Before we get to my top tips to overcome cravings, here is some information about what they actually are.

What is a Craving?

A craving is not a physical feeling like needing to go to the toilet. A physical urge like the need to urinate will not pass if you do not act, whereas, a craving will. It is a common habit to mistake ‘food cravings’ for real hunger. In fact, other factors in our lives create cravings.
It’s Only a Feeling

A craving is a feeling like anger, sadness or even happiness. Like other feelings, it will disappear in a short time even if you do not respond to it. Our reaction to a situation or person, stress, anger or  feeling tired can instigate a craving. It’s that desire to eat something to make us feel better.

This happens because, at some point in our past, we made an association with feeling better and food. Do you remember being  given food as a soother or a reward? Were you denied certain food as a punishment and now you are rebelling by eating it? Over time we have become conditioned to respond to feelings by eating certain food. This familiar concept is even used in films. We have all seen that image of the jilted person sitting on the sofa eating a whole tub of ice-cream.

These short-lived cravings and urges are part of our conditioning which then become part of our lives over many years. Yet, the great thing is that, if you ignore them and don’t indulge them, they get weaker and weaker and easier to ignore. So, it is important to understand that, like your other eating habits, reacting to cravings is something which you can change. You can beat cravings and stop them disrupting your weight reduction goals.
The good news is that, if you ignore them and don’t indulge them, cravings get weaker and weaker and easier to ignore. Like your other eating habits, reacting to cravings is something which you can change.

The Difference Between Cravings and Hunger

In the image above, you can see the clear differences between real hunger and a craving. Like other eating habits, awareness can help you to take control of your cravings. It is important to do this before they take control of your weight.

Feel free to print out this info-graphic and keep it to hand. Use it to help you to identify what you are feeling. You can then discriminate between a real hunger pang and a craving.

How to Beat Cravings

Now you know the difference between hunger and a craving here are my top tips for overcoming them:


  • Remind yourself that they won’t last long – don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that it won’t stop unless you eat.
  • Ask yourself if you are really hungry (use the hunger scale you can find in Slim Habits to help to help!).
  • Don’t listen to your internal saboteur which might be saying, ‘I want something to eat – go on get something’.
  • Listen to the voice in your head which says, ‘This craving will go away in a minute or two’.
  • Say to yourself ‘I don’t have to eat right now’.
  • Be patient. This urge will stop shortly.  Just wait a short time and it will go away.
  • Have a glass of water (warm water or cold – work out which helps you best).
  • Distract yourself and get busy. Before you realise it, the cravings will be gone.
  • When the craving has passed, and you have not eaten, take a moment to celebrate and praise yourself. You have taken control with the power of your own mind and this is a big step to changing your relationship with food and your body.

Cravings can be a huge saboteur of your weight reduction efforts so it is key to get on top of them as soon as you can.

There are lots more tips and a hypnotherapy track to help you overcome your cravings in Slim Habits.

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