Visualizing for food cravings? You don’t say…
God, I love visualization. It is so powerful and so useful. It is used by athletes, entrepreneurs, the sick and injured, ordinary people who want to make life changes. Just when I thought I had read about all the types of visualization, I learned about a new way to use it.
Eve Kemps and Marida Tiggemann of Flinders University in Australia reviewed the latest research on food craving and found some fascinating stuff.
What is the difference between a food craving and hunger? Food cravings are usually pretty specific. For me, it is dark chocolate with hazelnut toffee. There, I just got up and ate 2 squares.
Research suggests that the reason cravings are so specific is the vivid image the person has of the food. The mental capacity it takes to create and hold onto this clear picture of food actually affects our ability to perform other cognitive tasks. For example, in an experiment where two sets of volunteers were made to solve word and math problems, the group that was craving chocolate preformed worse. The theory is that so much of our cognitive resources are going to imagine the food, our brains have a hard time completing other tasks. Its no wonder we finally end up giving into these cravings. We want our minds back!
Who can’t relate to that? So, this is where visualization comes in. The latest research indicates that we can “visualize” out way out of the craving. Basically, by shifting the brain’s focus to a new visual task, it can help loosen its grip on the food image. One experiment showed that food-craving volunteers who visualized images of common sights reduced their cravings. Researchers think there is great promise in using visual tasks to curb cravings and possibly other substances such as drugs and alcohol.
I don’t know if I am more pleased that I can try and visualize myself from eating chocolate or that research shows if I just go ahead and eat it my cognitive abilities will be restored….