Uncover Urges, Crush Cravings

You don't need to be a detective to uncover reasons why you might eat when you're not hungry. But it's not a bad idea to investigate the causes of this behavior.
Uncover Urges, Crush Cravings

Urges, cravings and the three W's

When you find yourself eating when you're not hungry…

What foods do you find yourself reaching for?

Where do you find these foods you're eating, even when you're not hungry?

When do you feel like you have less control over what you are eating?

You may have heard your Leader or other meetings members discuss the difference between cravings and urges. Typically, a craving is for certain, favorite foods that you truly enjoy. Cravings are triggered internally and are most likely included in the answers to the "What" question above. Conversely, an urge is typically the desire to eat triggered by a specific external situation or circumstance. Urges are triggered by the "Where" and "When" questions above. Although cravings and urges both cause you to eat when you're not hungry, they're really quite different. Let's investigate:

Cravings occur when you haven't eaten a certain favorite food for a long time. To manage food cravings, follow these steps:

  • Acknowledge the craving
  • Avoid self-judgment
  • Consider the consequences
  • Remain calm
  • Step into action
  • Ask what the craving implies (i.e.: do you crave something salty, sweet, crunchy?)

Does the action that you take to manage a craving make you feel good? Do you like how you typically handle a craving? Can you have just one bite and allot for it in your weekly POINTS® Allowance? Do you sometimes try to satisfy your craving for a cookie with something sweet but healthier, like a piece of fruit? Do you sometimes resist your cravings?

Urges don't often focus on a certain food, but rather eating because you're in a certain situation, for example, having the urge to eat a hot dog at a baseball game. Eating to satisfy an urge is usually impulsive. To manage eating urges, follow these steps:

  • Be aware
  • Remain calm
  • Manage the situation
    1. Remove the temptation
    2. Eat something healthier
    3. Do something else
  • Note results

How can you become more aware of the situations that trigger urges? Can noting how you handle an urge help you respond in a more resourceful way the next time an urge hits?

Now that you've examined the different causes and resolutions for urges and cravings, ask yourself how you will feel if you give in to food cravings and urges? How will you feel if you don't? Thinking about these feelings before you take action is essential to help you act in a manner that you'll respect later on. With a little inner examination, you too can be a super sleuth in uncovering unnecessary eating causes, and stopping them dead in their tracks!

At your next meeting, ask those around you how they manage urges and cravings.

Crumbs on plate and empty glass
Defeating the Midnight Munchies
You planned all your meals and tracked every second of the day. You're on the home straight — but what's this? It's late at night and you're in the throes of a snack attack! Here's how to deal.
Man in front of open fridge
Your Hardest Time of Day: After Work and Before Dinner
Our Community users discuss eating and distraction strategies for what to do when you come home from work hungry and dinner isn’t for another few hours.
Man and woman talking
Combat Those 3 p.m. Cravings
They've struck again — the mid-afternoon munchies. Here's how to combat the toughest time of day for your diet.