Wellness Wednesday: Honoring Your Cravings

  Feb 1, 2017  |  #Healthy Living

Good morning!

Remember last month where I said I’d do a Wellness Wednesday post the first Wednesday of each month? Well, we’re continuing with that theme, and this month I’m talking about CRAVINGS! I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out loud!

In case you missed it:

January Wellness Wednesday: How to get 25 grams of protein at breakfast

 

We’ve all had those nights where all we can think about is pizza. Or fried chicken. Or chocolate chip cookie dough. Even, a hearty salad!

Wellness Wednesday, Honoring your cravings

There’s nothing wrong with having these cravings or even acting on them. 

I typically see a few reasons behind cravings, but there’s usually always a behind the scenes reason why.

We’re deficient in something

You may have heard this in relation to meat in that you may be low in iron or zinc. But, think about when you have low blood sugar or you’re cranky. Or you’ve gone too long without eating. You probably want a high carbohydrate/sugar food (ice cream, french fries, cheeseburger, milkshake, etc) to increase your blood sugar. Or, maybe you’re sick and you’re craving warm tea, full of antioxidants to help with immunity.

Or maybe you just crave more sugar or calories if you’re undereating in relation to your activity level. If you’re craving peanut butter at every meal, perhaps you need more fat in your diet. If you can’t think of life without cheese, maybe you need more calcium (and/or fat). Sometimes, there’s a reason to the madness. Sometimes you have to give your body a ltitle credit and realize it’s smart, and it needs to do it’s thing.

Honoring your cravings

We’ve told ourselves we can’t have it

I’m fairly certain we’ve all been here. Whether you’ve struggled with disordered eating or not, I think we can all relate to putting some sort of restriction on ourselves, whether it’s a loose restriction or not.

I’m not eating ice cream tonight….I’ve had it 4 times this week

That pasta dish sounds good, but I think I’ll go with the salad

Should I really eat another tablespoon of peanut butter at this one sitting?

I’m thinking about chocolate again…but I ate it with breakfast – I should probably wait until dinner, or maybe wait until tomorrow

Often times, when we tell ourselves we can’t have something, we want it more. I think it’s important to consider why we’re placing this restriction in the first place. Are we trying to monitor and support self control? Will it help us lose weight? Do we eat too much of it? Do we feel bad after we eat it?

Each situation may lead to a different reason and outcome, but they all may require a slightly different approach.

[Tweet “It’s important to think about why we have a restriction on food in the first place”]

We’re deflecting stress from something else

I think it’s impossible to completely dissociate from the term emotional eating, because to an extent, food is emotional.

group eating

Food is nostalgic, reminds us of memories, both good and bad. It brings us happiness when it tastes good, and sometimes frustration when it doesn’t. We’re excited to try new foods, or nervous or scared for cooking with others. It’s virtually impossible to completely dissociate any type of emotion with food, so I think we have to be careful when we label ourselves as “emotional eaters.” I have so many clients who use this term about themselves, and while part of me understands what he/she is trying to say, the other part of me is screaming, “yes we are all emotional eaters!”

What I think they mean is that they have other things on their mind when they’re eating, so they aren’t focused on the food going into their mouth. They aren’t appreciating the taste, the smell, the pleasantry of eating. They’re anxious about an upcoming test or meeting, stressed about work, worried about family. They may not be eating mindfully, because rather than focusing on the food in front of them, they’re distracted about something that may be bothering them. And because they’re distracted by these thoughts, they want something easy, often simple sugars or processed foods. Carbohydrates help boost serotonin, which brings calmness and a sense of “feel good” feelings.

But what if…a craving was just a craving. Just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

One of those things where you eat it and move on.

What I’m trying to portray is that acting on a craving isn’t always a bad thing. When we set this expectation that craving something is bad, we’re setting ourselves up to feel bad about ourselves if we act on that craving. RELAX! You deserve grace, and if you really want that food, eat it. And don’t feel bad about it. Move on. Would you make someone else feel bad about their choices?

[Tweet “It’s nearly impossible to completely dissociate emotions from eating because food is emotional!”]

How can you help the cravings?

Eat regularly and eat enough (See a dietitian if you don’t know what enough is for you and your lifestyle)

Get enough sleep and drink enough water

Show yourself some love and treat yourself

Get to the root of the problem (99% of the time, it’s not food) – How can you remove stressors from your life?

Get outside!

Exercise and produce those feel good chemicals!

Surround yourself with positive people and role models

Keep a cravings journal

And the obvious….give yourself what you’re craving!

 

If you are craving ice cream every night, maybe you need more calories, or maybe there’s another underlying problem that requires professional or medical assistance.

[Tweet “Reasons why you should listen to your cravings!”]

I’m linking up with Jen from Pretty Little Grub, Nicole from Fitful Focus, Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Michelle at Fruition Fitness for Wild Workout Wednesday!

I’d love to hear your thoughts. And on a non food related note:

How do you motivate yourself, or pump yourself up, to accomplish something you didn’t think you could do?

36 responses to “Wellness Wednesday: Honoring Your Cravings

  1. I sometimes have a craving for a specific cereal that I might see in the grocery store. So I buy it, I eat the box in a day or two and then the craving has been satisfied. I try not to get too hungry, but need to work on hydration. I think a big one for me is thinking I’m hungry when I’m thirsty. Hangry is a thing…and so is “thangry” hahaha (thirst+hunger)

    I motivate myself by remembering all the hard things I’ve already done. Also, repeating a mantra or a belief about yourself helps too. Like “I can do hard things” etc

  2. So true. I always know I’m not getting enough protein when I have a huge craving for black bean soup! And talking to my mom always helps me tackle scary tasks. Sometimes venting and a pep talk is allyou need!

