What to know about Cravings.
Let’s debunk the myth that if you give in to cravings it’s because you don’t have willpower or discipline. The inspirational moms I work with are some of the most disciplined people you can imagine, making miracles in impossible situations. How can a tiny piece of chocolate be their kryptonite?
There’s an element of cravings that most people miss. For many, it’s the main reason we give in to cravings even though we don’t want to.
If any of you took a Psych 101 class, you might remember learning about rewards, or “reinforcement”, and punishment.
Most people think that negative reinforcement and punishment are the same thing, but that’s not the case.
Positive reinforcement is when you get something pleasant for performing a certain behavior. You eat chocolate, it tastes good and reminds you of cherished childhood memories.
Punishment is when you get something unpleasant because you performed a certain behavior. Eat too much chocolate, and you feel sluggish and don’t fit into your clothes anymore.
Negative reinforcement is when you are rewarded by having something unpleasant removed. I’ll pause and let that sink in.
There’s a difference between enjoying chocolate and CRAVING chocolate. A craving is an intrusive, recurring thought, accompanied by agitation, that nags at us incessantly until we give in.
It’s like a speaker is blasting in your head “EAT THE DAMN CHOCOLATE!!!”, interrupting everything you try to do. And the speaker keeps screeching with that annoying feedback sound. It happens to be telling you to do something enjoyable, but wouldn’t you even do something unpleasant to get it to stop, even if the relief was temporary?
Stop trying to have the discipline to ignore the screeching speaker, and learn how to turn it down, or shut it off completely. Ahhh, doesn’t that feel better?