What foods do you crave? How often do you have cravings? Who are you with when you have a craving? When do the cravings rear their ugly head?
Cravings sometimes happen because we really are hungry! Cravings also happen even if we just ate, especially if our diets are low in fiber or we just don’t eat food that is satisfying. We also have cravings when we’re bored, angry, happy, and lack of sleep. How about the nagging desire for the ‘outcome’ of the craving; that ‘euphoric’ feeling you get from eating ice cream, peanut butter, mayonnaise or candy. The mystery of individual cravings can only be discovered when our awareness to the inner self is true and authentic. Stillness brings awareness. When we discover our eating behaviors are a little whacky and eating doesn’t go as planned, instead of feeling guilty, angry or upset, think back to the day and time the craving happened and ask yourself what led up to the ‘snack attack’. It’s enlightening and motivating when the discovery comes from within. This week, a client told me she was sabotaged by her own candy dish! She bought the candy for her card group to nosh on but when the players were gone, the dish of candy lured Loretta time and time again until she finally stopped, thought about her actions and used a bit of mental muscle to put the candy out of sight and then redirected herself to go outside and take some photos. The ‘in control’ feeling is quite motivating and inspiring; keep trying and say NO to sweatpants!!
When our body/mind is empty, the cravings are strong and can lead us to the nearest convenience store for a quick fix. If we’re tired on top of an empty tank, we act quickly without much thought. Look for nuts or seeds. These high fat, high fiber, salty foods are filling and satisfying enough until we land some REAL unprocessed food.
Healthy, wholesome, real food is not available at a gas station/convenience store, only processed foods with copious amounts of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats. Whole foods are non-processed like grains, greens, beans, and fats. Planning and packing food from home saves time, money and future co-pays.
Everyone responds differently to cravings and if you pay attention, you WILL figure it out! Sugar cravings without belly hunger can be an addiction. I have counseled clients who are wired to crave sugar. The sugar in processed foods is absorbed quickly, and we temporarily feel better and then we’re empty again, grazing around looking for more! Again, the only way to know yourself is to sit in stillness. Awareness to the mind/body alternating with the breath is a good place to begin.
How do we know the craving is physiological? True hunger is felt in the belly. Stop and scan the body. If you don’t feel anything in the belly, you may be thirsty. The thirst mechanism is faulty and some of us never get thirsty and have to remind ourselves to drink. Of course, water is the body’s preferred fluid. What if after the water, the craving for ‘something’ is still there…redirecting yourself until the wave of the craving has passed may take less than time than you think. A 10-20 minute walk is an excellent strategy until the crest of the craving has passed. A simple 10 minute break that includes focused breathing, a body stretch and/or a guided imagery as detailed in Yoguides is a useful tool and can be easily accessed at home, school or work.