Q: “How do I fight cravings?”


A: Cravings can serve a purpose. Oh, and don’t fight.

Food cravings may indicate that your body is lacking specific nutrients. Or it may mean that your body wants to be comforted. Let’s go into how intuitive eating can guide you through cravings.


A craving for particular foods may be your body telling you what it needs. Craving chocolate around your menstrual cycle? Maybe you need Magnesium. Craving meat? Maybe you’re iron deficient. Craving sugar? Maybe you need an energy boost. By paying attention to what types of food your body is begging for, you will learn to establish a stronger communication with your body – which is key in intuitive eating!

But know that there are other reasons that you have cravings.


It’s highly likely that you are going through stress or anxiety. It’s absolutely normal for you to be experiencing a myriad of emotions and even ups and downs especially during this strange time of the pandemic. Of course, this is applicable in a more “normal” time as well.


We modern day humans are not accustomed to dealing with emotions. We have lots of distractions that can keep us numb – tv, social media, and food!


As an Intuitive Eating Coach, I advise against fighting off the cravings, or in other terms using discipline to restrict food. Think about the last time you tried to stay away from a cookie that you really wanted. What happened? I’m going to guess that your thoughts about having the cookie grew louder and louder. And maybe you ended up eating several cookies. Fighting off a craving is not the solution in intuitive eating.

So what should you do?


It is completely natural for you to want to veg out with a bowl of ice cream and pizza when you had a bad day. If you end up partaking in a pity feast, don’t beat yourself over it. Eating is a coping mechanism. But you might also be craving sweets or fries on the regular. Learning to manage stresses in your life will change the way you eat.


So let’s talk about stress. You may not even recognize the stress that you’re undergoing. Stress shows up in different ways. Maybe you’re avoiding work or a task at hand. Maybe your schedule or physical space is disorganized. Maybe you’re uncomfortable. Maybe your actions are not aligned with your purpose. Stress can come from feeling lonely and isolated. Stress comes from lack of sufficient boundaries.

Identify what stressors you have in your life right now.


Instead of fighting the endless fight, take a step back and learn how to manage your stress. The first simple step I advise is to pause and assess your situation. By pausing before you bee line to the kitchen, you allow yourself space to recognize your thoughts and feelings. You can learn to respond to the craving rather than being consumed.


In summary, cravings aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They show up because either your body needs the food or you’re stressed in one way or another. Intuitive eating is a holistic method that allows you to listen to your body instead of external sources on how and what to eat.


I help conscious women (and men!) heal their relationship with food and body through my Intuitive Eating Program in 90 days.


Eat with me on Monday mornings 10am PST Mindful Eating Meditation at @jupiter_soundscape through May 18th


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This past week has been a whirlwind for all of us, to say the least. Many of us are staying home to help prevent the spread of this pandemic. It's something we've never experienced in the past -- the extent of self quarantine, financial uncertainty, and just being stuck at home. I'm sure you are experiencing strong emotions and your eating may be affected.

Increased incidences of stress/emotional eating.

We have more food than ever stocked up in the home.

You're tempted by food that's available only steps away.


I'm offering 3 tips today on how to manage Emotional Eating. This is a perfect opportunity to practice Intuitive Eating.


ONE.

If you are working from home, you may find it more difficult to find work-life balance. Creating a schedule and routine is the first step. If your work and personal life is a blur, you probably procrastinate, snack more, and feel anxious. I know how that is from personal experience.


Set your work hours, change into real clothes, have clear meal times (not eating at your desk while you check your email), and go to bed on time. Just doing this can drastically help you.


Yes, intuitive eating is not just about your meals. It's how you live your day to day.


TWO.

Take pauses. If you catch yourself with lots of feels, or heading for the pantry for yet another snack, take this opportunity to practice managing your emotions. When you are experiencing emotions that are uncomfortable, you're likely going to want to fill the void or distract your feelings.


Sound familiar? So the next time you notice that you're uncomfortable....PAUSE.


Check in with yourself and acknowledge what feelings you're feeling. It's OK if you're not able to pinpoint exactly or know what's causing it. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable.


Then ask yourself, am I actually hungry? Why am I reaching for a snack? If you find that you are indeed hungry, then go for it. But if you're just looking for a way to mask your emotions, let's take a step back. Close your eyes and breathe. Release your emotions. Even if you end up eating after a few minutes, you've taken time to communicate with your body. You may also need to simply reset. Take a walk, get a breath of fresh air, do something else - something small like washing dishes or tidying your desk. You can also try a short meditation. I offer a free 5 minute meditation on managing emotions - if you sign up for my newsletter you will receive it in your inbox!


THREE.

Prepare a nice meal for yourself. This is a great way to practice self-care, creativity, and mindfulness. When you're home all day, having a nice meal is a real treat. Use the ingredients that you have and find a recipe that looks inviting. Make this a mindful experience. Having a satisfying meal is crucial to intuitive eating!


Self-care is not just about staying physically healthy but also taking care of your emotional needs. In times like this, it is especially important to practice mindfulness.


Join my Intuitive Eating Support Group at www.facebook.com/groups/mayukookai for further tips, support, and inspiration!


Are you done spending a lot of time, energy, and money on countless diets without promising results? Do you feel like a failure for not being able to upkeep a diet or exercise regimen?


Perhaps you are tired of being on and off diets, fluctuating weights, and feeling bad about yourself and your body.


Before throwing your hands up and your health out the window (possibly for the twelfth time), consider INTUITIVE EATING. And no, this isn’t another diet. It’s quite the opposite of dieting.


If you’re someone who’s heard bits and pieces of Intuitive Eating, I’d like to for you to start with a clean slate. There’s lots of misinformation out there.


Intuitive Eating is a simple concept - the way we were meant to eat. How toddlers eat and maybe how our great grandparents ate, before diets were a thing. When diets became popular, people became obsessed with weight loss and in turn began to cultivate unhealthy relationships with food and diet. In intuitive eating, one listens to their body instead of the mind and external sources. Instead of “It’s 12pm so I should eat lunch” it could be “I feel hungry, so I’d like to have lunch.” Perhaps a more complex situation would be emotional eating. But that too can be managed through intuitive eating.


Intuitive Eating is about healing your relationship to both food and your body. You are essentially undoing diets, unlearning all of what you’ve picked up in your life on how you should eat and how you should look.

If you can focus on listening to your body, taking care of your physical and emotional needs, you are on your way to becoming an intuitive eater.



I'm Mayuko and I'm a Registered Dietitian and Yoga Teacher, specializing in Intuitive Eating. If you are looking for guidance as you transition from dieting to Intuitive Eating, click here to learn more.


Mini FAQ


Q. How do you lose weight if you just listen to what your body wants?


A. Actually, the focus is taken off weight loss and placed instead, on taking care of your health. When you communicate with your body, you may realize that your body wants different foods and in different amounts than what you are used to. Once you’ve gotten a hang of intuitive eating, your weight may normalize. And normal doesn’t mean any specific weight range for your height and age, but what is normal for your body at this stage in your life.


Q. I heard you can eat whatever you want in Intuitive Eating, is that true?


A. Ok let me explain. It’s true that there is no limit on what you can and cannot eat. However, you must be aware of what you’re eating and how it’s affecting your body. In this process you can eat the foods you love, if you practice mindful eating and manage your emotions. And it takes practice.


Q. How long does Intuitive Eating take?


A. This is a healing process that does not have any specific time frame except your own. It depends on each person and may be a few months or years. Just think about how much time and money you’ve spent on various diets.


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