Day Twenty Two!
Oh! I have a craving!...To read the next blog post!
One of the signs that compulsive eating is actually addiction is when cravings are present.
So what is a craving?
A craving is a desire to stimulate the pleasure centre of the brain and in order to get to that excitement and the feeling of comfort a craving offers a way to engage avoidance behaviour. In order to escape the unpleasant moods or physical symptoms of life (past, present or future), all you can think about is that specific food so it is hard to focus on anything until you get it.
When the craving comes on there is an intense urge to go back to the food you know isn’t good for you. It means you become dependant on your eating behaviour and the sugar contained with it.
Symptoms of a craving are;
Anxiety, racing thoughts, racing heart, avoiding people, lying, obsession.
The need to eat becomes the emotional pain relief which motivates the emotional memories of the strong feeling that goes with that food. The feelings can be based in excitement, for the anticipated high that you will get from the sugar intake and/or is an escape from boredom.
So the question is, ‘Are you really hungry?’ just because you have a craving for food, or even a hunger pang doesn’t mean you are actually hungry.
Hunger pangs mean that your stomach is shrinking, and can be an uncomfortable feeling, just like a craving. It is good to remind yourself that in just a few minutes the craving/ hunger pangs will go away. Generally they will last for a maximum of fifteen minutes.
The goal is to experience the craving or hunger pangs without engaging in eating. The eating is just to escape the discomfort.
“We call this experience ‘surfing the urge’ which is just paying attention to how your craving/ hunger pang sensation weakens over a period of time. Imagine the craving/hunger pang is a wave in the ocean. The wave which is the craving/hunger pang will peak, then crash, and dissipate. Redirect yourself to something else and you will notice that the craving/hunger pang will simply subside.” says Dr. Laurie. Just redirect yourself to other activities to keep your mind off of the feelings of it and the next thing you will know is that those feelings have disappeared.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to how much a person actually really needs to eat. And people confuse a craving or hunger pang, stomach gurgle, or rumblings, with the requirement that there is a need to eat.
It’s really good to remind yourself that people your build that are smaller than you, need to eat less than you to maintain their size. You have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable until the new way of eating becomes your new comfort. That takes time.
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