If I had to choose the biggest problem new clients have when they come to me, it would be nighttime cravings.
Here are 3 steps you can start right away to get rid of those stubborn nighttime cravings.
#1 Nourish Your Body Properly
The cool thing is that about 70% of the time these cravings are easily fixed by learning how to nourish your body properly.
I’ve talked A LOT about this. But it bears repeating.
Forget all the dietary dogma.
In order to know how to nourish YOUR body properly, you have to be paying attention to the messages from your body.
Once you figure that out then you are ready for the mindset work.
#2 Put Your “Higher Brain” in Charge
Very few diet programs actually address the major issue around habitual cravings. We are left to fend for ourselves and just suck it up and resist those urges.
I don’t know about you but that never once worked for me.
Much of the strong pull of cravings is coming from what I call the “lower brain”.
This is usually a combination of activity from our “reptilian” brain (the amygdala), the emotional part of our brain, and the strong pull of dopamine.
And at the same time, our “higher brain” (the prefrontal cortex, the reasonable, logical, goal-setting part of the brain) doesn’t want us to give in to that craving.
The higher brain knows it usually will be going against our goals, dreams, and aspirations.
But those cravings are REAL!
What to do?
First we have to understand that the lower brain is sending us signals that are not necessarily true.
Those signals are fraught with negative talk and emotions, ingrained habits, and resistance to change.
I myself struggled with nighttime eating cravings for 15 years so I know how hard it is to deal with that negative internal dialogue.
Some typical internal dialogues for me went something like this, “Come on, it’s just chocolate. It’s not that bad. It won’t make much of a difference. Plus, you can change tomorrow. For today, why not indulge? You had a bad week.”
The way I overcame this was by putting my “higher brain” in charge.
I had to remember (with my “higher brain”) that there were reasons that I wanted to NOT indulge in that habit anymore.
And those reasons (my “whys”) had to be strong enough to overcome these animalistic cravings.
Ultimately, the battle was within my mind.
And it required a bit of discipline, awareness, and empowering self-talk to overcome the strongest of urges.
And I changed the conversation to something like, “Okay, yes, I want to have that chocolate, and yes I have it every night. But I have goals. I want to be at my ideal weight. I want to live a long life full of activity. I want to be traveling and hiking when I’m in my 80s. I also want to feel in control.”
All of these thoughts served to overpower the negative self-talk from my lower brain.
And remember that cravings pass. You can rely on them to do that.
So, the dialogue does not have to go on for hours.
Sometimes it is only a matter of minutes. The important thing is that you bring consciousness to the moment.
You are not a buoy being thrown about by the sea of your thoughts. You do have control. Once you understand how these thoughts compete for your attention, the whole process will get easier.
But if you are not paying attention you may miss them altogether and just end up doing the same old habit on autopilot. The only way to stop that is with awareness and conscious, deliberate thought.
#3: Tell a Different Story
We often tell ourselves stories about the way things “should be”.
We may think that we “can’t live” without treats or sweets.
Or that we “deserve” to eat something “fun” at least once a week or once a day.
Or that “it’s too restrictive” to live without eating gluten or dairy or sugar, or whatever foods we have deemed are not serving us well.
We may think it is rude to go to events and not eat certain things or not eat at all. We may think that attending a holiday and not eating certain foods is unthinkable and unnatural.
I am not going to try to convince you that those thoughts you may be having are not valid.
But I am asking you here to question those thoughts that you may hold so dear that are actually sabotaging your best efforts to lose weight.
There is no rule book written anywhere that says you have to eat sugar or overeat at holidays or have your treats at least once a day. Those are just thoughts that you have and they are not inherent truths.
I want to add that I am speaking so zealously about this because the thoughts I mentioned are all ones that I used to be entrapped by on a regular basis.
They were all coming from my lower, animal brain.
Do I sometimes still have them? Of course!
But now I am aware that there are many, many thoughts that we have throughout the day that are not inherently true. We just give them power and therefore they SEEM true.
You can ask yourself, “is that really true?”
And it may seem so, but then you could ask yourself something like, “Well, if I lived on top of a mountain would I die without that food?”
Or “If someone was holding a gun to my head would I still “need” that food and would I eat it?”
There is no final, definitive right answer to this type of self-exploration.
The goal is not to change everything and be a perfect eater 100% of the time.
The goal is to bring awareness to the internal dialogue that you may feel you have no control over.
And to realize that you do in fact have complete control over the thoughts you decide to give your attention to.
This is where your real power lies.
Rather than being thrown about by your thoughts or being at the whim of every negative thought flowing from your ANIMAL brain, why not take charge? And taking charge starts with awareness and honest questioning.
If you feel that you could use more guidance around mindset in the weight loss process, I invite you to book a free strategy call with me. Just click the link below.