Our Brains are designed to crave salty, sugar, high fat food. Each person their own food combinations that feed our pleasure or comforting seeking brain. Permanent weight loss strategies will only work if mastering your food craving brain is central to your solution.

Let me begin to explain with a story. During the 1980s I would fly into New York City through La Guardia airport. I was so excited those last twenty minutes of the flight. No, it wasn’t the thrill of the theatre district, Central Park in the spring or attending Columbia University for psychiatric training – I was dreaming about my dose of yoghurt covered pretzels. Yoghurt covered pretzels have the perfect mix of sugar, fat and salt and are a food addicts crack.

Let’s take a closer look at my craving brain in action. Many people come to see me and say: ‘I can’t control my food cravings’ and that is followed by some harsh putdown. To successfully manage cravings, let’s begin by discovering how a craving manifests in a human being.

A craving is not an outside mystery. The intense appeal begins in you. Let’s use me as an example. When I close my eyes and bring my well-dressed pretzels to mind, I see a picture of those salty treats. Let’s look closer at the structure of that picture. That image is a literally how my brain represents a craved food. Pretzels are three dimensional and in an off white color. Pretzels appear about six inches away from my eyes, in the center of my visual field. I don’t plan it but I see not one but a dozen pretzels in a pile and my body responds with a mouth full of saliva, mild tension in my jaw radiating into throat and butterflies in my stomach. Step one, being mindful of the manifestation of a craving in you.

Food processed by industry triggers full blow, brain tickling food cravings in your mind.

Let’s do a little thought experiment together. A thought experiment is where you direct your mind to imagine a tasty treat. Bring to mind a food that triggers your cravings. Is it cookies, donuts, chips, ice cream- pick your favorite. Now close your eyes and imagine the visual image of your favorite food. Notice how it appears in your mind`s eye while watching your experience of the craving in your body. See how it compares to my image and answer these questions.

Is your food image:
Colour or black and white?
Is it centre, right or left in your visual field? Your visual field is the stage inside of your brain. Is the food on the right, centre or left?
How far away is the image from you?
Is it big or small?
3-D or flat?
Vague or clear?
A movie or a still picture?

Now let’s switch to veggies- broccoli, carrots, salad (no dressing) – chose a neutral vegetable without any fancy fixings (butter, salt etc). Notice how your brain has programmed these foods. Ask yourself the same questions about the neutral veggies: Do you see your image as less clear, off to the side, far away, less 3-D and notice what is going on in your body. See how different food treats are from vegetables.

Is there an inner difference between the craving food and the vegetable in your mind. That difference is how your body gets you to choose the obesity inducing foods over others- we become hard wired and drawn to these foods at a physical and visual level. That is why we say vegetables are boring, not appealing or other terms.

Underneath these moments are our biologically drive for high fat, salty, sweet delights. I would let my yoghurt pretzels melt in my mouth with a giant inner smile on my ride back to my Spanish Harlem apartment.

Yoghurt covered pretzels were just like someone else’s smokes, scotch or any other addictive pleasure. It was at that moment in 1987 that I realized that food was not only about nutrition. The way my mouth still fills with saliva 25 years later tells me one thing- food is a drug. An addictive one and without effective strategies for that dark side of food- no diet, no coach and no trainer will save you or guarantee weight loss.

Our Food Craving Brain is the single most important paradigm shift in weight management that is finally taking hold.

Begin to notice how foods are patterned in your brain. Conquering your cravings demands the ability to ease this hard wiring with the right combination of foods, craving easing strategies that literally melt away those images while managing the stress, feelings, situations that trigger these potent images.

This is a big change in how you think about foods. Each food has its own inner fingerprint. In future blogs learn about the neurochemistry of cravings, what eases and worsens them, strategies for your successful shifting a craving.

For now, please share your inner experience as you discover how different foods appear on the inside. Is your food image:

Colour or black and white?
Is it centre, right or left in your visual field?
How far away is the image from you?
Is it big or small?
3-D or flat?
Vague or clear?
A movie or a still picture?

See how different foods are programmed in your brain. Notice how closer or farther, colour or black and white or any component seems to intensify your cravings. Next blog will be about using your brain to change your cravings 101.