Rewire Your Food Cravings and Triggers

Bringing awareness to our food cravings can change our relationship to them—we can be with that craving rather than be caught up in it.

Last session we learned how to map the mechanics of our habit loops. This session, we’re using those skills to look specifically at any habits we’ve formed around food and eating.

As a recap: our brains learn through a process that has three components: trigger, behavior, reward. There’s a trigger (perhaps stress) that moves you to behave in a certain way (maybe leaving your desk at work and going out for a cigarette); and there’s a result or reward (having that cigarette gets the initial feelings of stress to drop a bit for a short period of time). According to the brain, that’s a successful pattern that deserves to be repeated.

Since last session, did you discover any habit loops in your life? If you didn’t get an opportunity to practice, you could pause right now to see if you can identify one or two habit loops in your own experience.

This session we’re examining habit loops with regards to food in particular. And eating is an extremely interesting example. That’s because the habit-loop structure of getting hungry, finding food, and testing and eating that food, is designed to do something else: to aid us in locating that food again.

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About the author

Judson Brewer

About Dr. Brewer: Judson Brewer MD PhD is a thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery”, having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. A professor and researcher at the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, he has developed clinically proven app-based training to help people with emotional eating (www.goeatrightnow.com) and anxiety (www.unwindinganxiety.com). He is the author of The Craving Mind: from cigarettes to smartphones to love, why we get hooked and how we can break bad habits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).

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