How to Befriend Your Food Cravings

Befriend Your Food Cravings

When we realize our bodies’ food cravings are messengers, we can begin to make changes for lasting weight loss and health.

Despite what you’ve been told, food cravings are not your enemy when it comes to losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. They’re actually messengers that help you understand what your body needs to maintain balance. The key to ending the yo-yo diet cycle and stabilizing your natural weight is learning to trust our bodies. Befriending instead of battling your food cravings is an important step toward getting to the root cause of what’s standing between you and the health you desire.

Chocolate, pasta, ice cream, candy — it doesn’t matter what you crave, the most important thing if you want to get on the path to lasting weight loss is to understand why you crave what you crave.

We’re meant to be curious about our cravings and look for their deeper messages.

Our body is never wrong. It’s constantly regulating itself and seeking balance. The problem is somewhere along the way, due to poor food and lifestyle habits, we’ve sabotaged our natural appetite functioning.

Our cravings aren’t bad and they don’t mean that something is wrong with us. They are simply part of the body’s complex communication system. Distracting ourselves or relying on willpower stops us from looking at the beliefs and emotions that trigger the cravings as well as the resulting unwanted behaviors.

We’re meant to be curious about our cravings and look for their deeper messages.

You probably already know that cravings often have very little to do with true hunger.  As you will see below, cravings have both biochemical and psychological roots.   Simply put, when we lack, we intuitively crave.

Behind the Cravings

Here are the Top 5 insights to help you tap into the powerful wisdom that our bodies express through food cravings:

  • Sign of a Nutritional Deficiency — Scientific research suggests cravings are the body’s subconscious means of attempting to fill nutritional needs. Your body knows it’s lacking in certain macronutrients (fat, fiber, protein) and/or certain micronutrients (i.e. B vitamins, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc), but your conscious mind is not aware, so deficiencies can manifest as cravings for certain foods.
  • Blood Sugar Imbalance — Too many carbohydrates and refined sugars in your daily food, and not enough healthy fat and protein, puts you on a blood sugar roller coaster. When this happens, key hormones like insulin and leptin are deregulated, causing you to have very little control over appetite or portion sizes and setting the stage for intense cravings for more carbs and sugar.
  • Need for Deeper Nourishment — Does boredom, fatigue, feeling lonely, or a lack of purpose cause you to emotionally eat? If you aren’t experiencing a nutrient deficiency, cravings are often a cry for comfort and fulfillment. In these cases, food serves as substitute, and it’s a sign we need nourishment on a deeper level. Food cravings often reflect our lack of primary food such as pleasure, connection, or love. By seeking the underlying emotion of our food cravings, we have the opportunity to truly heal what needs healing in our bodies, hearts and minds.
  • Lack of Sleep – Research shows a strong link between sleep deprivation and increased appetite and cravings for sweet, salty and calorically dense foods. Sleepless nights impair the part of our brain that governs complex decision making and increases activity in the deeper centers that responds to rewards.  This altered brain activity leads to the selection of more unhealthy foods.
  •  Chronic Fight and Flight Stress Living – When our body perceives something as stressful it responds by pushing us into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode.  This adaptive mechanism evolved from an earlier time in our evolution when physical threats to our survival were prominent.  The stresses we face today may not be the same, but the body’s response today is and because we can turn on the stress response with power of thought alone it’s become a very maladaptive strategy.  Living by the hormones of stress wreaks havoc on our cortisol and blood sugar levels and predisposes us to use foods to “regulate” our inner emotional state.

In our diet obsessed culture, we’re told to control our cravings and tame our appetites, but what if we actually saw them as a call to slow down, be present and pay attention to ourselves and our inner world?  Mindfulness trains us to deepen into the present moment experience and gives us the ability to stay with the thoughts, feelings, emotion and sensations that would typically trigger the craving if we were not paying attention.

By being honest with the body’s messages we receive around food, we can learn something about ourselves and have a chance to solve the real problem.  Seeing our cravings as messengers paves the way for some much needed change, whether that’s around career, relationship, life purpose or certainly a heightened awareness around how we need to evolve our nutrition and self care.

Mango Turmeric Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 14 oz. can of full fat coconut milk  (“Navitas Naturals” or “Thai Kitchen”)
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup chia seeds

Procedure

  1. In a blender, blend the mango, coconut milk, honey, turmeric, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mango coconut mix with the chia seeds and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours or preferably overnight until a pudding like consistency is achieved.
  3. Top as desired with coconut, flakes chopped nuts and or fresh fruit.
Yield: 8 Servings Print
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