Barbara Holtzman writes in her book of several different kinds of cravings (who knew?):
--associative cravings occur when we pair a food with a long-ago event. I'm sure this is why I crave things like ice cream and chocolate. I remember eating entire bags of Hershey miniatures in high school (very soothing) and ice cream was always a happy treat to us. G&G Simmons took us out for "cheap dates", Aunt Ann would take us for ice cream when she visited, our trips to the cemetary on Memorial Day were always accompanied by a stop at the store out in the country for an ice cream sandwich, and of course we always had ice cream on birthdays. Associative cravings can also arise from habit -- dessert after dinner, in my case. To change that habit, I should work toward something positive (i.e. substitution) rather than try not to do something. To transform a habit, I need intention, a plan, patience, and persistence.
I think associative cravings are a big thing with me. I am really having a hard time breaking my habit of eating dessert after dinner. I recently ordered some Alba 70 shakes from an online specialty store so that at least I have a low-cal, fairly healthy option to the ice cream the girls usually eat. But the best thing would be for me not to feel such a strong pull to eat it. I'm truly no longer physically hungry and have no need to eat anything else. Yet it's practically irresistable to me. I really need to just "lean into" the feelings, as Tina says, and go on with life!
--dispersive cravings are driven by emotions, such as craving sweets when we're lacking sweets in our lives. Paying attention to my feelings will make it easier to recognize what I really need. Craving carbs frequently may be helped by eating protein with the carbs. Hmm.