We all have cravings, whether it's for chocolate or potato chips or some other kind of food. Some people crave a sweet right after dinner; others crave a pick me up snack around 3pm. Cravings are not bad, they're simply an indication that you're not getting the nourishment your body is seeking, which may not have anything to do with food at all. Cravings are a way for us to tune inward and explore deeper.
Our body is smart, and it tell us all the time what we need and don't. When you're thirsty, it's letting you know that it needs water (not coffee or soda, sorry!). In fact, most cravings are linked to dehydration or overhydration. Have you ever noticed that salted pretzels/nuts/snacks are served along with drinks at a bar? This is a perfect example of creating an imbalance by overconsuming salty foods so that you crave more drinks. Cravings can be signaling that your body may be lacking some vital nutrients (e.g., craving a nourishing soup when you're not feeling well). Also, they can be a sign of hormonal imbalance. For women during premenstrual phase, chocolate is the most craved food and it's no surprise because chocolate contains magnesium and iron which are needed in larger amounts during this cycle phase. Fair warning - this is not an excuse to eat an entire box of chocolates, but rather to help you understand that there is a reason for craving it. So let's dive in and discuss some empowering ways that you can try to nix food cravings.
3 simple steps to help you for nix food cravings:
Ask, what is my body trying to communicate?
Explore the root cause with curiously, not judgment?
Act from a place of empowerment.
Let's deconstruct these, one by one.
Listen to what your body is trying to communicate. When a craving arises, simply tune in and pause, then acknowledge the craving and give it some space. I often say to my clients, when we open a fridge looking for 'something', we are likely looking for a something not related to food at all. We may be craving a hug, or someone to talk to, we may not be looking for that piece of cake after all, but instead we may actually be looking for human contact after a long day. Cravings sometimes have nothing to do with food. We tend to stress eat, or when we're bored. However, ignoring cravings can make them stronger or come back with a vengeance. When you make foods that you crave forbidden or label them as 'bad' vs 'good', it makes it harder to resist when you find yourself around those types of food. Choosing to fulfil a craving by eating a small bag of chips, may actually be a more productive way to deal it than trying to ignore it and binge eat an entire family size bag of chips later. It seems simple, but it works; try it!
Explore the root cause with curiosity, not judgment. Be curious, ask how come this craving always occurs after a meal, or in the late afternoon? Could there be any association with a particular emotion or physical feeling, like fatigue, stress, loneliness, or boredom? Is this craving for sweet or salty food? Food industry has perfected the science of the perfect combination of sugar, salt and fat that makes processed food irresistible. These foods tend to be higher in calories and fat, but lower in protein, fiber and vital nutrients. These foods don't nurture your body, because their nutritional value is low to null. Eating a candy bar, may give you a burst of energy for a moment, but you know that it's shortly followed by it's tag-along best friend, aka energy crash. Once you identify the root cause, it's easier to notice when and how it presents itself, these patterns are then easier to break.
Act from a place of empowerment. Use cravings like a barometer to assess if things are out of balance,. Ask yourself, will certain food ease that craving or is there a different form of nourishment your body is seeking? Will food solve this problem? Is this craving guiding me toward a food that supports my health and nourishes my body? Making that distinction can be really empowering. Exercise sovereignty over our body, treat your body with respect and trust your intuition.
Everything in your body is connected, a craving is a signal from your body, give it attention. Pause, listen intently, and explore with compassion what it needs. This is an empowering way to nix food cravings. Ultimately, if you choose to move forward by fulfilling a particular food craving or by exploring another way to nourish your body like; going for a walk, stretching after sitting for hours at your desk, or calling a friend, remember to choose what serves your best.
If you stress-eat or feel powerless when food cravings attack, then let's team up. As your health coach, I will be a guide and mentor who will empower you to nix food cravings, provide ongoing support and guidance to make sustainable changes that improve your health and transform your life forever. Give the gift of health to yourself today.
"I don't eat guilt" Byron Katie