  3. YES! Sometimes I just want some pizza or french fries for no reason and I get it! Food is meant to be enjoyed! I also think that by not making a big deal out of “unhealthy” cravings, keeps me motivated for the rest of the time to not be chowing down on french fries every day!
    I motivate myself by making a to=do list and tackling things one small step at a time.

  4. Love this post! I am all about honoring my cravings- usually once a month or so I really really crave a burger and I always so it’s because my iron is probably low (especially as someone who doesn’t eat much meat). You’re right we are all emotional eaters and sometimes we need to just give into those cravings whether it’s macaroni and cheese or a brownie sundae. (PS that Ice cream looked amazinggg!)

  5. “Often times, when we tell ourselves we can’t have something, we want it more.” TOTALLy agree with you on this. This is something I remind myself of daily!

  6. I am so so thankful you posted this; having a dietitian that I love and respect offer advice on these tough issues (especially when it’s tough to listen to cravings after struggling with ED thoughts and behavior) is absolutely invaluable. I’ve learned that for some reason my body often craves fats, and that’s why I eat so much nut butter. It definitely varies with each day, but I try to go more with what it seems my body needs instead of always making myself eat what doesn’t sound good?

  7. So glad I popped over! My dad is a chiropractor and he’s done a lot of research and studying in nutrition for his patients and one thing he’s always telling me is the point you made about being deficient in something! So true! I love that you brought it up too! Also, when you’re pregnant, they’ll tell you if you crave ice, you’re low in iron. But I guess that’s pretty common knowledge 😉

  8. My cravings definitely vary, but I usually try to listen to them within the week. Sometimes scrolling through instagram I start craving really healthy food or delicious sweet treats. But I’ve noticed if I’m not hungry I have much fewer cravings. I totally agree though, they are something we should NOT ignore!

  9. Cravings are HARD sometimes, because I still struggle to distinguish if I want something like pizza because I just want it, or saw your post on Instagram & wanted to bite into some saucy, crusty, goodness myself. Or, if I’m craving something because I need more calories, or more of a specific nutrient.

    I do notice for sure that I crave SALTY and unhealthy foods after a long run, the key for me is to eat something QUICKLY so I can refuel a bit while I decide what I actually want. Sometimes mac & cheese IS the answer!

    1. I agree that eating after exercise (when you need the calories) and to prevent yourself from getting too hungry is key! Mac and Cheese can be a great answer!

  10. I love this post. And it’s a great point about eating your craving and moving on and not making yourself feel bad, because you wouldn’t make others feel bad about their choices! I absolutely agree with your thoughts on this and it’s definitely something people should read!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!!

  11. I was raised to honor my cravings with “just enough of a taste to satisfy” and I still eat that way today. Although if there are sweet potato fries around it’s really hard to hold back 😛

  12. I think so many people discount the ability to crave healthy foods. Let me tell you: I LOVE my healthy foods and crave them more than the less healthy ones!

  13. I love this post! Whenever I crave something, I first ask if I’m really hungry. Then I try to put it off for a few minutes. If I still want it 20 minutes later or after going for a walk, then I let myself have it 🙂

  14. Thanks for this great post. So often, we see posts about how to “control” our cravings, in the sense of “ignore” them–but that’s not necessarily useful if the craving is telling us something, like maybe we’re undereating or we’re not eating enough fat, etc. Rather than just thinking the craving is evil, it can be a lot more useful to think, “Why am I craving this right now?”

    1. I really dislike how we feel like “caving in” is doing something wrong and we need to ignore what our bodies are telling us. I like your question of figuring out why we’re really wanting something – trying to understand it is important.

  15. Great post. I think it is important to remind ourselves that sometimes cravings do have a solid reason behind them (physical or mental needs) but that sometimes…, they don’t. Sometimes we just get a mean, sudden craving for chocolate, and that is okay. But not listening to them will most likely just make them scream louder and louder. I used to find I always craved peanut butter when I had been low in protein. Emotionally, when I feel down I crave a latte. Warm milk is a comfort thing evolutionary for humans, so of course I crave some form of comfort.
    Lately, to boost my confidence, I have been really using meditation and breathe work. If I can get myself to feel grounded, I can think clearer and remember all the reasons I am “worth it.”

  16. I am a big believer in honouring your cravings – and honouring your cravings with the actual real thing not “I’m craving chocolate so I’ll eat this spoonful of cocoa power” alternative. Otherwise, often times you find you just keep on craving it regardless of what you do!

    Life is too short to be mean to yourself!

  17. Cravings can be funny because often times when we don’t just eat the food, we eat everything else in hopes of satisfying ourselves. Not the best approach. I tend to embrace cravings and genuinely love the feeling of getting excited for a particular food. It can be hard to differentiate between craving and boredom, but it’s something I’m working on!

    1. Totally agree with you Kate. I think that we often feel that we have to replace the craving with something that we think or feel may be “healthier,” but like you said, we may keep trying and hoping for satisfaction. I’m a big believer of giving yourself the real thing – and enjoying it 🙂

  18. I do IIFYM and I whole heartedly believe that you can eat what you like and still be healthy! Sometimes people just generally crave something and its OK to give into those cravings as long as it doesnt mean over eating and your still maintaining a healthy diet overall. Eat those cookies, just dont forget about the salad too 🙂

    1. I think being healthy means being aware of what your body wants and needs in the moment, and listening to it. If you eat the cookies over and over again, eventually you’ll crave some more nutrient dense veggies and whole grains. Our bodies are smart 🙂

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