5 Questions You Need to Ask When Cravings Hit

Before you actually taste the food that you crave, you actually eat it in your mind. Here's how that can change your entire eating philosophy.

December 27, 2016
woman craving cupcake
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Adapted from Lose Your Final 15

Long before the piece of double-chocolate cake touches your lips, you've eaten it over and over again and remembered what it made you feel like each time you had it before—in your mind. Cravings most often begin in the mind. So before you actually taste the food that you crave, you actually eat it in your mind.

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Therein lies your opportunity to take control of your cravings and take back your own power over an emotional appetite. Think about it. You have the power—in the moment—to make another choice.

More: 9 Things Your Food Cravings Are Telling You

When I work with clients, I recommend that they ask themselves these five questions before reaching for the foods they crave. When we work on these questions together, we achieve some pretty amazing results.

1. What's really happening?
Think about why you're eating when you're not hungry and the reasons you want to eat. Identify the foods you're craving and connect them to the feelings you have at that time.

2. What do I feel?
Take inventory of your feelings. Be specific about what you are experiencing: anger, loneliness, boredom, or despair. Think about the origin of those feelings and the reasons you are focusing in that moment on what's missing from your life rather than what you actually have going for yourself.

More: 10 Weight Loss Success Strategies to Lose the Last 15 Pounds

3. What do I need? 
Could it be that you need more sleep or help with a project or direction for your goals? Maybe a babysitter or some "me time"? Take stock of your needs and prioritize them in order to prevent yourself from eating compulsively. And for the love of God, please accept help. You matter.

4. What's in the way?
Think about the barriers to getting your needs met now. What is blocking you? How can those roadblocks be removed?

More: Your 5-Step Plan to Stop Emotional Eating

5. What tools do I have at my disposal to help me now?
Decide what nonfood steps you can take to manage your emotional needs in the moment.