• Emma Townsin

Next time you have a craving- try this!

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

You’re not broken. Your cravings, no matter how overwhelming, are a biological reaction to cope. Tuning in and listening to what your body is trying to tell you in this moment will make a big difference.



The out-of-control feeling around cravings is related to an acute stress response called the flight or fight response. This response is designed to help you escape immediate danger such as being chased by a lion.


In such immediate danger our mind needs to make a quick decision- there’s no time for rational thought. Helpful if you are being chased by a lion but not so much when you need to think clearly. You are likely to make a fast decision, without considering how it will actually make you feel. Eating in this moment results in less enjoyment of eating and more discomfort after the eating experience.


Whether these overwhelming cravings are related to emotions, food restrictions or hunger, this exercise will help guide you back to a calmer place from which you can logically decide what your body needs.


The emergency cravings body scan

  1. Acknowledge the feeling, sit down and take 5 deep slow breaths, in and out, feel your heart beat slow down.

  2. Now you are going to scan your body, starting at your head and slowly working your way down through your body. As you do, notice how each area in your body feels- it is important not to judge the sensations, but simply notice.

  3. Write down any observations you made. Did you notice any sensations within your body that are causing you discomfort? Can you identify if the sensation is caused by an emotion or hunger or something else?

  4. From your observations, is there anything else your body might need right now?

  5. Now, when you feel calm and connected to your body, consider again your food craving. How would that food feel in your body right now?

  6. If food is what you need, prepare the food mindfully and sit down without distractions to eat the food. Know that the food is not restricted and you are allowed to eat it again whenever you like. Tune into the flavours and how it feels when you eat it. Enjoy the eating experience.

This activity is not designed to stop you from eating, but to bring you into a calmer place before deciding what you need and to enjoy the eating experience.


For more about developing a peaceful trust and understanding rather than an ongoing war with your mind, check out my previous blog, Dieting is making your cravings worse.


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