OVERCOME YOUR CRAVINGS BY HEALING THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FOOD ONY OUR PLATE
Our relationship with food is often skewed. We live in a world where portion sizes are way too big, we are urged to eat more often than we actually need to, our parents use food (most often sugar) as a reward system, and we learn to use food as a coping mechanism and to numb ourselves, versus to connect with our bodies and nourish ourselves.
The programs I teach are about more than just the food on your plate. They are about establishing a healthy relationship with food – and that means having a healthy relationship with yourself. The food on your plate is often a reflection of your relationship with yourself, or some aspect of yourself.
WHEN YOU TRY AND QUIT SOMETHING LIKE SUGAR, YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE CRAVINGS. THIS IS A PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF, AND THE FOOD ON YOUR PLATE!
I want to encourage you to take these opportunities and begin practicing being an observer as a mechanism to benefit from your cravings and develop more self-awareness around the “why”. By just simply identifying them and giving a name to the root causes of your cravings, they begin to break down. You can then use this awareness of your why. Having this knowledge empowers you. You can use it to practice more self-love and compassion for yourself. You can begin to nourish yourself with more than just the food on your plate.
I spend just as much time with clients doing this kind of work as I do educating them about which foods they should eat. The “why” is an integral piece of Holistic Nutrition. If we don’t work through this kind of stuff, the cravings will continue to pop-up, or will return even after having a great diet for some time.
WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE A CRAVING, ASK YOURSELF THE FOLLOWING…
I like to use the HALT acronym to check-in with myself when I am having a craving:
Am I Hungry? Am I emotionally or physically hungry? Do I feel hungry because I haven’t drank enough water today?
Am I Angry? Am I sad? What am I feeling right now? How is my emotional charge affecting my desire to eat something right now?
Am I Lonely? Do I feel a sense of longing for connection that I am getting mixed up with hunger? Is there someone I could reach out to? I wonder if I called someone and nourished myself in that way, if I would have the same feelings of hunger after I made the connection?
Am I Tired? Did I get enough sleep? Am I confusing a need to sleep with a need to eat?
When you can tap into a place of knowing why you’re having the craving, you become conscious of your otherwise unconscious thoughts – and this is the first step to begin breaking them down.
Too often we eat in an unconscious state. When we do this we are not getting all of the amazing benefits of the foods we are eating. Also, eating unconsciously can lead to some seriously poor food choices. I want you to be getting the full nourishing benefits of your food – especially when you are working hard to change your dietary habits. It’s time to start making the connection between the food on your plate, the state you are in when you eat, and how that reflects your relationship with yourself.
AVOID BEING FULL, YET EMPTY
Often times, the things we’re eating are super physically addictive, like sugar and refined carbohydrates. It’s not just our emotional state that causes us to binge – it’s the chemical reactions caused by the foods you’re eating that can make you eat uncontrollably.
Refined sugar + hydrogenated fat + extra salty is an irresistible combination that the processed & fast food industry is exploiting. This combination of toxins act as opiates in the body and are downright addicting. These foods – sugar in particular – light up the dopamine receptors in our brain, causing a “drip” of happy chemicals.
This cascade of dopamine sends a re-enforcing message to our brains that we want more. The dopamine signaling pleases the brain and our chemical makeup, and we feel simply lovely… for about an hour. But when our blood sugar plummets, we’re left seeking more of the deadly combo. Then we eat more, and what happens then? We feel guilty! We run through an incredible story-line in our heads about how we shouldn’t be doing this. We tell ourselves nasty thoughts, and we strengthen the self-remorse in our thought-patterns.
Then, because we have given more energy to telling ourselves we suck, this only makes us feel worse, which leads to craving something that’s going to make us feel better. And you can probably guess what that is… More dopamine. More sugar. It’s a crazy rollercoaster ride that many of us experience daily.
And if that’s all we’re eating – disguised concoctions of refined sugar, salt, and hydrogenated fats – then we’re truly starved of nutrients. If we aren’t feeding our body the nutrients it build tissue, detoxify, make new hormones and neurotransmitters, etc., your body will likely keep sending out the cry for help in the form of food cravings until you actually feed it something nourishing – like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, or high quality, unprocessed protein.
HENCE BEING PHYSICALLY FULL, YET STARVING AND EMPTY ON A CELLULAR LEVEL.
And sometimes we do eat a truly nourishing meal, and immediately after we eat, we eat again. And again. Even though there’s no way we’re still physically hungry we keep eating. This is called being emotionally hungry. We can easily trick ourselves into thinking we need the chocolate cake, a bowl of ice cream, or a pastry from the local café, when what we really need is a hug, a good cry, or a walk to make us feel emotionally full.
It’s time to take inventory – What gives you joy? Passion? Creativity? Inspiration?
Begin to do more of these things and see if they replace the cravings for the chocolate cake!
Do you need more fulfillment in your career, or your home life? Do some journaling around this. This is the part of self-exploration and finding your “why”. The next step after beginning to identify some of the “nutrients” you are missing, and which ones you are actually craving, is to start proactively getting your needs fulfilled.
Grab a pencil and draw something beautiful. Feed your inner light with some outdoor play, a giant hug, some passionate love making. Laugh, dance, and enjoy life Retrain your brain to crave these things instead of reaching for the unhealthy foods all the time.
MAKE EATING A MEDITATION
Maybe you eat nourishing food, and you’re also spiritually satisfied. It may be that you truly don’t have any emotional hunger in your belly. And yet, you continue to eat more than your fill. This is called eating mindlessly.
I’m a food lover. I’m addicted to experimenting in the kitchen & sampling everything I create. And if I like something a whole lot? I’ll eat and eat, until there’s nothing left.
When I practice mindfulness in the kitchen, I definitely end up taking a LOT fewer bites. When you sit down at your plate (which is the first step, by the way, no standing meals or munching on the go), take a long breath in, and exhale for even longer.
Notice how the food smells, and appreciate every aroma. Our bodies are very wise. When we smell what we’re about to eat, our stomachs produce exactly the right type of acids and enzymes to break it down.
Dip your fingers in your food. Eat with your hands. Feel the temperature, texture, and consistency. Get in touch with it and create a relationship with the foods that go in your body. And when you finally take a bite, do so with every bit of mindfulness that you have.
Be there with your food, and nothing else. Feel it nourishing you, sustaining you. As you eat, notice yourself becoming full, and when your body no longer wants food, stop. Save the rest, or give it to a loved one. Smile, for food is something to be celebrated and enjoyed – not rushed and exploited.
DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH CRAVINGS? CONTACT ME TO SCHEDULE A FREE 30-MINUTE CONSULTATION AND EMPOWER YOURSELF TO OVERCOME YOUR CRAVINGS. IT’S TIME TO STRAT LIVING THE LIFE OF FREEDOM AND SELF-LOVE.