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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So..... I'm Pregnant?

“I’m really late,” I told my husband, Brett while we were on a trip in Wilmington, NC.

I was supposed to get my period at the end of October and I kept waiting for it. The previous months it came around the end of the month and I felt as if it would come, so I was prepared, but it didn’t.

“But, you’ve been late before,” Brett said. “Yeah, but, not this late.” He smiled. He looked at me and just stared. We’d been trying since May or June, but it just wasn’t the right time. I kept telling myself it would happen, but maybe the timing just isn’t right. I mean, in August, I started a new career and will earn my certification in April. I took it as a sign that we weren’t ready.

But, I have to admit by the end of October, I was frustrated.

I began thinking, “maybe we can’t get pregnant” and then “what the hell is wrong with me?” If I hadn’t been late in October, I was going to start doing research and scheduling a doctor appointment to find out if I was able to get pregnant or not because it seemed like it was taking a long time.

I told my husband on November 3rd, 3 days before our anniversary. Why did I tell him? Because I was REALLY tired and in case I was pregnant, I didn’t want to push it too much. But, he was excited at the thought. I, on the other hand, was scared shitless.

The next day I took a pregnancy test.

I didn’t want to take it though. I was really, really nervous and my heart was beating a mile a minute. He kept asking if I took it or not and I was stalling.

But, then, around 5:30 on Nov 4th, I took it.

I waited 15 minutes before the test confirmed that I was in fact… PREGNANT.

Maybe it’s wrong, I thought to myself. Pregnancy tests aren’t always right.

I walked down the stairs and showed my husband. He looked at me and smiled.

What was the first thing I did?

Cry.

I cried because I live in South Carolina and my mom lives in Pennsylvania and she won’t be here during my first pregnancy. I cried because I didn’t know what I was doing and I was scared out of my mind. All this time I so badly wanted to get pregnant, but here I was terrified.

My husband hugged me tight because he saw I was getting emotional, which by the way NEVER happens. And, I HATE crying because I don’t like to display emotion. Does that make sense? Probably not.

Anyway, after crying for what felt like 10 minutes straight, I stopped.

I told myself I had to be a big girl and deal with the fact that my mom lives in PA. She is always a phone call away. And, there are plenty more people who have moved here while their parents live somewhere else, so I’m not the only one.

In the end, I’m happy, but I’m also pretty nervous.

I Finally Found My Happiness

I’ve always wanted to help people, but wasn’t sure in what compacity.

In college, I felt drawn to the magazine industry and yearned to live in NYC to become a magazine writer. I did intern for Good Housekeeping and Family Circle Magazine, but changed my mind due to the competitiveness.

Instead, I went straight into content writing then became a social media coordinator, and finally a community manager. But, there was always something missing.

When it came to my career, I never felt settled.

I always felt the sense that I was meant for something greater. I always felt like there was something else out there for me. I would suggest a new career every week, but never followed through because it wasn’t meant to be. That was until I moved to Greenville a year ago and came across holistic health coaching.

Something clicked in my mind. The excitement started creeping up and that’s when I knew I finally found it. I’ve spent most of my 20’s confused as to what career I wanted. I’d start a job, love it and then all of a sudden, something would happen. And, in my heart, I knew it was a sign. I kept on looking and wondering when it would finally hit me.

So, now, after years of exploring career options, I’m becoming a holistic health coach and my goal is to help people – whether it be men or women – become their best selves. I want to see the smile on their face when they finally find their happiness. The joy I’ll feel will be overwhelming and for the first time in my life, I know I’ll be making a difference.

Via Hannah Kerr’s Little Pink Book

Nothing Was Enough, Until This Happened....

I was a miserable kid.

My mom and aunt both told me that and also, I’ve seen it with my own eyes because I watch home movies and I see myself pouting. In one home video, while we were having a family party, I laid on the front lawn refusing to socialize. I often got into arguments with my aunt, who admitted years later that we never got along because I always acted like a bitch. And, I’m glad she was honest with me because looking back, I was.

To add to my unhappiness, which I don’t understand what stemmed from because I never had any tragic experiences or any negatives events happen as a child, I never felt like anything was enough. I had supportive parents, brothers who I got along with, a roof over my head, food on the table, my own room, etc. Point being I didn’t have parents who neglected me or went to a school full of bullies, so I figured it was time for me to dig deep into my past.

