This article was originally written by Kathryn Martyn, M.NLP
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There are several ways to manage cravings including:
Attempting to simply stop eating the food you crave (out of sight out of mind).
Modifying your eating habits around a particular food, i.e. cut back on the quantity or how often you indulge.
Use EFT to address whatever is driving you to this attachment to this particular food and end the cravings for good.
What Doesn’t Work:
Stop Eating the Food you Crave
Eliminating the offending food entirely is rarely successful. We can only limit ourselves for so long before we go crazy, eating everything in sight to make up for the deprivation. This also introduces deprivation and control issues, which many have trouble with leftover from childhood. Would it be better to learn to enjoy your favorites without losing control around them?
Modify your Eating Habits
Modifying your behavior can be successful, but it can also be difficult because even though we want to change, it seems that despite our best efforts, we still find ourselves craving the same things, day after day. It is the “how” that stops us. How can we change a behavior that is a habitual response? How can we stop doing what we don’t want to do? There are literally thousands of diet and weight loss books and most offer nothing more useful than the “eat less, exercise more” advice. If it were simply a matter of doing what we know we should do, there would be no obesity epidemic, but it’s not that simple. We need to know HOW.
What Does Work:
Use EFT to end the Attachment to a Particular Food
EFT is often helpful to diminish or demolish the cravings. It can be your HOW. How to change habits that you want to be rid of, how to create new, better habits, that support what you want, instead of what you don’t. EFT is simple to learn, and effective.
If you don’t yet know how to do EFT, read this brief explanation, then download and print the worksheets, instructions and reminders all in one convenient PDF packet.
Stop Talking Yourself Into It
You’ve said you are going to stop nighttime snacking, and then the voices start, “I’ve been good all day, I deserve a treat, just one won’t hurt…” You’re basically talking yourself into it, and then you’re off and running to the kitchen. Most of us find that once we say yes to that voice, there’s no holding ourselves back.
As soon as you realize you are doing the “talk myself into it” routine, start using EFT immediately. Catching yourself in the act is difficult at first, but if you keep an open mind, you will start to notice. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can instantly perform an EFT procedure on yourself, and get quick results. You don’t need to wait until later, until the atmosphere is just right, or until you are alone or somewhere you can relax. You can do it while driving, you can do it in a crowd standing on the corner.
Examples of EFT for Ending Cravings
The first round you might notice the craving is somewhat reduced (or it could disappear entirely), but it will likely be lessened. Once you have done one round, re-rate your desire for the food, and if it is still high (more than a six), do another round of EFT right then:
Set-up: “Even though I still want to eat _________, I’m fine just the way I am.”
Reminder: “Still want to eat _________.”
While I’m doing the EFT round, I might find myself thinking things such as, “It’s not that I want to eat them all, it’s just that once I start I can’t stop.”
So, for the next round I’ll use that statement:
Set-up: “Even though I can’t stop eating cookies once I get started, I deeply and completely accept myself anyway.”
Say the “even though” part with gusto, you really mean it! You are okay, just the way you are.
Reminder: “Can’t stop”
This round might lead to, “That’s not true, I can decide how much I want, I just don’t want to limit myself,” so the next round might be:
Set-up: “Even though I hate to limit myself, I deeply and completely…” or “Even though I don’t want to limit myself,” or whatever words fit your situation.
Reminder: “No limits”
Make this process yours and let your personal thoughts guide you. Doing this will help you unearth core issues and beliefs you may not have realized were there.
More often than not what happens with these simple and effective techniques is you will stop using them. Not because they don’t work, but because they do. You will stop because you aren’t ready to give up your eating habits – you like the food, you enjoy the taste, the pleasure you gain from the eating is greater than the pleasure you anticipate by making a change in your habits. It’s as if you say to yourself, “Screw it, I don’t care. I want it now, and I’m going to have it.” Much like a small child, you are simply feeding your instant desire, and that’s okay too.
Be gentle with yourself. Realize you will do this on occasion, and accept it. It doesn’t make you a failure, it simply proves you are human. Accept yourself as you are. If you make a commitment to do the EFT exercises, even though you don’t want to, you will reach success.
In my work reluctance to do something that will work explains why people continue to seek something new. They read new books, they try new diets (witness Atkins, now South Beach Diet), they ask each other (usually their overweight friends) what they are doing (why not ask someone without a weight problem instead?). The answer is they don’t really want to make a change for the better, they just want the easy fix. Give me a pill, a simple food plan, make it easy for me, and I’ll do it. I can keep on any plan for the short-term, lose some weight, then as I’m gaining it back I can just blame myself. It’s my fault for stopping the diet. It’s my fault, for not staying on the plan.
This is not a healthy way to live. Take back your power. You decide what you will or won’t do every day. Stop giving that power to others – stop blaming yourself for not staying on someone else’s plan, and make your own plan.
This is the single most important thing in anyone’s change process: Realizing what you want for your health, your body, your life, is more important than what you get by the instant gratification.