I haven’t met a person yet that’s immune to cravings.
Certain times of my life, I’ve experienced an increase in the frequency and urgency of these pesky buggers. I was even discussing them with some friends at dinner last night. I remember when I was pregnant with my sweet little girl.
As a primarily plant-based eater, my pregnancy cravings were so intense! I was desiring carb-heavy foods my first trimester, lots of protein (and animal protein!) my second, and all things fatty my third. I felt like I knew what I wanted to eat prior to the pregnancy, but this baby was driving me to eat things I didn’t really even desire having read quite a bit about the state of the food industry.
On top of that, the emotional roller coaster of a couple going through such a big season of change can make the reasons behind desiring particular foods pretty murky. I’m just telling it like it was; my husband and I had a ton of arguments during that season. Can you relate?
What about this scenario?
You’re in a tough spot. The work day was unspeakably stressful, dinner’s burned, the house is a mess, and your family is driving you nuts! What a perfect storm! As your nutrition coach, I’m gonna tell ya, it’s okay to eat that chocolate cake you’ve been craving. Say what, Melissa?
That’s right, it’s okay to eat the cake. I’m going to give you some tools today to make even chocolate cake part of your healthy eating plan.
That huge pull to something sweet or something salty could be a craving from your emotional state, or it could be your intuition guiding you to eat something to bring your body into a healthier state. The chocolate luring you could be the way your body is telling you you’re low in magnesium for example.
So, how can we tell the difference? Mindful Eating to the rescue!
I view intuition as a sensation you feel in your body driven by your physical needs. The tricky spot is that cravings are also felt in the body, but the difference is they are driven by your emotions. Instead of trying to ignore the sensations or mindlessly eating until it goes away, we can move forward on our health journey by tuning into them with our full attention.
It takes a few minutes to work this process, but each time it will become easier, and soon you’ll be able to embrace the freedom to enjoy the foods you desire while creating a body in top health.
The next time a particular food starts whispering sweet nothings in your brain, try these 7 steps to determine if you’re experiencing a craving or eating intuitively:
Make note of the sensations in your body.
- Where do these feelings of craving reside in your body?
- How does your stomach feel, your head?
- Where else do you notice sensations in your body?
Then, drink a glass of water, at least 8 ounces.
Set a timer for 10 minutes.
Do something that brings you J-O-Y for all 10 minutes.
- Engage in an activity that brings out the deep-belly-laugh, time-flies-by-without-notice kind of joy for you.
- It’s a great idea to make a list of these types of things ahead of time.
When the timer goes off, tune into how your body feels.
- Did the sensation change or is it the same?
- When it’s true hunger, you’ll notice the feeling grow after this pause.
- When it is an emotionally connected craving, you may see no change or see it dissipate as you engage in activities that satisfy your emotional needss.
If you feel the strong desire to eat that food, then do it!
- Enjoy the desired food with all of your senses fully engaged & exploring.
After you indulge, notice how you feel.
- Do you feel satisfied and energized or desiring something else?
- Make a mental note of the time, and see how long it is until you are hungry again.
The answers to the questions in this process will help you tune into the meaning behind your feelings with food. Instead of labeling cravings as “bad,” try welcoming them as kind teachers. They are there to tell you that there is something you would benefit from sorting out.
Sending my best wishes for you to develop this knowing. While you’re on the journey, please post in the group for feedback and celebration- we’re here for you!
Comment below and let me know…
What cravings do you commonly experience? Have you noticed a pattern around them?