Cravings Could Be Defeated with Two Little Words
Why is it that we crave chocolate chip cookies rather than chard? Or bread instead of broccoli? Take heart: It’s biological.
“Our attraction to sweets — and salt, carbohydrates and fat — is hard-wired from the Stone Age,” says Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. Back then, food cravings were reliable signals to our ancestors to seek out certain foods that would provide energy (sugar, fat) and essential minerals (salt).
“Today, food is plentiful and it’s easy to avoid physical activity, but we’ve preserved craving tendencies because evolution is very slow,” Katz says. And cravings are just one more reason that obesity is an epidemic in this country. So is there anything you can do to fight these deep-rooted desires?
For starters, try a reframing exercise that seems to work for all sorts of yearnings. It’s actually pretty easy: When deciding whether to eat something that isn’t necessarily nutritious, use the words “I don’t” instead of “I can’t.”
What’s the difference? “With ‘I don’t’ you’re choosing words that signal empowerment and determination rather than ones that signal deprivation,” says Vanessa Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Houston. In four studies, Patrick and her colleagues examined how “empowered refusal” can increase feelings of control and self-awareness, especially with food. They found that when it came to deciding whether to eat certain foods, saying “I don’t” was nearly three times as effective as saying “no” and about eight times more effective than saying “I can’t.” The research was published in March’s Journal of Consumer Research.
Read on for explanations about why we crave certain foods and why we should just say “I don’t.” - http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-cravings-20120721,0,7652489.story