“Cravings” seems like such a dirty word, doesn’t it?
I used to think that, too. Cravings were bad. You wanted to stop them. We shouldn’t have them. We often talk about cravings in a way that makes you feel guilty about having them, don’t we?
Now, I’m starting to see them from the other side.
I use my cravings now to teach me things. They can give you some damn good insight, into what’s happening in our bodies and, bigger picture, in our lives.
When I used to eat a ton of bread, grains, and processed convenience foods my cravings were through the freakin’ roof. I was always hungry. Always craving sugar or starches. Seriously, the thought of food consumed WAY too much of my life.
If I had a full day of training clients, I’d be panicked thinking about when I was going to be able to eat next. Would I be able to wait the 3 or 4 hours until my next meal? Oftentimes, I felt like I wouldn’t!
I’d be starrrrrrrving, exhausted, stomach growling. What usually happens at this point? Yep, you eat everything and anything you can get your hands on. That happened more than a few times…slow learner 😉
Eventually, I started really noticing and bringing more awareness to these cravings. Because, quite honestly, I just sick and tired of thinking about food so often. I didn’t want to worry about when my next meal was coming or if I had packed enough food for the day.
Do you feel like this sometimes?
This is an example of where I think you really need to FEEL your cravings and get to know them. Not just make them disappear as fast as possible.
Can you start to notice when you’re feeling intense cravings that you just can’t get ahold of? Maybe you didn’t sleep well last night and you’re feeling extra hungry today? What about if you didn’t get enough protein and fat in during lunch time and come 3pm you’re ready to eat the whole vending machine? Or, how about if you had a mentally tough day, missed your workout, it’s 9pm, and the chip bag can never be deep enough? 🙂
Been there. These situations can make you feel a bit out of control, can’t they? Guess what, though? You are ALWAYS, always, always in control. I’m not saying this in a “you should feel guilty if you ate three chocolate bars” kind of way. Never.
I’m saying this to empower you in those moments where it feels like there’s no other option than to eat a salty, followed by a sweet, and repeat. Feel the feeling. Acknowledge it, first. What can you do to gain control back of the situation?
In my situation, I needed to balance my blood sugar, STAT. This started by reducing my servings of starchy carbohydrates and focusing on eating more protein and fat. In my amazement, I could go for much longer stretches without even thinking about food. I was full for hours!
The biggest bonus that I noticed from eating more protein and fat, was that come next meal time when I was hungry I was able to keep it together, mentally and emotionally. Now, I rarely ever get to the point where I NEED TO EAT NOW.
But, wait. Are cravings just for less nutritious (junkier) foods, though? NO! This was a major mindset shift, too.
I started to reframe what it meant to crave foods. I found that when I was in those moments of craving bread, cake, ice cream…I needed to figure out what I actually NEEDED or this was never going to stop. The more I practiced this, the more I craved foods that were of higher nutritional value.
I wrote on my Facebook page a couple days ago that lately I had been craving: pizza, shakes packed with produce, dark chocolate, chin-ups, walks, and burgers.
And, that’s all ok. I’m not judging any of that. They’re just things I wanted (and had).
Today, I want you to just start noticing what your body is craving. Is it craving more strenuous exercise? Is it craving rest? Is it craving baked goods? Is it craving your fave salad?
Above all, respond to the cravings in a way that makes you feel amazing. What is going to make you feel best? That’s what you’ll do 🙂