A longer review of classical conditioning is in my older posts. Please refer to them to see why you are just like Pavlov’s dogs!
When you crave a particular food, it is often because your body associates that food with some other habit. Perhaps you always think of salsa every time you eat turkey? And do you always follow eating that with chocolate? A chain reaction in which one craving always leads to the same pattern of other cravings is what HeartMark Health calls “Craving Chain Reaction,” or CCR.
If not this turkey-salsa-chocolate chain reaction, I am sure that you can identify other CCR events. Your taste buds often travel from one extreme to another. Or you might have chain reaction events in which your taste buds travel from one food to another that’s more intense in flavor. If you have a sweet tooth, you may be searching for the intense chocolate fix and you can’t stop until you get it. If you’re in a salty
CCR, you might reach for more and more salty snacks.
Take a moment to make a HeartMark, breathe in deeply, exhale, and now think of some such CCR events. Better yet, take the HeartMark break in the middle of a CCR event so that you can be mindful and break it if you choose.
What are your CCR events? Are you okay with them? Would you like to break them?
First, I have to point out that a CCR event has benefits. Each time you switch from one taste bud or food choice to another, it allows you to not overeat on one particular item. This is great. Give yourself a HeartMark!
Next you have to consider if you want to enter into a CCR. If the end result (eating chocolate) is not something that you will feel good about, then don’t start to eat the first product in the first place. Another option is to retrain or redirect your taste buds to form a new CCR.
Can you do that? Yes you can! If you cannot avoid the first product on the chain reaction, then at least prepare in advance other habits to redirect the path.
To be truly successful, you should pair this new habit with some personal classical conditioning. I have experimented with classically conditioning myself for years. I have also taught others to do it. It really works.
Think of all the advertising dollars spent daily to play mind tricks on you so that you will associate vacation with a particular beer brand, or romantic love with perfume. For less dollars, you can train your own brain to think negative thoughts about the product that you want to avoid. And you can train your brain to think positive thoughts about any habit that you want to keep.
This will take some mindfulness, or HeartMark breaks, at first. However, you will soon be able to make these mental connections very fast.
I recommend thinking of the negative results that you want to avoid when you consume an item that you shouldn’t. For chocolate, you can visualize the insulin pump going crazy, the drill at the dentist, and for some women—even pain in the chest. If you think of these negative reactions every time you will see chocolate, you will be able to avoid it. Thinking of these painful images will become automatic.
For positive results, imagine feeling light, clean and fresh on the inside of your body, radiating and proud. You can come up with more personal associations. You can do it!
And please share with me your CCR’s, your mental images to fight certain cravings, and your success stories!
I HeartMark You!