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Stop Your Food Cravings Before They Start

Aug 20, 2008
Renegade Water Secrets with Jonny Bowden, is a board certified nutritionist, personal trainer, motivational speaker, and author of: Living the Low-Carb Life: Choosing the Diet that's Right for You, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprisingly Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why and his most recent book is The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Why.

Kevin: Thank you. Well, for those of you who have never heard of Jonny Bowden, why don't you just give us a quick little summary and then we'll get right into the meat of this call and the questions.

Jonny: Well, I'm a board certified nutritionist. I have a Masters degree in psychology. I was a personal trainer for 10 years and I have six certifications in personal training and I try to combine motivational speaking with clinical nutrition and fitness and health for just transformation of the world and the planet and people's health and personal power.

Kevin: Wow. So let's get right into it. I sense a theme of the questions that we got and I got a chance to take a look at them, kind of revolve around to very specific things. One is emotional eating and the other is a sugar cravings and I have a feeling that they're a little bit connected, but I'm going to let you talk about that. So let's talk first about emotional eating. How can someone overcome emotional type grabbing for food no matter what it is?

Jonny: Well, it's certainly something that we can spend an entire hour on, but let me just give you a tiny piece of the way I approach it. I did a program a while ago, which has been doing really well on my website called the Diet Boot Camp Program. It's four CDs and a manual and it's the text that we use in our private coaching program. It's kind of a textbook, but this is an at-home version that you can do without the coaching program and everyone talks about using a food journal to keep a record of what you eat, so that you can kind of monitor food reactions and calories and be accountable to yourself. In the Diet Boot Camp Program, I particularly added to that food journal questions about what you just asked. What am I feeling when I'm eating this? Am I really hungry or is something else going on? How do I connect the dots between the triggers for eating and my eating behavior? Because I think the answer to your question is really about how we connect the dots? How do we identify what triggers happen often subconsciously, and often without us even noticing them. They happen so quickly.

What cues do we respond to that trigger eating behaviors, because until we can make that connection we can't to break the link. So what we're looking for is a circuit breaker. We're looking for a way -- if you know those Christmas lights that you have that you put on a Christmas tree. When they're all kind of chained together and there's one little circuit that's broken in there then all the rest of the lights beyond that don't light up. That's what we need to do with some of our more addictive behaviors, whether it be food behaviors or drug behaviors, whatever we're addicted to and here were talking about sugar and cravings and emotional eating.

So what we tend to and I was a cigarette smoker, for example. Certain subjects would come up. Certain anxiety producing subjects would come up in conversation. You automatically reach for the pack. So what I talk about on Diet Book Camp is making a chink in the link. You're looking at that link of behaviors that starts with an emotion of feeling of fear or anger. In the 12 step program they talk about don't get too angry or too tired or too thirsty or too hungry or too lonely. There are these triggers and what we're looking for is what is the link of behaviors that ends with us eating something that doesn't support our health and how to we break that link. How do we put a little circuit breaker in that link of lights and I think that's the key to getting mastery over emotional eating.

Kevin: When someone is craving something is it too late? Does this groundwork have to laid before?

Jonny: That is a great question and let me give you the short answer. Obviously, if you can nip it before it happens, it's the same thing with cigarettes and everything else. If you can stop cravings before they overcome you and there are things you can do. There are things you can do to modulate, for example, blood sugar, because dropping blood sugar is a big cue for cravings. There are things you can do to not get too angry or too hungry and there are things you can do to start molecules going up to your brain, saying this dude's not that hungry. We can manage. So there's a lot of things that you can do in advance of cravings. Once you understand what the triggers are, there are things you can do.

My ex-girlfriend was a big smoker and she knew that there were certain routes in the car, driving home from rehearsal, certain times that were triggers for her, so she learned to not do this particular things and to find alternative a ways to go home, to find different times to go, different people to travel with, so there are ways that you can kind of anticipate before the craving happens. You can do it be it with modulating blood sugar or taking some of the supplements that I talk about in The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth, like glutamine and things like that, but once a craving hits there are still things you can do to interrupt the circuit. It's a little harder than not having a craving in the first place, but sometimes cravings just hit us. So what we have to do is find some alternative behaviors or just find a way to get, as I said, a chink in the link, maybe put one behavior in between the craving and the action.

A lot of us feel a craving and immediately gratify it and sometimes if you can just train your brain to put a five minutes in between, like maybe make a deal with yourself and you say okay, I'm going to delete this food or have the cigarette or whatever it is that you'd like to not be able to do. I'm going to be able to do it and make a deal with myself, but I'm going to wait five minutes. I'm going to just walk around the block first. It's kind of like when you're really angry and you take 10 deep breaths. You just make that deal with yourself to put that little bit of distance and when you know some of the tricks of what you can do in that little bit of distance you'd be amazed. The cravings pass within 15 minutes. It's been documented. There's no question about it. If you can outlast it, you can beat it.

So there are things that you can do and it isn't always too late once the craving starts, but obviously the best solution is to try to anticipate what might trigger those cravings in the first place and maybe head them off at the pass before you are victimized by them.

Kevin: Right, because it's challenging when you have a piece of cake or there's a whole variety of people in this call. People who are into raw foods to people who just want to lose weight. It's a challenge when you have that thing in your hand and it's in your reach. Is it a different kind of trigger for each person, like a different kind of stop technique? Why don't you give us an example of what you use for smoking? What was your stop technique?

Jonny: I wrapped the cigarettes and paper and put a rubber band around the pack. I would have to unwrap the cigarettes. I would have to write down on the paper the time of day. I'd rank it from one to 10 and I would have to wait five minutes and actually go out of the room and do it someplace else.

Kevin: Wow.

Jonny: After a while, if you put enough of these little stop gap measures, five minutes, 10 minutes, you have to wrap it up, you have to write it down and have to go out of the room. If you make it inconvenient enough, as you begin to break the habit it becomes easier and easier. For some people I'm going to have dessert, I'll have a warm bath first. I'll read 10 pages of the Wall Street Journal or of my favorite novel. I'll wait and watch 15 minutes of the news and then I'll have it. You can make them up. They can be different for different people. I'll walk around the block. I'll do 10 push-ups. You'd be amazed at the number of things you can put in there to just jam up the works. What you're trying to do is deconstruct that automaticness, that knee-jerk reaction and once you can do that, once you can get a wedge in it's like a wedge issue. Once you get a wedge in, it's sort of like undoing a knot on your shoe lace when it's really tight. Once you can loosen it a little bit, the rest of it sort of unravels a lot more easily.

Kevin: What a great 10 minute explanation on food cravings and sugar and everything. I think that kind of covers it. That is some incredible advice.
About the Author
To read the rest of this transcript as well as access The Renegade Roundtable experts just like Jonny Bowden please click here! Kevin Gianni is an internationally recognized health advocate, author & film consultant. He has helped thousands of people take control of their own health naturally. For more information visit raw food diets and holistic nutrition.
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