When you want to eat healthier, you need to change your mindset, that is, your thoughts on what healthy food is. You need to look into what makes your “craving” for energy-dense and hyper-tasty * food increase.
“Forbidden” food often makes it worse
It is common knowledge that when we ban sweets, cake, chips, etc., it becomes more interesting to get our fingers in – whether we like it or not. Many people can nod in recognition of the fact that “forbidden” food is more often eaten in secret, eaten quickly and without tasting it properly. And it’s basically a pity that we do not allow ourselves to enjoy it now that we are eating it.
What if everything is allowed
What if everything was allowed? Uhh… most people shudder a little in a mixture of the feeling of freedom and the fear of going crazy. Observations of human eating habits show that if you are allowed to eat exactly the type of food you want in exactly the amount you feel like, you will eventually get tired of it and stop.
Try experimenting a bit. If you eat your favorite chocolate, you will most often find that the first bite is the very best. Bit by bit, the immediate enjoyment will drop down to a kind of zero point – where you just eat because it is there. Maybe you can recognize it by continuing to eat off the chocolate bar despite the fact that you do not really feel like more?
There can be many reasons for this. Maybe you just do as you usually do. The package is not empty, you are bored, restless… so you would rather be oversaturated so you can have peace in your body. Here it may be relevant to ask yourself: If the desire is actually no longer there, then what is it about?
Tools for meeting cravings
When you experience cravings / cravings for energy-dense or hyper-tasty food and drinks, you must first:
- Sit down, take three deep breaths through your nose and all the way down into your stomach. Exhale slowly each time
- Ask yourself:
- Am I hungry? If so, eat some food. If not, ask further
- Thirsty? If so, drink some water. If not, ask further
- Sad? If so, ask yourself what it’s all about and is it something you can act on now. Can you call a friend, listen to music, go for a walk, listen to a podcast, write in your diary, etc. e.g. If not, ask further
- Need company? Call or write to a friend or someone in your family and arrange a time when you can meet.
If not, ask further
- Bored / restless? It is OK! Write a small list of what makes you change mode. Go outside, lie down on a hard floor, listen to radio / music / podcast / audiobook, write, draw, paint etc.
If no, ask further
- Do I want energy-dense / hyper-tasty food? Ask yourself what you feel like? Sit somewhere other than you usually eat it and eat it one bite at a time.
Use a “Pleasure Barometer” and set a number from 0 to 10 for each bite you take, depending on how much your pleasure is for each bite. Remember to eat each bite slowly so you have time to taste all the nuances.
When the pleasure decreases, notice what feeling is left in the body. See if you can meet it with something other than food. It requires training, and it will not succeed every time – and that’s all right. Instead of food, you can experiment with being in your emotions in a different way and thereby change state.
The fear of suffering deprivation
If you are afraid of suffering from deprivation with the sweet, it may be an idea to add some tasty elements to your meals / snacks. It can both be e.g. cake and sweets – but it can also be fruit, nuts, salt, fat. Some sources of sweetness are better than others when you want to maintain energy, enjoyment, focus and weight loss, but try to find your way in it. Find what works for you!
* Hyper-tasty food is a term for processed food that has exactly the total amount of both sugar, salt and fat that tricks our brain, so we feel like more of it again and again.