As a Neuro-Linguistic Programming practitioner and hypnotherapist, people come to me to get control in areas of their life where they seem to have none. One of the most common issues I have seen clients for in doing this work full time over the past 5 years, no doubt, is related to weight loss; more specifically: eating habits. I would say that at least 50% of my experience in practice has been helping people reprogram their eating habits to make healthier choices.
I’m going to teach you a simple but powerful technique to help you kill a craving within a few deep breaths. This article is specifically referring to food cravings to better equip you for what I like to call the real life Hunger Games... nobody wants to have to work off a bunch of Halloween candy calories, nor do we want to see ourselves going cray cray with all of those goodie foodie holidays coming up just around the corner. However, this technique can be adapted to stop almost any craving- whether for cigarettes, alcohol, or your temptation of choice. 🙂
Generally speaking, all of our minds have a similar way of working. We have five senses and our minds organize the information coming in through those senses in specific ways to help us function in our environment. Your mind organizes and responds differently to information representing what is appealing to you versus that which you find undesirable.
As humans, we tend to favor our auditory, visual, and tactile senses. We don’t go around sniffing and licking everything like dogs. As individuals, we may tend to prefer one sensory strategy over another. This is why one person may learn better by hearing a lecture versus reviewing a PowerPoint. Still another individual may be more hands on.
The technique I’m about to teach you can be adapted to whichever way will work most powerfully for you as an individual. Due to the limitations of this medium, I must teach just the basic strategy. If we were working together in person, using a guided strategy, the results would be achieved more quickly.
First, I would like you to picture a food that you could easily get a craving for. Keep your eyes open or closed; whichever would allow you to more easily imagine that food in your mind's eye. Right now, I would like you to rate that craving on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being hardly noticeable and 10 being extremely intense…intense enough to steal that food from an innocent child.
Next, I would like you to notice where that image is. I don’t mean in the kitchen or on the drive-thru menu, I mean notice where that image seems to be relative to your vision and your body in the space around you. If you could point to it, where would it be? Nearby? To the right, or to the left? In the center?
Now move that picture away as you flip it upside down in your mind's eye. Push it out so it fades as quickly as possible within a nice, big, deep breath. Make it become smaller and dimmer, while it disintegrates the further out it goes. Notice what happens to the craving as you do so. Now check back in and notice where the craving is at on that scale from 1 to 10. For some, doing this as fast as possible or repeating the technique over a few deep breaths will make it more effective.
Our minds have to have a way of coding information in order to tell us what to desire or what to avoid. For many people, what is more intense or enjoyable is represented unconsciously as bigger, brighter, and closer. Knowing how your mind works can be used to your advantage. When you use the way it works, you can help that little craving center of the brain, who can be so easily swayed by sugar and salt, to make better decisions. Your mind has control over the craving, and you can have control over your mind.
If you did not notice any difference in intensity for the craving, your mind may organize or represent a craving in a different way, or there may be more complex reasons for the craving in the first place. When I see clients in my person, I have the ability to better find out specifically what that person’s mind, body, and psyche are doing that could be causing cravings. Then I can use techniques to adjust it in such a way that the change we create can remain. That way my client isn’t having to consciously apply this technique every time it's needed. It’s simply automatically working to their advantage as much as possible.
Remember, what we resist persists. It’s better to acknowledge a craving head on the moment you notice it, and face it. Recognize that you have a choice as to how you respond to the sensations you’re experiencing. Then utilize this technique. You can bump it up a notch by adding in a little aversion therapy. Picture the food (or cigarette, alcohol, etc.) becoming unappealing in some way before you flip it upside down. Maybe the chocolate turns chalky like last year's Halloween candy. Picture the ice cream with freezer burn, or the pizza with any kind of topping that you most despise. Get creative! 🙂 Then, drain it of color, and push it away from your mind's eye. Do this within a deep breath as quickly as possible. Wash, rinse, and repeat if necessary 😉
Fighting an urge? Do the cookies seem to win every time they call your name? :/ Catching yourself doing something time and again that you swore you would stop? Maybe you need to lose weight or stop smoking? If a behavior feels stuck, like no matter how much you decide, wish, or will it to stop, that’s a good sign you’re dealing with a bad habit that I can help you overcome.
People bring their laptops to technicians or, their cars to mechanics, and you should feel free to bring yourself to me. Take advantage of my skills so I can help you make the adjustment and get you the results you’re looking for. It’s time to upgrade and replace unwanted habits for healthier and more beneficial behaviors.
If you’re looking for effective hypnotherapy in the Seattle/Tacoma, Washington state area to overcome bad habits like nail biting, stress eating, and smoking, and you’re ready to get results, click here to book your session now or contact me by calling 206-552-8374 if you have any questions needing to be answered before getting started.
Are you an emotional or compulsive eater? Learn more about my Food and Mood Balance Program in partnership with Meredith Milton, MS, CN.