2. See your emotions as something that are part of being alive, and part of being human. Instead of wishing they would change or go away, embrace them. In this way, you can adopt the attitude that these emotions can coexist with you, rather than being dependent on eating to make them go away.
3. Work hard at breaking the association. Each time you have the urge to eat in response to an emotion, mindfully notice the urge, but don’t actually eat. Eventually, over a few weeks, the association between emotion and eating will weaken, and the urge will be less powerful.
Q: Any recommended substitution for a chocolate craving? I haven’t found a satisfying one.
Dr. Brewer: There’s nothing wrong with eating chocolate. But if you say, “I eat too much chocolate,” then we can find a solution.
For me, I used to mindlessly eat chocolate. Now, I really pay attention. Since dark chocolate has less sugar, it creates less of a craving. I’d suggest you ask yourself what type of chocolate would give you the balance between the satisfaction of eating chocolate and the feeling of craving more. Milk chocolate, because of the high sugar content, is going to make you crave more.
Try an experiment. Eat milk chocolate and dark chocolate and see which one makes you want more. Pay attention and ask yourself: How much is enough? When am I satisfied? You don’t have to find a substitute. You can satisfy the chocolate craving and have a little bit. You’ll feel better because you won’t feel guilty for eating it, and there’s more chocolate for later.
Q: My craving is not food specific, but rather time specific, such as eating late at night. Any suggestions?
Dr. Forman: In our modern life, we take in many more calories than we actually need, so it is rare that we are truly, biologically hungry. As a result, our eating tends to be cued by things other than hunger. The most common cue is time. If you want to stop eating at a particular time, you will need to make a committed decision ahead of time. You should then fully expect, and even welcome, that every day at that time you will experience powerful urges to eat. This is how brains work! By embracing the urge, you can adopt the mentality that you will live alongside it, but not eat in response to it. Over many weeks, you will notice the association between the time cue and the urge to eat weakening.
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