Why do we crave?


Dopamine is a chemical released by your brain that causes you to experience pleasure.  Every time you eat a favorite food or play a fun activity, your brain releases the chemical dopamine to create that pleasurable feeling you experience.

When you crave something, like pizza or candy, your body is actually craving the dopamine that is released when you eat these things. You're actually not craving the pizza or candy, but instead you are craving the feeling you get when you eat them.  That feeling is created by dopamine.

Try This Experiment

Close your eyes for 30 seconds and think of your favorite dessert.  Imagine eating that dessert slowly and how great it tastes.  Now, after 30 seconds open your eyes.

Did your mouth begin to water?  This feeling is called “craving” and you’ve probably experienced it many times before.  Craving is a powerful desire for something.

So why do we crave? Craving happens when your brain is tricked into thinking it’s about to get something pleasurable, like your favorite dessert.  When this happens, your brain releases a small amount of dopamine even before you take your first bite or taste. However, if you don't actually get the dessert, you begin to experience that uncomfortable craving feeling until the small amount of dopamine gets re-absorbed by the body.

How do we handle our cravings?

It's very important to understand that cravings are a natural part of living, and we need to be okay with these feelings. These feelings of craving can make us feel uncomfortable, anxious, cranky, or even upset. Cravings often last only a short period of time, so we need to exercise patience and self-control when we begin to experience these feelings.  Next time you begin to experience a craving, try closing your eyes and take three deep breathes. 

There are several awesome tricks you will learn during this challenge that will help you fight your cravings, but until then, try practicing patience and self-control. You can do this by taking deep breaths and thinking positive thoughts when you begin to experience your cravings. This practice will help you build stronger self control and willpower!