Listening to Your Body & Deconstructing Your Cravings

When I was in college, I started restricting myself from eating certain foods such as donuts, bagels, pastries and anything else I considered “bad food.” At work when someone brought in donuts, I would take a cold, hard look at them and want one so badly, but deny myself the pleasure.

I would say I’m pretty good at controlling myself when it comes to food.

But, some people are not. For instance, if you restrict yourself from eating specific foods, more than likely, you’ll end up binge eating, which is worse than just eating the darn donut in the first place.

It wasn’t until I started attending IIN that I found denying myself was actually hurting more than helping, so I started LISTENING to my body. Was I in the mood for a sweet treat? If so, I would have something small. I never felt like I needed to eat a whole carton of say ice cream because I began tuning into my cravings.

Is it easy to listen to your body?

Hell no.

But, once you train yourself to tune into what your body WANTS, you’ll more than likely not feel the desire to eat an entire chocolate cake.

Do you know why you crave certain foods? This is why:

  1. Lack of Primary Food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship, having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, or uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice can all cause emotional eating. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. Food can provide a form of relief, or even an escape, when you’re under stress. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied.

  2. Water. Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten to match needs more closely. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal. Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance. When you sweat and lose water, you also lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout.

  3. Lack of Nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of nonfood items, like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency.

  4. Seasonal. The body often craves foods in accordance with the season. In the spring, people crave lighter foods, like leafy greens or citrus fruits. In the summer, people crave cooling foods, like raw foods and ice cream. In the fall, people tend to crave grounding foods, like squash, onions, and nuts, and many crave heat-producing foods, like meat, oil, and fat, in the winter. Cravings can also be associated with seasonal holidays. For example, turkey, eggnog, or Christmas cookies.

  5. Inside Coming Out. Cravings often come from foods you’ve recently eaten or foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience. Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger.

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