Unless you are definitely 100% hungry, your food cravings may well be a distraction, a security blanket or a mask that conceals a hidden need. As sinister as that sounds the craving is serving you in what it thinks is a positive way.

Often cravings start when you’re feeling stressed or emotional. The cravings provide fun, a sugar rush, instant energy or maybe even protection.

In order to eliminate the craving without reaching for food, you need to discover the underlying cause and fulfil the deeper need in your life.

Who are you feeding?

Once you have addressed that deeper desire your cravings often disappear. Instead of the food – ask yourself ‘What do I really want’? You may be surprised at the answer.

Are you feeling stressed and need to relax? Lonely and need some company? Are you feeling guilty for something you’ve done, or not done but should have? Do you need a hug and to feel loved? Do you need to stand up for yourself but are afraid to say ‘NO’?

If the root cause of your real cravings is not addressed, food will often be the quick and easy fix. I’d like you to have a think about which foods you often choose as a craving because the food choice can sometimes be very revealing towards finding your root cause. Your food cravings are very often food that you have adorned with a special meaning or emotion.

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Can you remember visiting friends and relatives at Christmas time and being faced with a feast; Eating all that holiday food while laughing, telling stories, having fun, catching up and generally feeling great?

Can you remember having a sleepover at grandma and grandad’s house, being allowed to stay up late (ssshhh don’t tell mum) while eating some chocolate biscuits?

Can you remember ever being rewarded with a bag of sweets or a candy bar after school, when you’d behaved well? Can you remember your first time visiting a fast-food joint or a themed pub perhaps as a birthday treat as a kid?

Do you see a link beginning to form? Do you see the bigger picture yet? Craved foods often relate to special childhood memories.

This might explain why after a stressful day at work you reach for a particular brand of chocolate biscuits, you’re not actually hungry, what your doing is calling out for some love and support from Grandma and Grandad.

Or reaching for a bag of sweets might mean that you desire some recognition or reward for a job well done – a bit like the reward you used to get for being good at school.

Food doesn’t always deliver a positive, praising role though – it sometimes has a darker side. When suffering bad eating habits you may be telling yourself messages such as “I’m worthless, unlovable, not good enough, not attractive enough and I deserve to be punished”.

In these cases the food sometimes symbolises a punishment, in essence keeping you FATTER to prologue the punishment for “not being lovable and valuable”.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

The way to discover the many meanings you have given the craving food is to explore it and separate the actual sensory feelings of eating and the psychological thought-feelings you have created around it.

Everything that doesn’t come directly from your senses you have made inside your mind, and you can change that!

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Richard Scott combines psychology, NLP and CBT with over 12 years’ professional, full-time experience in traditional and modern hypnosis to deliver the fastest, most successful results.

He specialises in anxiety, weight issues, self-esteem and empowering women.

If you need assistance with any form of anxiety, Richard can help, get in contact for a free rapid change consultation.