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This article was republished with permission from Stephanie Dodier

As part of my free and online community, you get trained on the 4 step process to eliminate emotional eating as a solution to food cravings. It’s an essential part of the Dodier Protocol. This process changed my life and allowed me to lose 100 lbs so I have to share it.

My education about food cravings comes from my own journey with obesity and my education in the psychology of nutrition. Up until a few years ago, I believed the same as you regarding food cravings – that it’s all about self-discipline and determination.  I thought it was all about killing my appetite…does this sound familiar? Little did I know, food cravings had nothing to do with discipline but rather it was all about emotions.

Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the process that the body goes through to maintain a comfortable and healthy balance in both the body and the mind. Simply said – our body is wired/programmed to be healthy. An example of homeostasis is the body shivering at night when it’s too cold, makes you yawn at night when it’s time to go to sleep or makes you thirsty when you are dehydrated.

The same situation will occur when you lose your peace of mind. Your body directs you to take action to correct your state of mind otherwise, you may experience depression. Your appetite delivers you a food craving such a chocolate.  This means you need to correct your emotional state of mind of insecurity which needs to be balanced.

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Physical Vs. Emotional Hunger

8-traits-of-emotional-hunger

Dorren Virtue, Constant Cravings.

The first step in the solution to your food cravings is to first learn the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. The chart below should be of great help. I suggest that you print it and post it somewhere to quickly refer to it as you begin your journey to solve your food cravings.

You must become really comfortable in distinguishing physical versus emotional hunger. Here’s my quick way: physical hunger is in your stomach and you can feel it. Emotional eating is sudden, in your head and most of the time associated with guilt and shame.

Why Do You Crave Chocolate Instead of Chips?

food-craving-explained

Scientific studies have demonstrated the link between a specific food want and the need for certain micronutrients. These micronutrients are used by the body to regulate our emotions, mood or physical conditions. Chocolate contains the chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA) which is the same chemical that our brain creates when we are feeling the emotion of romantic love.

PEA is so powerful in altering moods that it was a prescribed as a medication up until the 1980’s  when it was declared illegal but now can be found on the street as drug name “Ecstasy.”

The  craving for chocolate is an actual cry for love, intimacy and romance. Most people will say “It’s not true! I’m happy.” It’s difficult to admit that our love life is not fulfilling and with an admission comes a need to make a change. We all naturally resist change out of fear that our life may get worse. Instead of making changes, we repress our emotions and medicate ourselves with food.

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Chips have always been my craving which I now understand represents my emotion of stress and anxiety. The hormone cortisol is produced when we feel the emotions of stress, anxiety or anger, it not only helps the body prepare for stressful situations but also affects the level of sodium in the body hence why I crave salty chips.

Solution to Food Cravings: The 4 Step Process

1. Impose a 15 Minute Cooling Off Period

Ask yourself if this is an actual real physical hunger signal or an emotional craving. In most cases, it will be an emotional craving so you will need to be present to what is going on in your life. If you still crave it after the 15 minutes cooling off period, go for it.

2. Get Away From Food

Simple but effective. If you are driving home from work and crave chips, do not stop at the corner store. Drink water as sometimes the need for water gets confused with hunger.

3. Breathe and Feel

Take time to breathe deeply during the cooling off period and feel what is going on in your life, gut  and heart.  Ask yourself what emotions are being triggered. Admit to yourself what is happening and that admittance is usually enough to relieve most cravings.

4. Replace the Negative Emotion (Fear) With Love

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Remind yourself of a happy situation where you felt love, happiness or joy and attempt to feel the positive emotion in your gut. Fill yourself up with the positive emotion. A negative and positive emotion cannot occupy the same place. You can also use an affirmation such as “ I forgive, accept and trust myself.”

If you would like to read more about food you can read my fascinating article 5 signs that you are emotionally eating .

Yearly I open the door to my signature program Crush Your Cravings program so check it out if it’s open now and if not make sure to join the waiting list.

You can continue your education and experience with the 4 step solution to eliminate your food cravings by joining the Mastering Your Food Cravings online seminar.

Share your thoughts: Do you have a different perspective on your food cravings? Do you believe you can use the 4 step process in your life?

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Stephanie Dodier, CNP, RNCP
Clinical Nutritionist
Founder at Stephanie Dodier. Stephanie Dodier is a Clinical Nutritionist, speaker and creator of the Dodier Protocol , an integrative approach which incorporates therapeutic foods, nutrients and mind-body connection. Get Stephanie’s guide to overcoming emotional eating and to start your journey in understanding your own body messages.
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