How Do You Kill a Craving?


Active Member
3 Jun 2011
I'm the psychotherapist who discovered Therapeutic Psychogenics, an effective method to lose weight, when I solved my own 320 lb. weight problem over 25 years ago. I lost 140 lbs. for good after 25 years of obesity and failure with diets and exercise schemes. Now I teach others. Many clients have asked me "when did you stop having cravings and urges?" They think that because I have maintained my 140 lb. weight loss for 26 years, I must have found a way to eliminate the urges to eat.

Not so. What's happened is that my response to urges and cravings, one of the techniques I teach, has become habitual, second nature. Now it is my habit to think in ways that reduce and kill cravings and urges. It has become so ingrained to think and act in ways to stay successful that it's almost become easy. I'd say easy, but there is definitely a lot of work to be done to make success "easy", and there will always be work to stay successful. However, like a job with huge rewards, it's worth it. It's even become fun, like a game I play and win at every day.

First, understand that for this method to work, all the pieces of the puzzle must be in place. Like a car made of many parts, you need all the parts in place for it to work. Leave out pieces like a wheel or a battery, and you'll get nowhere. When you engage Therapeutic Psychogenics, you'll have put many important pieces in place before you would use the technique I'm going to describe. By itself, this technique has only a fraction of the power it has as a part of the whole. By itself, it will not cause you to lose weight. It will help, but there are other things you must be doing.

For example, I have a "safe house" with none of the addictive snack or trigger foods that would call my name. Also, I have an effective plan every morning of what to eat that day, and a routine that I have thought about in the morning that accommodates my need for a satisfying eating experience, that provides pleasurable eating at my most vulnerable times. These are some of the techniques that are in place, that have become habitual, just the way that I live today.

Now, when an urge pops up, I talk to myself, out loud if I'm alone, or in my head if I'm with people. I'll say "Stop! that's not in the plan. That would be overeating. It would cause tight clothes and reflux that I hate. I don't want that. I'm fasting until the omelette (or whatever your next meal is). I'm fasting, burning fat and losing weight, my clothes getting looser, moving toward my goal weight. If I give in to the urge, I'll miss out on the good things that are happening. I'm going to hold off and keep burning fat."

This "self-talk" is actually an application of several very sophisticated cognitive, cybernetic and self-hypnotic psychotherapeutic techniques. It seems childishly simple, but it's actually state-of-the-art psychotherapy.

Every time I beat an urge, I congratulate myself. I realize that in the old days, I'd already have eaten the thing by the time I realize I passed on it. If I had let myself think about eating it for even a moment, instead of saying "Stop...", I would have added another glob of fat to my stores, and have made things worse. So, I'm very happy that I beat the urge, that I'm still burning fat, and I dream about continuing to lose weight and enjoying all the things that the weight loss will bring, like looser clothes, being more active, being happier, etc.

This entire pattern of thinking and acting is a very carefully constructed pattern of behavior that kills cravings and creates motivation and drive to behave in ways that causes success. It may seem like child's play, but it is actually time-tested powerful psychotherapy.

I also use "covert sensitization", an aversive technique related to the self-talk where I associate the overeating with the negative properties of tight clothes, reflux or stretch marks, etc. If I was tempted by a Big Mac for instance, instead of linking it with kids having fun, I'll remember the workers in the back of the place spitting and piling snot on the burgers before they put the bun on top. Associating something negative or disgusting can kill the craving just enough to get by it and continue on your path to loose clothes and the next healthy meal you've planned on. And that's all you need to succeed, success right now. It can become a habit, and when it does, your success is permanent.

You may need to do it again in five minutes, but the more you do it, the more it becomes your habitual way of thinking and acting, and with the rest of the pieces of the method in place, it's even fun, much more enjoyable that the old way. The food tastes better, no guilt, you feel better about yourself, and you enjoy all the benefits of success that you've been dreaming about.

By William A. Anderson
About the Author
William Anderson, MA, LMHC, is a licensed psychotherapist residing in Sarasota, Florida, specializing in weight control. He is the author of the revolutionary new weight loss self-help book, The Anderson Method (Two Harbors Press, 2009, $14.95), and he is training a growing network of licensed therapists in his successful weight loss program. Anderson developed his approach when, as a behavior therapist, he permanently lost 140 pounds over 20 years ago after 25 years of diet and exercise failure. More information can be obtained at]
Article Source: How Do You Kill a Craving?
7 Nov 2011
"Also, I have an effective plan every morning of what to eat that day"

Good to ponder. I did this before and it really works. But due to my busy schedule, my commitment to jot down all the necessary menu for the day was lost. My work eats most of my time that I hardly peek inside the fridge and ask our helper what she's going to cook for tomorrow. If you are committed to what have you started, it will really work.


New Member
8 Nov 2011
I think this is a sound plan. There really is no magic pill for losing weight except to stop giving in to urges. All the plans and routines will be doomed to fail if you rely on them alone.

Congrats on your weight maintenance and I must say my own success was largely due to some of what you mentioned.

"I'll remember the workers in the back of the place spitting and piling snot on the burgers before they put the bun on top". haha thats disgusting, those nasty back room workers!


14 Nov 2011
Johor Bahru
I've heard people say that to end a temptation is to give in to it. But I guess this is not a good way to think if one wants to lose weight. Losing weight does take a lot of discipline and abstinence. Like you say, it has to become a habit to abstain from foods that can cause weight gain and so one has to need to continue to fight the temptation.


3 Nov 2011
Setting a goal and self discipline really matter to kill craving for unhealthy foods and also to avoid over eating. And it could be a habit in a long run so the effort needed to maintain such kind of good diet will become lesser and lesser.


New Member
29 Nov 2011
This sounds like pretty straight forward cognitive behavioral techniques that are used by therapists to address a number of different ways of "ineffective" coping. It's no surprise that this would be effective for eating, given that eating is so closely tied to emotions. Behind this method is a kind of "fake it til you make it" mentality, focused on addressing challenges in how you think, behave and subsequently affect. Thank you for sharing this interesting expert.


New Member
29 Nov 2011
This is very good and sound advice for not giving in. It is a matter of exercising will power and self control. I like that part of the steps is to congratulate yourself for not giving into the craving.


2 Nov 2011
Thank you for this, it is really spot on. I remember reading in a health journal that a food craving is actually your body communicating one of two things to you. Either that you need more water (as you are dehydrated) or you need oxygen as you are not breathing deeply enough. That really simplified matters for me, so as soon as I get an urge for chocolate for example...I reach for my water bottle first or do some breathing meditation. Depending on the time of the month - I simply grab a piece of chocolate. haha. Just a block or two more than that.:cool: