Cravings…we love them and we love to hate them.
How many times have you or one of your friends said, “UGH I am just cravingggg some chocolate right now” or “I NEED french fries” or “OMG I have the strongest craving for pizza right now”.
Now, what is your typical first reaction to such a statement?
Is it: Alright, great! I’ll have some chocolate/french fries/pizza! Simple enough.
Is it: UGH I wish this craving would go awayyy how do I beat cravings? And I’m definitely not gonna eat that fattening food.
I can’t read your mind, so I’m not 100% sure which is the right answer for you. But I’m gonna bet that for most of you, it’s the latter.
How do I know??
Because that used to be me! You know all those infographics explaining “If you’re craving XYZ, it means you’re deficient in ABC”?? Yep, loved those.
But then I started this little thing called Kale & KRAVINGS to teach people, like beautiful little YOU, how to embrace and honor allllll of our cravings.
At the same time though, I’m not going to tell you that eating fast food and an ice cream sundae every single day is healthy.
I don’t believe that all calories are equal, I don’t count macros, and I don’t eat french fries daily (even though they are one of my fave foods)!
Sooooo…what do I believe and teach my clients??
Cravings should not be ignored – they should be handled with love (not fear or hatred) and are part of being a human!
Let’s start with the last point – the one about being human.
We tend to approach cravings as if they’re sneaky little demons who creep up on us out of the blue. Ummm…HELLOOOO everyone has preferences (thank you taste buds!) and opinions (thank you brain) and moods (thank you emotions), so cravings are pretty much the most natural thing about us.
That Victoria’s Secret model who just went on a juice cleanse? Yeah, she has cravings.
Your friend who seems to always eat the healthiest thing on the menu? Yeah, she has cravings.
Your co-worker who packs the same thing for lunch every day? Yeah, she has cravings.
Everyone has cravings! So don’t think you’re special or out of control or cursed by the cravings evil spirit ;)
There are a few types of cravings that I want to discuss, and I’ll share methods with you for handling them with love.
The first: The “I’m in the mood for…” craving
Next: The “I need sugar everyday” craving
And lastly: The “I’m sad/stressed/bored” craving
Let’s tackle to #1 first.
If you’re in the mood for something…EAT IT! If you want a burger and fries and don’t let yourself have it, your body will feel restricted and want it even more. If you eat the burger and fries but feel guilty and ashamed of eating it, that stress and anxiety will stay with you for wayyyy longer than the amount of time it took to eat the meal. If you eat the burger and fries with love and gratitude, then you’ll enjoy yourself and be able to move on!
Now, if you’re in the mood for something that you know won’t make you feel good, you have a couple options.
The first is to have a few bites of it just to get the satisfaction and taste.
The second is to just say F IT and eat the damn thing. Don’t beat yourself up for choosing something that will make you feel bloated/sick/heavy. Accept your choice, appreciate the food, and move on.
Now for cravings type #2: “I need sugar every day”
If you are eating something often out of habit instead of intention and real desire, it may be a good idea to take a step back from that food. For example, if you crave the taste of sugar after every meal but aren’t exactly in the mood for a specific dessert, consider doing a 5 day refined sugar free week. This is a great way to reset your taste buds in a non-restrictive way. You’ll also learn a ton about where hidden sugars lie (i.e. ketchup, bread, crackers, salad dressings, drinks etc). This isn’t a diet or new food rule – it’s a simple break from a craving that you aren’t actually craving…you’ve just developed a habit!
And finally for craving #3: “I’m sad/stressed/bored” craving
Emotional eating is something that most of us have experienced/participate in…and it totally makes sense! FOOD IS EMOTIONAL! That’s why we get happy when we taste something delicious or upset when we hate a particular flavor.
If you’re sad and feel like baking chocolate chip cookies, bake the freaking cookies! But be mindful while eating them – serve yourself a portion to avoid bingeing on the entire tray. However, if food is your constant coping mechanism for stress, sadness, or despair, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your emotions.
Go somewhere besides the kitchen.
Break out your journal, cry it out, call a friend, and embrace whatever emotion you’re feeling.
Then, try to find a positive in your situation. Do something small that brings you joy – I love watching golden retriever puppy videos on YouTube when I’m in a funk – and commit to healing on your own without relying on food.
The power of breathe, pausing, and reflecting can be extremely profound and helpful, and taking just a few moments to recognize where you’re at is a great practice to develop for emotional intelligence and keeping your emotional eating in check.
At the end of the day, your body is way smarter than you think, so you gotta listen to it!
Tap into your innate intuition, eat from love, and join me in my Eating with Love & Intuition Facebook Group!
For more, visit me on Instagram @kaleandkravings!