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.
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