Many people want to understand why they eat the way they do. Why do they frequently crave unhealthy foods? Why do they take second portions when they already feel full? Why are they searching for a snack 20 minutes after eating a meal? This is especially true for those who need to focus on their food choices because of a medical condition or weight management. Most people blame themselves when they ‘fall off the wagon’. Do some of these statements sound familiar??

 

 “I know what to eat, but I just can’t seem to do it”

                             

“When I eat, I lose control”

 

“I’m an emotional eater”

 

 “Why don’t I have more willpower?”

 

Saying no to temptation takes more than willpower; it’s about learning and practicing new ways of thinking and behaving. Developed by a registered dietitian and a clinical psychologist, the Craving Change™ program is designed to help you become aware of your personal, problematic eating triggers and learn techniques and strategies to help deal with them.

 

Although the reason that we eat is to provide our body with energy and nourishment, food plays many other roles in our lives as well. Food is an important part of our celebrations, it gives us comfort and pleasure, it may be given as a reward and eating food is simply ‘something to do’. We each have our own unique relationship with food. We have learned to associate certain feelings, activities and behaviours with particular foods. For example, were you soothed with a sweet or other food treat when you were hurt or upset as a child? Most of us were. As an adult, you might crave the same type of treat when you’re feeling under stress. In fact, you may not actually be craving the treat as much as the feeling of comfort that you experience when eating this particular food.

 

It can be very helpful to pay attention to the thoughts running through your mind when you are about to eat. Are you truly hungry or are you eating for another reason? If you notice that you’re thinking, “I’m bored” or “That makes me feel depressed (or angry)” or “That was tough to do, I deserve a treat!” then you are eating for a reason other than physical hunger. A quick trick to help you identify why you are eating is to say the word “HALT” before getting the food. Then think of emotions for each letter of H-A-L-T that may describe how you are feeling. For example, ask yourself am I... 

  • Hungry? 

  • Angry or Anxious?

  • Lonely?

  • Tired or Tense?

 

If you’re not physically hungry, find other ways to respond to these other eating triggers without food. For example, do some deep breathing, have a nap, go for a walk, or phone a friend. This approach is very positive. Eating usually provides only a temporary solution to these other reasons for eating. You feel lonely, you may eat and feel occupied and distracted for a short time. However, you still feel lonely. You may also now feel frustrated and disappointed in yourself for eating at a time when you weren’t really hungry.

 

The Craving Change™ approach will help you recognize your problematic eating triggers and thoughts. The fun and easy activities and lively discussions are guaranteed to spark some ‘ah-ha’ moments for you as you discover the many challenges to healthy eating. Most importantly, you will be given step-by-step instructions to help you learn a variety of ways to change your thinking and eating habits for long term success. With over 40 years combined experience helping people who struggle with their eating, Wendy Shah, RD and Dr. Colleen Cannon feel that the Craving Change™ program is the missing piece of the puzzle for healthier eating habits. Craving Change™ workshops are offered across Canada by trained clinicians. 

 

For more information on this program visit www.cravingchange.ca 

Change the Way You Think To Change the Way You Eat

 

Wendy Shah, RD and Dr. Colleen Cannon of the Craving Change™ program

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© 2018 by The Dietitians Network of Nova Scotia.