Food choices and diet are often so emotionally driven. We can have all the intention to eat well and avoid temptation to eat foods that we might later regret, but in the moment we feel this intense urge to eat the chocolate in front of us, or dive in for a second helping of cake.
Cravings work in a similar way it’s like all we can think about and the urge builds until we give in.
If we want to make diet or lifestyle improvements we need to look at our habits. The first place to start is awareness of the habit when they pop up and sit with it until it passes.
This is a powerful tool that allows you to ride that real urge of intense desire like a wave.
How to Surf the Urge!
Instead of giving in to the habit, we stop, and we recognise what’s happening, so we recognise that there’s an urge inside us.
There’s a habitual wanting to reach for the food and we know, in prehistoric times when food was scarce this was a survival adaptation but when we are surrounded by an overabundance of food we may need to override this urge.
The idea of surfing the urge comes in when you first notice it building up, just as if you’re surfing over the top of a wave, something like this…
1. Feel the desire or urge
“Oh this urge is getting more and more and more, I’m going to have to give in to it.”
2. Just pause at that point, check in and notice –
Where in your body do you feel that urge? How does it feel in your body?
3. Notice that big rapid build up and just like at the top of a wave –
It plateaus for a little bit, before you come back down again and the urge eventually subsides.
Once you start noticing this your cravings or urges like this, you get control over it.
You may be surprised at first, when you practise this technique because you can really feel that happening.
What happens is you disrupt this habit loop. So next time when you see a piece of chocolate cake, your habit is not as strongly as ingrained.
This allows you to start to take control of your eating, you start to be more conscious and deliberate and just breaking free of that habit loop can be just so wonderful.
So wonderfully liberating.
If you need some extra support managing your cravings or addictions our online mindfulness course is a great place to start.