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Mindful Meditation to Curb Chocolate Cravings

In a new study, researchers set out to better understand how being mindful may decrease cravings for chocolate, and using three simple mind exercises, participants of the study were able to lessen their cravings, Medical Daily reported.

“There is now good evidence that mindfulness strategies generally work at managing food cravings, but we don’t yet know what aspect of mindfulness and what mechanisms are responsible for these effects,” Julien Lacaille, a psychologist at McGill University in Quebec said in the report. “This is what motivated this research.”

In the study, researchers reviewed 196 participants – all who were prone to intense chocolate cravings – and split them up into five groups: four were trained in mindfulness training to fend off chocolate cravings, and the last group was told to “distract themselves” to prevent food cravings.

Those who received mindfulness training were told to exercise three different actions when they received a chocolate craving: awareness, or the ability to notice the thought or craving; acceptance, or not judging the thought; and dis-identification, or detaching yourself from the craving by seeing such thoughts as separate from yourself. After two weeks, the participants were given a chocolate bar to unwrap and touch for one minute, and then rated their level of craving.

The researchers found those trained in mindful thinking craved the chocolate much less, “because they now perceived it as generally less desirable,” Lacaille said. And it was the third exercise, dis-identification or detachment from thought, which was the most successful.

“Something we can all take away from this study is that we are not our thoughts and that we can take control over our thoughts in a relatively short period,” Patrick Williams, a postdoctoral researcher and psychologist at the University of Chicago, told Reuters.

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