I started looking at the jobs I had and began to re-evaluate what happened at each job that made me dislike them. Honestly, it wasn’t really the job itself, but rather, the boss I had that made it miserable for me to drive to the office every day.

I was either micromanaged or treated like I was dumb. Just when I’d think I was getting somewhere with either my job or my freelancing, something would happen and bring me back down. I was very easily upset and the downward spiral would start where I was too hard on myself. I would begin to ridicule my body, want to leave a job and so on and so forth.

I never felt like I could find a job that I genuinely enjoyed. And, I think that was a sign that all the jobs I had were just a stepping stone, not what I would be doing for the rest of my life.

So, I spent years focusing on what I didn’t have instead of what I do have.

I focused on all the negative things happening in my life and often felt compelled to say, “poor me.” Guess what though? My life was NOT bad enough to say, “poor me” because I was never homeless, I always had food to eat, I always had money coming in, I’ve always had a supportive family and then, in 2013, I met my now-husband, who loves me for who I am, so how dare I say “POOR ME?!” How dare I lump myself into that category and feel “sorry” for myself.

I wasted all this time complaining when I could have been using that energy to focus on more important things. I should have spent that time figuring out why I felt like nothing was ever enough and truly searching for my happiness.

Happiness does NOT come from money or fame or being thin. It comes from appreciating what you have and focusing on what you do have.

Know when my perception changed? On Thursday night I watched a lecture from Geneen Roth, who said she had all the money in the world, and yet, she still complained. She wanted more and never felt like it was enough until she lost all her savings and something inside of her changed. It clicked.

I sat in front of my computer in awe.

Damn, I said to myself. That’s me. My husband said to me the other day, “is there ever a day where you don’t complain about something?” Ouch. It’s true though.

Geneen experienced the same thing with her husband, who asked her if she was feeling okay after not complaining for a few days straight. So, that was my turning point.

So, when YOU feel like nothing is enough, this is what you can do:

1) Write down everything you DO have. Make a list of what you feel grateful for. Review the list daily and remind yourself not to focus on the negative.

2) Go for a walk. Use this time to reflect and ask yourself why you’re feeling this way.

3) Read a book. There are so many books out there such as Geneen Roth’s “Lost and Found: One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life.”

Cheap Afternoon Date

Five years ago (almost exactly), my husband and I planned to go apple picking, but when we got there, we learned it was way too late in the season, so we were bummed. Well, fast forward to now, I told him I wanted to try again. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, why didn’t you just try the following year and truthfully, I have no idea.

But, nevertheless, on Sunday afternoon, we made our way to Hendersonville, NC to check out Sky Top Orchard. I heard it was a bit on the pricey side, but at the same time, I also heard the view was AMAZING! Since getting into nutrition, I’ve been avoiding trying to avoid buying apples from the grocery store because I have no idea if they’re truly organic (you can never trust the marketing around organic food) and since apples are listed as #4 on the 2018 Dirty Dozen, I’ve been very careful where I get them from. To ensure there aren’t any pesticides in your apples, I’d advise to buy directly from a farm and ask questions, be curious about how the apples are grown and what soil is used! When it comes to your health, you can never be too cautious.

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Going back to the view, it was amazing and I got a bunch of pictures to show for it. And, holy cow, the bags of apples they sell are gigantic! I absolutely love apples, so apple picking is one of my favorite activities. Not only is it a good first date, it’s an inexpensive activity for your family and friends. And, Hendersonville is so close to us that you can get there in about 45 minutes, so it’s also an awesome day trip. The only complaint I had had nothing to do with the orchard itself, but rather, the weather. Holy hell was it hot! Why has fall not made it’s appearance yet? What are we waiting for? I just want sweater weather. I’m so sick of sweating.

For an afternoon treat, we got a caramel apple and apple cider, which were both delicious. My only regret was not standing in the line for an apple cider donut. I told my husband I’ll make it up to him by making them myself! But, overall, it was a nice afternoon activity and was also refreshing to get away from house repairs for a few hours. 👍👍

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"Fitting Out"

I learned the concept “fitting out” at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Basically, what it means is instead of trying to fit in with the crowd, you should stand out because we’ve taught our brains to be wired unlike the average person. We don’t see the world in the same way the average person sees it.

