How To Stop Craving Food When Not Hungry Summary:
- Understand the difference between Emotional and Physical Deprivation
- Then understand how you might be emotionally deprived of food, even if you are physically eating the food
- Understand how emotional deprivation leads to binge eating
- Do the safe food experiment
How To Stop Craving Food When Not Hungry In-Depth Commentary:
It might seem terrifying at first to hear about the safe food experiment.
The safe food experiment is where you:
- Go to a safe place
- Get some ‘forbidden’ food
- Mindfully eat forbidden food
Here’s what this does:
By removing the guilt, shame, stigma, expectations, etc …
You get out of your head.
You become present.
How are you not present normally when eating food?
You normally at not present when eating the foods you crave.
Doesn’t that sound weird?
You crave these foods … but you are not present when you actually eat them.
What’s up with that?
Well … these foods are forbidden.
And when foods are forbidden, you think about them, but then when you actually have the food, you become overwhelmed.
What do you mean forbidden? What do you mean overwhelmed?
A forbidden food is something that you unconsciously or consciously attach your self-worth too.
For example, you might be attaching your self worth to NOT eating a piece of candy.
If you eat the piece of candy, you are a bad person.
We develop these rules around food usually as a young child.
As a young child, you probably started dieting, maybe in high school.
You absorbed rules and judgments towards food in this time of your life, including from your parents, doctors, etc.
The overall premise of these rules was EAT HEALTHY OR YOU’RE BAD.
Nowadays, you probably aren’t officially on a diet. (It’s okay if you are)
But despite not being officially on a diet, you have retained these rules and judgments toward food.
These Rules Are What Makes It So Difficult How To Stop Craving Food When Not Hungry
These food judgments, rules, associations and so forth overwhelm you when you have the food in your hand.
As you have a piece of candy in your hand (or substitute another food that has moral judgment for you like cake, donuts, pizza, etc)
You are not present with the food.
You are thinking about:
- how many calories
- or how you’ll compensate by skipping dinner or exercising more
- how you’ll never do this again next time
And paradoxically, while you crave these foods, when you actually eat these foods you are in a stressed out state.
So the safe food experiment involves removing all of the associations and mental baggage with food, and then allowing yourself to eat this food.
But why does this safe food experiment work?
The key is understanding EMOTIONAL PERMISSION, which is a key element of intuitive eating.
Emotional permission is the exact opposite of emotional deprivation.
You know how you have all these rules and judgments around certain foods?
Those rules and judgments are actually robbing you of the experience of food.
Imagine this scenario: How To Stop Craving Food When Not Hungry
You want a brownie.
But you have rules you can’t have brownies until the weekend.
So you can’t stop thinking about brownies till the weekend.
You don’t feel satisfied so you eat more than you normally do and feel bad.
Or you try to be good the next day by not eating but this screw up your hormones.
You succeed for one day.
The next day you go out for dinner or lunch and eat way to much.
Feel guilty but forget.
The weekend comes along and you finally can have brownies.
You eat brownies until you feel sick.
You vow never to that again.
Repeat next week.
Now imagine a different scenario:
You want a brownie at the beginning of the week
Or, you mindfully eat the brownie
You have emotional permission deep in your body to have another brownie when you want one.
So even the next day you have another brownie
But then you don’t want brownies anymore … because you know you can have them at any point in time!
So the fear is gone, and in fact, brownies are kind of boring now
So you forget about brownies and live your life
Because your more attuned to your food
You just intuitively figure out what’s best for you
You go out with friends and don’t eat as much while enjoying yourself more
On the weekend you don’t even want a brownie.
Do these scenarios make sense?
In the beginning, if you haven’t given yourself emotional permission to eat brownies, you will want to eat these brownies VERY BADLY.
So you do the safe food experiment.
You create a safe container for you to have these foods safely and with full permission and where you stay mindful. No guilt.
You then repeat this experiment to build up your sense of trust within yourself.
As you repeat this experiment, you start to realize at an emotional level …
You can have brownies (or whatever your ‘forbidden’ food is) anytime!
So … brownies actually start to get boring.
And you start to gain the headspace and freedom to question …
Do brownies even taste good?