Don’t Think About Pink Elephants

“Don’t think about pink elephants….”

“Don’t think about pink elephants….”

“Don’t think about pink elephants….”

What are you thinking about?


I’m on a diet, and this time it will work.
I’m not going to eat chocolate…
I’m not going to eat chocolate…
I’m not going to eat chocolate…

What do you want to eat?

Ummh… now this one doesn’t seem rocket science to me. Whenever we tell ourselves NOT to do something or think about something, it seems to happen and we want it all the more.

It’s like if you tell your children not to spill something, like a full drink they are carrying to the table… yes, you guessed it, within 2 seconds they’ve spilt it all over the floor! This is because you’ve placed a suggestion/thought/idea into their head, which potentially leads to a behaviour. So here’s a tip for all you parents of messy children out there, instead of:

‘Don’t spill that drink’, use
‘Make sure you keep that all in the cup’
You’ll be surprised how well it works!

So, how does this relate to food and cravings?

When we start to introduce restrictions into our diet, and tell ourselves we are NOT going to eat something for the next x months, our brain thinks about that food more than we would normally do. In fact it seems, all the time! How many people went on the Atkins Diet, which restricts carbohydrates, only to sit there dreaming and drooling over having a thick fresh wedge of home baked bread or hot buttered toast or creamy mashed potatoes or chunky crispy chips?!! (What are you thinking about now?!) I bet they never experienced these incessant cravings before commencing the diet!

Can you see just what an amazing powerful tool our brains are? Through suggestion, I have probably just made you hungry for some of your favourite carbohydrates. When we banish something, are brain starts to think and quite often fantasize over things, until we ‘give in’ to temptation.

So here’s the trick, are you ready? It’s very complex….
Allow yourself to eat whatever you like!!!
Yes, that’s it. It really truly is.

Now, I can feel the panic rising already…
‘If I allow myself to eat whatever I like, I’ll be constantly pigging out on crisps or chocolate or biscuits or cakes or cheese or bread or chips…, I couldn’t do that’.

OK, to help you, you will need to put in a couple of other steps first

Eat when you are physically hungry and stop when you are physically full
Not for all the other reasons, e.g. emotional, tired, bored, stressed etc.
Really listen to what your body tells you it wants to eat, not what the diet industry tells you you SHOULD eat. You will be surprised that your body craves a wide variety of different nutrients, when you truly listen to it.
See all food as equal, and do not deny yourself anything …but question…do you really want to eat it? are you thirsty? have you got enough food in through out the day. dont always go for the quick fix (see snacks and ideas from the food tip s guide
Eat slowly, chew, really enjoy and taste your food. Food is there for pleasure as well as nutrition.

In a 1930’s experiment, over a 30 day period Psychoanalyst Anna Freud (daughter of Sigmund Freud) gave a group of toddlers unlimited access to foods ranging from ice-cream to spinach. While they each chose different foods at different times, every single child in the study ended up eating what was considered a balanced diet, not just the food junk you would presume.

The key is to trust your body and it will start to regulate itself. It will not require 4 bags of crisps, when you relax and eat for physical hunger, your mind only wants to eat those crisps when you deny yourself certain foods.

Banish those cravings forever, by eating when you are physically hungry, and what your body tells you it needs or wants to eat, and don’t deny yourself anything. And remember, you can’t eat a whole pink elephant all at once!

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