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Managing Your Cravings

One of the issues that confront people early in abstinence is a craving. If you do not manage a craving while it is just a random thought, it will grow into an irresistible urge and a desperate urgency which can derail your food plan and recovery.

So, in the instant that you begin to realize that this is a food craving, take action. Cravings go away one of two ways: either when you decide to definitely give in to it, OR when you decide definitely not to give in to it.

Usually when you’re having a craving there is a sense of anxiety attached to it (Will I give in? Will I stand strong?). The moment you decide one way or the other, the craving starts to diminish. If you decide to give in to the craving, it starts to go away even before you put food in your mouth because the anxiety related to having to make the decision goes away.

Cravings do not just get worse and worse and worse until you can’t stand them.  They will ALWAYS go away, even if you never eat a bite of food.

The more and more times you resist cravings, the easier it will be for you to do so because you build up evidence that proves that you can withstand them and that they do always go away. At worst, a craving might last 15 minutes, but it will go away MUCH more quickly if you distract yourself.

Let’s get more specific.

Interview the craving. Who are you and why are you here? If the UPS man came to your door and had a package and a bill for $97.64, would you pay him/her right away? Or would you first look at the package to see what it is and whether it belongs to you?

Who are you and where do you come from?

Did I eat the wrong food?

Is there too much food around me?

Did I eat too little?

Have I been careless with portion sizes?

Name the craving.

Are you a feeling?

Who are you?

Who sent you?

What situation do you remind me of?

Who are your friends/enemies inside me?

Are you a feeling? Who really owns you?

Am I missing my old food habits?

Or is this bringing up something from the past?

Are there other people involved?

Tame the craving

What do I need to do to be rid of you?

Who really owns you?

Are you remembering someone from my past?

Is there an action I should take?

Thank you for your service, craving. You may leave now.

Turn round in your mind to your Higher Power, and ask for help. Ask to be relieved of the feeling, or to hear the lesson, or to assign it to the person responsible for it. Then – let it leave.

Now get involved in some more constructive activity.

Every single time you have a craving you have the opportunity to either strengthen your tendency to give in, or your tendency to not give in. This is why every single time matters because every single time will reinforce one of these things.

When you’re having a craving, the more you focus on that craving, the worse it will get.  The more you distract yourself, the less and less you’ll think about it.  Just like an itch – the more you focus on an itch the itchier it becomes.  When you get distracted, the itch goes away.

You can say “It’s worth it to not give in to cravings because it creates peace in my heart and strengthens my recovery.”

7 Responses to Managing Your Cravings

  1. Jackie Stowell August 18, 2020 at 4:23 pm #

    Thanks for this helpful information and advice. This made me wonder if you, personally, ever had to deal with food issues yourself?

    • H. Theresa Wright September 8, 2020 at 10:55 pm #

      I’ve had to deal with lots of serious issues in my life; but I suspect that this might be the work HP assigned me. I wonder – why do you ask?

  2. Ann Tarbell August 21, 2020 at 11:56 am #


    Thank you. You really know what you are doing with food addiction. I have been giving into too many cravings and eating too many addictive foods. So this is a wake up call.

    Best to you,

    • H. Theresa Wright September 8, 2020 at 10:49 pm #

      O good. The slightly addictive foods are the most dangerous for setting of a binge. There is another blog about handling cravings that may help you.

  3. Theresa Wright September 9, 2020 at 2:18 pm #

    Being more clear, Jackie, I do not have the addictive or compulsive food issues we discuss. I think it would be very hard for someone to listen to food addicts all day; she might get triggered. Doing this work happened as an outgrowth of my own studies in Nutrition. I have always suspected that my Higher Power had a role in this, too.
    But I am still curious. Why do you ask? Is there some way I could help you?

  4. Joseph J Anglim October 8, 2020 at 8:08 pm #

    Recently regained my abstinence and have eliminated sugar and flour. {48 days} I have noticed night time cravings often within two hours of retiring. What is working is to recognize them as mere food cravings that may or may not be a part of withdraw. I reject any ideas such as something is wrong with me first off. Then as long as I remain calm and do not make an issue of them they fade away after a period of discomfort. These cravings do not have duration if I remain calm and do not make an issue of them. The important thing seems to be to reject the thought/impulse almost as if it were a stranger in the brain. These cravings are lessening as I continue to not make an issue of them and stay in bed. Regaining my health requires my self discipline. Hope this helps someone.

    • H. Theresa Wright October 8, 2020 at 8:29 pm #

      Excellent ideas Joe, so glad you are doing well.

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