ response
First comes the cue (trigger), then the urge (the craving), followed by the response (finding a food that satisfies that craving). Then, you get the reward (eating the food you wanted). The reward is accompanied by a release of dopamine (pleasure hormone) and the more often you reward your brain, the more likely it is to stimulate the craving, and the stronger that craving may become.
Find your trigger
The first thing to do is find your triggers as cravings are often brought on by cues such as sight, smell, taste, location, or company. Tracking when and where your cravings happens can you help you figure out what triggers them. Empowered with this knowledge, you can then adjust your environment and habits to break the cycle.
A craving journal is phenomenally helpful here.
Each time you experience a craving, write down:
What are you craving? is it specific food? is it certain flavour or texture?
Where are you? your location, any smells or visual cues-like a restaurant or a billboard
What are you doing? Driving? Working? Watching TV?
What are you feeling physically? Shaky? Lightheaded? Tired?
What are you feeling emotionally? Happy? Sad? Anxious?Bored?
What are you thinking? (eg-if I finish all of it, it’s out of my house...for good)
Who are you with? Are you alone?
This is not a one time process but over time you will see a pattern emerging (it always does). Armed with this knowledge, you can then set up strategies to avoid/disrupt those craving cues and take back control of your health and sanity!
PART 2 : STRATEGIES FOR DISRUPTING YOUR CRAVING CYCLE