Why We Need To Listen To Our Food Cravings
CATEGORIES: Nutrition Weight Loss
I wrote this blog post to you surrounded by biscuit wrappers. Not even real biscuits, cookie covered mini chocolate things that I have eaten four of.
Not what you would expect from a health coach, from an advocate of smoothies, exercise, juice cleanse, detox’s, healing diets, herbs and more?
Were these healthy cookies? No not remotely, I read the ingredient fully aware that they were filled with the things I mostly avoid like the plague – gluten, sugar and crazy additives that I can not spell or pronounce.
And it in this setting that I feel is the perfect time to talk to you about why you need to listen to your cravings and why listening to your body is the bomb when is comes to health.
I spend a lots of time talking about this whole area with all my Flourishee’s as it is such a key aspect of shifting our mindset and getting great results. In the eCourse I focus a lot on mindset because it truly is the key to physical results one client told me in just four weeks that:
‘ I added up my weight loss total from four weeks ago and it’s 30cm and 3kg!!’
BOOM- and healthy is really not about number or size but weight loss does happen when you get flourishing and healthy 😉
We spend most of our time judging, ignoring, berating or punishing ourselves because of our food cravings. But what if I were to tell you to listen to your cravings?
You see cravings are our bodies way of communicating with us, its our bodies way of telling us what it needs and it really important that we meet our bodies, souls and spirits needs.
Cravings for wine might be your body’s way of telling you that you need to de-stress and relax, sugar cravings may be your body’s way of telling you that you are run down and in need of more sleep. Cravings for meatballs or burgers may be your body’s way of telling you that you need some essential amino acids or more iron in your diet.
But what are they telling us, what information can we glean from our cravings? Basically your cravings will be your body’s way of telling you that one of the below needs to be addressed:
A Healing Need
If you have a damaged gut and have a pathogenic bacteria overgrowth then your body is going to be having some pretty strong cravings! Bad bacteria in the gut lives of sugar so it will cause you to crave sweet carb filled things like nothing else and the only way to address this is to spend some time focusing on healing the gut and getting rid of the bad bacteria in the gut.
An Emotional Need
If you are reaching for the chocolate cupboard every night or for the wine as soon as you get home chances are there could be an emotional need that is not being met. Whether that is connection, love, comfort or feeling understood – we often jump to food or drink to instantly drown out or numb these needs. Food can be a great comforter and joy but it can not be our only weapon and it is NOT an effective way to deal with emotions, so we need to learn what are the emotional needs that underly our cravings.
A Nutritional Need
This one is pretty simple thanks to our own bodies sheer geniusness (pretty sure that is a made up word!) But if our bodies are lacking in a certain vitamin, mineral or amino acid then chances our we will crave it. Whether that be a steak (iron or amino acid), banana (potassium), chocolate (magnesium) or some ale (iron) then it could be your body telling you it needs something. Just ask anyone you know who is pregnant!
A Physical Need
You may just always snack in the afternoon at your office, even though you are not hungry, because your actually bored stiff . Or maybe you have a glass of wine at night to help you sleep but what you really need is to getting sweaty in the day so that you body is physically tired. Maybe you get fidgety and frustrated in the evening so you pick at food when actually you just need a creative outlet. Sometimes we will crave sweets or certain foods because what we are really craving is adventure, exercise, movement, a hug or some fresh air.
Now most of our cravings will often be a mix of all the above. But what about me, surrounded by mini chocolate wrappers sitting on a train?
Well over the years I have learned to tune into what my body is saying to me so that I can make powerful choices not crazy reactions in my food choices. So as I wrote this on a train after an intense few days, seated in first class and with some time to myself (which I LOVE) and I craved chocolate – the crap stuff.
Now I had eaten dinner (prawn salad) and knew I didn’t need chocolate but I took a few second to unpick what I was really craving. I was craving sugar, but more than that I was craving rebellion and permission to be and feel what I feel. I wanted to feel normal and treat myself and I wanted to make use of my first class perks (seriously first class rail travel is the way forward due to unlimited snacks and I got it at the same prices as standard class!!) plus I had a bad case of PMS.
So once I had figured out what I was really craving I had a choice. I could eat chocolate or I could not. Both outcomes are ok I just simply had to choose one. Now to put it in context I eat super cleanly 95% of the time and rarely crave crappy junk food so pretty much never indulge in it. So I figured my body needed a bit of happy and healthy rebellion so I chose the chocolate and in fact some crisps too. Wild I know, and you know what I loved every mouthful.
Now this is all about trail and error too. Yes I did enjoy my treats and was glad to indulged in the above but would I do it again? Probably not anytime soon as I am still bloated from the small amount of gluten in it BUT I did learn some useful stuff which means I can keep on moving forward in my health and healing journey.
Our cravings show us what we need, what is missing in our lives. For me this craving showed me that ever so often I need to give myself a little break and eat a bit of normal crap food now and again (and probably eat bigger dinners!) Cravings are useful information we NEED to listen to so that we can get healthier with each passing day
Now I am not saying that you should to eat chocolate every time you fancy it, not at all, but what I am saying is that we need to give ourselves permission to feel what we feel and LISTEN to what need is behind the craving.
Quit the judging, the berating, and punishing of ourselves – we are free to eat what we choose but the more we learn about and meet our actual needs then more we will make powerful and wise choices. I hardly ever eat junk food now because most of the time I genuinely don’t crave it but on those odd occasions that I do then why the heck not if I am aware and connected to why I am doing it. If we ignore or push down our natural desires then we will eventually explode and binge.
So give yourself permission to crave and learn to listen to what your body needs.
Our bodies are wise, kind and clever so give them some credit and set yourself up to make powerful, guilt free choices! And make sure you sign up to my Flourish eCourse as it is going to be a lot of fun:)