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How To Overcome Emotional Food Cravings

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Researchers have sound a simple way to “hack” the brain to cut down on junk
food cravings, and all it takes is changing a single word you use.
An LA Times article mentioned simply changing the phrase “I can’t” (restrictive)
to “I don’t” (choice) improves dietary compliance and cuts cravings. See:
A reason for this is probably because we as human beings naturally sometimes
rebel against anything that will limit our freedom (called reactance in
But is there a way to make this language shift even more powerful?
I’ve found for myself there is. That’s by combining an empowering question
(which also works to override the reactance response) phrased as “would I
rather…” and then following it up with the phrase “I choose XYZ because…”
Let’s say someone is staring some delicious cookies in the face and they find
their willpower wavering. They could ask themselves:
“Would I rather eat these cookies, gain unwanted fat, and not reach my fitness
goals OR eat an apple and have a healthy and fit body feeling proud of myself?”
Then follow up with “I choose” and a reason why you’ll be happier with the
healthier choice.
“I choose to eat an apple because it will nourish my body, I’ll feel great about
myself, and I can’t wait to see how much more fit I look next week.”
If you want to learn more about the psychology behind this and other mind hacks
to overcome cravings, check out my book “How To Stick To A Diet” at

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