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Dealing with cravings

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Quite a few people here seem to be struggling with cravings. I just wrote an article to my email-list on how to deal with cravigns. I thought that I'd post it here also. If you know any additional tips or tricks please share them here.

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WHAT CAUSES CRAVINGS

First let's try to understand what causes these cravings in the first place. As far as I understand you can divide cravings in 3 categories:

***Emotional cravings

You have good memories and/or pleasant feelings linked to the consumption of this substance. For example, let's say that you like to enjoy a cup of coffee with your good friends. You meet regularly at a coffee shop and you always enjoy these meetings. In your mind coffee is linked to these pleasant moments. So when you want to drop coffee your mind may create resistance as it has all those pleasant memories linked into it.

In such a case you need to unhook coffee from those pleasant memories and associate it with something else. The more painful issue the easier it is to drop it.

How difficult would it be to stop drinking coffee if you would know for sure that you would get painful pimples the next day? Not very...

You can use the swoosh pattern discussed in the book to associate coffee with something else. You can also use other 'mind tricks' discussed in the previous emails to make the change (e.g. make a list of 10 ways coffee ruins your life).

***Physical cravings & addictions

Another name for this is withdrawal symptoms. You may get these when your body is cleansing itself from the addictive substances. Besides the obvious coffee and tobacco you may get withdrawal symptoms from sugar, alcohol, wheat and cheese. I'm sure there are also others, but those are the most obvious.

To my knowledge there is really nothing you can do about them. Dropping these addictive substances from your diet gradually may reduce the withdrawal symptoms.

***Nutritional deficiencies

The signals your body sends when it is missing essential nutrients can sometimes be misinterpreted as cravings. A VERY common source of cravings for budding raw foodists is not getting enough calories. If you don't eat enough your body is going to scream for more.

These are pretty simple to deal with. Just make sure that you get a good variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and that your diet meets your calorie needs. Go to Fitday.com to check that you are getting enough calories.

OVERCOMING CRAVINGS

OK, and now some tips on how to deal with those inevitable cravings.

***Focus

This is by far the most powerful tool you have. Shrinks and other mind experts tend to say that you get more of what you focus on.

In other words if you keep thinking how much you miss the old foods and how boring this new diet is then your changes of succeeding are somewhere between non-existing and miserable.

Luckily you are always in control of the chatter in your head. Immediately when you start cravings for old foods think about all the pimples those have caused. Make the picture really vivid and miserable.

Next focus on how this new diet is going to get you clear and all that jazz. You'll be amazed how much easier it is to deal with cravings once you focus your attention on the benefits of the new diet instead of how much you miss the old foods.

Here's a thing I like to do. I imagine little, black, ugly gremlins with sharp teeth and everything hissing and screaming for food. I try to make them look as menacing as possible and imagine cravings to be their calls for food.

It's quite easy to stay strong if alternative is feeding those monsters.

***Post notes around your house

A good way to stay motivated is to post notes around your house/flat.

Create 2 lists; one with 10 ways this new diet is going to make your life better and one with 10 ways your old diet made your life miserable. Post these lists around your house. Post them to the places you are likely to 'fall' (i.e. fridge, kitchen cabinets, etc).

I have this posted on my fridge:

"The 2 most important decisions of your life:

Will you choose to take action that brings you closer to or further away from, your desired target?

Will you make decisions that strengthen your power or weaken your power?"

The power in this case would mean my energy levels and health. So every time I'm opening the fridge I'm confronted with that decision.

It also reminds me that every time I choose to eat, for example, raw foods it will be easier to make a healthy choice the next time. It also works the other way, every time I choose to eat cooked or pimple promoting food choosing raw foods is going to be little bit more difficult.

I learned those from Mark Joyner at simpleology.com and they have helped me tremendously. Just having to make that decision makes it so much easier to stick with the raw food diet or drag to my butt out to exercise.

***Eat something

This may sound simple, but is actually quite effective. If you get cravings for old foods just eat some fresh fruits. I've noticed that that takes care of the cravings 80% of the time (for me, that is).

BOTTOM LINE

At the end of the day cravings are not such a big deal. They tend to bother you for the first two to four weeks. After that you hardly get any. With the tips we covered today it's quite easy to ride through those first weeks.

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I think magnesium and green smoothies can play a good role in preventing cravings too, or atleast making them weaker. I always heard that if you were eating right and getting all the nutrients you needed, you wouldn't get cravings, but I ate right for awhile and still got cravings until doing green smoothies daily.

Anyways it's a bit easier to deal with cravings if you have lots of healthy snacks stocked, like nuts if they don't break you out, fruits, etc. Also, keeping unhealthy things out of site, like in a cabinet.

Then again, if you're being denied spiritual nourishment from your food (you hate eating healthy), you should try your best to make your diet tasty and healthy at the same time so you don't feel depraved. Good ideas would be things like hummus, curries, stir fried veggies, etc.

But in the end, forbidding yourself a food completely that you used to love can only make you want it more and more, so like Danny said, either have a "cheat" day or try to ease out of eating it, or eat in very small amounts occassionally. That's a lot harder said then done because it takes a lot of control.

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Good point R.S. I forgot to mention that prgress is usually two steps forward and one step back. Little cheating here and there is ok if the overall trend is towards better.

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Personally, I don't feel that most cravings are psychological. In our fast paced world, people don't prepare substantial meals like they used to. The result is our weight drops and we end up going for the most calorically dense food available (aka chocolate cookie dough ice cream). Acne sufferers have fast metabolisms. We shouldn't be skiping or having skimpy meals. If we do, we'll pay the price in hormonal imbalance + cravings which will cause more hormonal imbalance. It's an endless cycle.

Overweight people with acne usually have an excess of estrogen and an even greater excess of testosterone. These people need to reduce caloric intake/insulin. They have a slow metabolism most likely, with the so called 'thrify genes'. This usually indicates PCOS.

Underweight people with acne have a deficiency of estrogen (not enough adipose tissue), but no deficiency of androgens. The result is the same, a proportionately higher level of androgens than what is ideal.

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Personally, I don't feel that most cravings are psychological. In our fast paced world, people don't prepare substantial meals like they used to. The result is our weight drops and we end up going for the most calorically dense food available (aka chocolate cookie dough ice cream). Acne sufferers have fast metabolisms. We shouldn't be skiping or having skimpy meals. If we do, we'll pay the price in hormonal imbalance + cravings which will cause more hormonal imbalance. It's an endless cycle

The best solution is neither having big meals

Big meals are always and in whatever condition correlated with higher posprandial glycemia, lipemia and glucose intolerance

Most clinical studies on eating small meals more often have showed that this practice has a huge positive effect on hormonal balance and hematic profile and it mirrors more than the cultural breakfast, lunch and supper the way omnivororous animal eat

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