How some simple steps can stop your food cravings
As the Earth spins lazily back towards swimming costume weather, I'm receiving more enquiries about weight loss. Inevitably, the subject of chocolate addiction comes up. This year, there's good news.
Flinders University School of Psychology in Australia recently taught meditation techniques to counter chocolate cravings. It based its study on the idea that cravings come in two parts: first, the initial thought of chocolate and, secondly, that thought fosters and grows until it becomes irresistible.
In order to tackle each step of that process, the participants were given different meditations. Some were taught mindfulness techniques so that, at the first thought of chocolate, they were able to maintain objectivity. The other group was taught to distract themselves from their desires by imagining a nature scene. The results were that both approaches helped, but the first one helped substantially. I'm not surprised. When you really understand that you don't have to act on your thoughts, but can just observe them dispassionately, a tremendous freedom opens up.
However, I know something that works a lot better than imagining a nature scene. First, think of a food you hate. (Note: it doesn't have to be 'food'; human hair will work fine!) Now, imagine a big plate of it. As you imagine yourself eating it, tasting the textures in your mouth, tightly squeeze your thumb and index finger together. The more vivid and disgusting you make this step the better. Stop before you get sick. Relax your fingers.
Now think of chocolate. Make the image grow so that it's bigger than you are. Visualise it getter closer and closer to you until it "floats" through your body like a ghost. Finally, visualize some chocolate mixed in with the disgusting substance. Squeeze the same thumb and index finger together again, as you see, smell and taste the disgusting mixture. Again, stop before you're sick. This works on the same principles of Pavlov's conditioning and, if you do it right, you'll no longer crave chocolate!
If you want a free mp3 on how to use mindfulness to tackle addictive cravings, write to me.
Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at https://www.facebook.com/Belfast Hypnosis/ ?ref=hl/?ref=hl