It’s been a hot second since I’ve written on here, and honestly I just haven’t had the inspiration. However, I recently started doing a weekly IGTV and thought it would be helpful to write out what I share here, just in case someone isn’t on Instagram or prefers to read.
This week, I polled my followers for questions about anything intuitive eating and gentle nutrition, and received some great, and deep questions. I’m breaking the questions up into 3 parts, and the first one answers the question, “How do you deal with cravings.” You can watch the video here.
Most people want to learn how to stop food cravings, since diet culture has deemed them as bad and something to be conquered. Essentially, it’s saying that your body is wrong for wanting something. The reality is that it’s near impossible to outrun a craving, because cravings are telling us something. We can’t just deny it. Our cravings are telling us that we need nourishment either with food or emotional nourishment. If we deny a craving, it will backfire on us, signalling to our body that we don’t trust it and making us want said craving even more.
I need to lay the groundwork that our bodies know what’s best for us, and they will tell us what they need. Sometimes that shows up as a craving. The journey of intuitive eating is learning to tune out diet culture and tune into what your body is telling you.
Again, cravings are not a sign of weakness, instead they’re our body telling us we need something. Cravings sometimes arise when we’re experiencing an intense and uncomfortable emotion. Let me be clear — it’s not wrong to eat to cope with an emotion, but there may be more useful tools than eating. For example, maybe you’re lonely every night when you come home from work and all you can think about is eating the entire pint of ice cream in the freezer. Maybe you do, but you still feel empty. In that case, a more helpful tool may be meeting up with a friend, calling a loved one, or getting a pet. Now, if you do decide eating something may help with your emotions, then give yourself permission to eat it because of the emotion because it may help you feel better. The key here is being mindful of why you’re eating it. I know for myself, sometimes after a hard week, the thought of snuggling on the couch with my hubby while eating some ice cream is just the thing I need. Emotional eating can be a very nuanced subject, so give yourself grace and really tune into what your body needs.
Cravings can also arise if you’re hungry. Our body wants and needs adequate fuel and when we don’t meet that need, it will look for the easiest source of energy. A lot of times I see this if you don’t eat enough at a meal or it wasn’t satisfying. If you find yourself craving gummy worms midday and you’re actually hungry, don’t deny yourself the gummy worms, but make sure to have something more substantial with it so you can fill that hunger. Never deny your hunger and make sure you are eating enough and eating satisfying foods.
Lastly, cravings often times show up when we mentally and physically put limits on certain foods. Have you ever decided you’re giving up chocolate and then all of a sudden that’s all your body wants? And then when you finally let yourself have it again you feel out-of-control. This is not lack of will-power. In fact it’s a biologically phenomenon that when we deny ourselves something it makes that thing more desirable and when we allow ourselves to have it, we can go overboard because we fear we won’t get it again. The first step in preventing this from happening is to make peace with all foods. Yes, you heard me right. This means taking away the good food/bad food mentality and seeing all foods as equal. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you eat all the foods all the time, but that there is no fear or mortality associated with specific foods.
By honoring your cravings, you are building trust with your body. When your body trust that you will respond to it’s cues, it will respond by giving you reliable cues. That’s great motivation to tune into our bodies and practice honoring its needs.
So instead of denying our cravings, let’s instead investigate and then honor them.
If you feel like you need some more support in this area, reach out! This is the work we do together in my 1:1 intuitive health coaching program.