Thoughts, Willpower and Eating

Some things to consider:

(1) brief video from The Smithsonian explaining willpower – 

and why this won’t get you through thick and thin.

“Ask Smithsonian: What’s Up With Willpower and Why Don’t I Have It?”

LINK  to 1 1/2 minute video (please ignore whatever ad they have running)

(2) Article “Mindfulness intervention boosts brain activation for healthy pleasures”

This study was oriented toward people who are trying to manage how much opioid medications they take for their chronic pain.

The important point of the study, though, can be useful for anyone.

From ScienceDaily, December 5, 2014, Source: University of Utah Health Sciences:    LINK

  • “For example, to enhance their sense of reward in life, participants in Garland’s study were taught a “mindful savoring practice,” in which they focused attention on pleasant experiences such as a beautiful nature scene, sunset or feeling of connection with a loved one.
  • In a meditation session, participants were taught to focus their awareness on colors, textures and scents of a bouquet of fresh flowers and to appreciate joy arising from the experience.
  • As part of their daily homework, they were then asked to practice the meditation technique as a way to enjoy other pleasant life experiences.
  • Results from Garland’s new research shows that after a sample of chronic pain patients misusing opioids went through MORE, they exhibited increased brain activation on an EEG to natural healthy pleasures.
  • The more their brains became active in response to natural healthy pleasure, the less the patients craved opioids.”

LINK to study abstract.

(3) A study from Frontiers in Psychiatry

Some quotes from “A role for mental imagery in the experience and reduction of food cravings”

Front. Psychiatry, 06 January 2015 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2014.00193 Eva Kemps and imageMarika Tiggemann   LINK

  • “This suggests that competing cognitive tasks may disrupt craving imagery only temporarily, thereby providing momentary relief from the craving.
  • Thus imagery-based techniques may provide an effective ‘in-the-moment’ tool for curbing food cravings, providing assistance in the ‘here and now’.
  • Nevertheless, the field studies (39-41) suggest that imagery-based craving reduction techniques can be used successfully over the longer-term.
  • While these techniques do not produce lasting reductions in craving, they do effectively reduce cravings on any one occasion.
  • Moreover, their effectiveness does not diminish with repeated use. Indeed, the field studies clearly demonstrated that imagery-based techniques maintained their craving reducing effect with repeated use over several days (39), a week (41), and even over a couple of weeks (40).”

Tetris to the rescue? The article discusses the use of visual, auditory or olfactory engagement to disrupt craving imagery.

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