Out Smart Your Cravings : The 10 Minute Rule

When cravings hit, they usually come on suddenly, can be intensely powerful & driving all else from your mind. That is, until you’ve almost immediately gobbled up/ drank down the object of your desire.

When we succumb to this self sabotaging behaviour it can be incredibly frustrating and often we can feel helpless to change our habit.

But with a bit of knowledge, a few lifestyle hacks and some practice you can fend off these urges to overindulge.

First thing to understand is whats going on and why we struggle... This knowledge will help us give ourselves a little break from beating ourselves up over a lapse in willpower.

One reason we’re so susceptible to immediately gratifying our cravings is that our brain’s reward system did not evolve to respond to future rewards.


Back in the day of cavemen / women, food was scarce. If you spotted something edible but you couldn't be bothered to chase it down, well that meant death!

Which is why humans are still exceptionally responsive to the smell or sight of anything tasty!

When our modern selves contemplate immediate versus future rewards, the brain processes these two options very differently.

The immediate reward triggers the older, more primitive reward system and hormones get us salivating to satisfy that desire. The Future rewards don’t interest this reward system so much and thus we don’t even think about that weight loss goal.

So, how do we switch our thinking back to our future goal?

Would you believe me if I said it could just take 10 minutes to fix?

Sound too Simple?

Well of course there is a little more to it than that, so make sure you read on to understand the process. so, no skipping to the bottom line ;)

Next time you have a craving wait 10 minutes before you satisfy that urge.

Now.. Ten minutes might not seem like much time to wait for something you want, but neuroscientists have discovered that it makes a big difference in how the brain processes a reward.

When immediate gratification comes with a mandatory ten-minute delay, the brain treats it like a future reward.

That primitive side of us and it reward system is less activated, taking away the powerful biological impulse to choose immediate gratification.

When the brain compares a cookie you have to wait ten minutes for to a longer-term reward, like losing weight, it no longer shows the same lopsided bias toward the sooner reward.​​

It’s the “immediate” in immediate gratification that hijacks your brain and reverses your preferences.

For a cooler, wiser brain, institute a mandatory ten-minute wait for any temptation.

If, in ten minutes, you still want it, you can have it—but before the ten minutes are up, bring to mind the competing long-term reward that will come with resisting temptation.

If possible, create some physical & or visual) distance as well. ​​

It isn’t any more difficult to open a drawer than to reach across a desk, but if you can't see it will really reduced the temptation to give in.

On the below is quick visual guide to help you apply the process.

However; be careful not to confuse real cravings with just being “in the mood”. Even if that food is chocolate, pizza or a slice of cake.. If you fancy it because your a little hungry, you’ll be more than likely to be able to enjoy it without overly indulging.

To help you get clearer on cravings make sure you read Head hunger vs Brain Hunger at the end of the mindset training blog ...

Coach Paul |Teamworkout | Stafford

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