I’ve witnessed it myself, especially at my last job where the women would emphasize how healthy they were while in reality they were either eating smaller portions or TV dinners they deemed “healthy.” But, it’s not their fault because they were never educated about health + wellness. Not to mention, there’s different theories that emerge all the time in the media, magazines, TV, etc. They definitely do not think the same way I do and that’s okay. But, I guess I’m scared to “fit out” because I want to be accepted. And, the confusion lays in that sometimes I crave attention and other times I just want to bury myself underneath the surface. I guess it all depends on how the day is going.

But, IIN encourages you to be different and proud. They teach this theory because it’s important to embrace who you are instead of being someone you’re not. And, the average person does not spend 3-4 hours at a grocery store looking at the ingredients or looking up recipes for their upcoming grocery list or plan out in their head what their breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like like I do.

“Fitting out” is about saying NO when you’re offered food you don’t normally eat just so you don’t look weird. Yup, that’s me though. Today I ate a slice of dominos pizza despite the fact that I would never be caught dead eating that because it’s so unhealthy. But, no one gets it and I should have spoken up and said politely, “no, thank you,” but I just wanted to fit in with everyone else despite the fact that I knew how unhealthy and bad that piece of pizza was for me, but I kept on eating it.

It’s hard. But, you know what, this concept is about celebrating the fact that I’m different than most people. People may label me as “picky,” but it’s really the fact that I care about what I put in my body. I’m sorry that you don’t care what foods you eat on a daily basis, but I do and I need to respect myself enough to say NO. I need to accept myself as I am. I’m proud of who I am and where I’ve come from and at the end of the day, that should be all that matters. I need to stop hiding who I am and just be ME. And, today I want YOU to be yourself.

The Day I Realized I Had Become "The Nagging Wife"

Let me be real with you on this topic. In my blog, I plan on being transparent, truthful and authentic, so this is something couples rarely talk about, so I figured I’d shed some light.

It was on a Saturday morning when I realized I’d somehow become “the nagging wife.”

“Do you really have to eat that whole bagel?” I asked my husband. “Carbs are the enemy.” He shrugged it off as I proceeded to continuously ask him the same question which lead to him ignoring me. Unfortunately, this sort of situation is a common occurrence.

About a year into dating, I began nagging him about his eating habits. He’s a binge eater and sometimes eats when he’s not hungry, which in my opinion isn’t healthy. Me on the other hand who is overly obsessive about my weight and stomach only eats when I’m hungry, which is the norm. But, still, the person who is self-conscious about her own weight is telling her husband what to do when it comes to eating.

“I’m a much bigger person than you, Hope and need to consume more calories. I can’t eat pea-sized meals like you,” he said. And, you know what? He’s right. It seems I’ve projected my body issues onto him. It seems I’ve become the woman who is pushy and controlling.

In the last year, I’d say I've become “that” wife. The type of wife who pouts if he doesn’t give me enough attention, the wife who gets pissed off if he watches football every Sunday for a few hours, the type of woman who tells their husband what he can and cannot eat. Ew. I’ve always told myself I would never ever act like that because it’s appalling.

Every time I start to nag my husband about this and that, I need to remember that it’s really annoying and not helpful. There are other ways to get my point across and nagging is definitely not the route to go.

On that Saturday, as we drove in the car, all I could think about was hopping out due to embarrassment. I finally listened to myself and sounded really immature. I was always the cool and laid-back girl who let situations roll off her shoulders, so why have I turned into a control freak?

Going forward, when I start to become “that wife,” I need to step back, and just let It go.  I am not going to be in control of every situation and monitoring his eating is only hurting our relationship. The more I push, the more he’ll start to distance himself.

If you’re in this type of situation, here are some key aspects to keep in mind.

1) Being a controlling wife is annoying. Need I elaborate?

2) If he doesn’t tell you what you can and cannot eat, then why do the same for him?

3) Stop projecting your self-conscious body issues onto him and deal with them YOURSELF. Harsh, but true!

4) When you feel yourself in a nagging mood, do something to distract yourself so you don’t go down that path.

Have you ever gone through a similar situation? If so, how’d you handle it?

Let’s chat : therealwayshopegvl@gmail.com