Cravings and Health Coaching

We all get cravings every once in a while, right? Well, according to a research spotlight from the NIH, “cravings are known to contribute to addiction and obesity-related health outcomes”. This study shows that when we have cravings, it is something separate from hunger. The two are different and distinct feelings.

This research shows how cravings can be manipulative and place more value on the items you are craving in your mind. Results from this research demonstrated a correlation between the cravings we have and the amount we are willing to pay in order to fulfill them. People are more willing  to pay more after exposure to an item, and after recalling memories of that item. Another interesting finding from this research discovered that people were willing to pay more for higher calories and for higher sugar/fat content.

How does this affect health coaching?  Awareness of this information could help coaches with empathy and positive regard. Let’s remember that people have a tendency to give external reasons to why they don’t make a behavior change, but give internal reasons to why others don’t make a behavior change.  Reading research like this about food cravings help us to remember there are many external forces that could be working against our client. Although our client may have a lot on his or her plate, we need to understand their feelings and where they are coming from, as well as support them no matter what they say or do.

Cravings are just one more obstacle in attempting to prevent addiction and obesity-related health outcomes. There are many more external factors that may be contributing to a client’s ability or focus towards a specified goal.

To read the research spotlight or other spotlights from the NIH, please go to the link provided here.