“I want to be cured of a craving for something I cannot find. And of the shame of never finding it.” — T.S. Elliot
My Yoga teacher recently said, “Pain is your guru.” For most of my life I was suffering in my relationship with food and body. Cravings were relentless, food was always available, and I didn’t know how to comfort myself with anything else but food. The pain I felt was from having a disconnection between my body, mind, and spirit.
Cravings are sensations the mind and body create to reconnect.
This re-connection is vital to our spiritual well being. The part of us that wants to thrive!
Cravings are nudges that we’re in “survival mode.”
Had a long day at work? Exhausted and all you want to do is mentally check out in front of the TV? You skip your workout because you need to relax. Get a craving for chinese food and BAM! You’re stopping by Panda Express on your way home. Or maybe it’s In and Out? Or screw the meal. Let’s just get right to the dessert. Pick up ice cream or frozen yogurt?
These cravings are powerful and it’s not as simple as not having any willpower.
You probably know how to eat healthy. You know what to eat, but it’s the consistency that can be a really big challenge from getting the results you want.
These cravings can throw a wrench in your healthy meal routines making it harder to lose stubborn weight…..especially around the belly
As an Eating Psychology Coach, I started to look at cravings a lot differently. The Gift of Compulsions is an outstanding read about how our impulses are actually teachers. Compulsions are caused by triggers. We’re being triggered to “do something” soothing because we’re uncomfortable. We need an instant quick fix and FOOD is reliable and available.
Food porn is real. Temptation is everywhere.
Can’t escape the candy jar at work or the fact they’ve ordered lunch all week? The girls call you at the last minute and invite you happy hour? Cities are loaded with restaurants and fast food chains? We have extravagant holiday meals and parties?
When we have a disconnection in our mind, body, and spirit, we lose the confidence in ourselves to make healthy choices.
We become overwhelmed by the influence around us. “Don’t eat carbs.” “Eat Vegan.” “Too much protein is bad.” Information is all over the place and it gets really confusing…….
We’ve been programmed into believing that “We’re broken.”
That we need a diet, meal plan, or new body to feel whole again.
Our spirit is calling “Bullshit.” There’s in-congruence. The body just needs to wake up and be heard!
Instead of listening to our bodies, we spend a lot of energy worrying about our willpower not being strong enough to stick to our diet. It’s exhausting and eventually that willpower does run thin. We cave into the craving and “fail.”
Then we beat ourselves up even more for “failing” again! The judgement starts, “Why can’t I do this?” “What’s wrong with me?” “I’m so ashamed.”
Now is that anyway to talk to your best friend?
Our partner for life is OUR BODY! We need to start treating it like our best friend!
The body need to have it’s basic needs met so that it doesn’t physiologically go into survival mode. Here’s a check list I run through whenever I feel discomfort in my body and have a craving.
- Oxygen – this is the body’s primary life source. When we’re stressed, we tend to breath shallow thereby reducing oxygen to the brain. This impairs your mood and judgment which may impact your food choices and amount. There’s also less oxygen to the cells of your body which can impair overall performance where you feel chronic fatigue.
- Water – second in demand is that vital H20. Our bodies are primarily made up of water. Dehydration can cause bloating and constipation. The body craves water but we mistake it for food.
- Safety – our natural instinct is for survival. If we feel threatened at all, the body will go into fight or flight mode. This means being secure about our career, relationships, financials, and health. When we are fearful or anxious, the body response with a stress response. Get inquisitive. Reaffirm your safety and security. Repeat Step 1 again! Do not move onto Step 4 until you’re relaxed. (If you have any sort of past unresolved trauma in your body then this step can be challenging to move through without support)
- Food – healthy digestion from a diet rich in whole foods. Processed foods can increase food cravings because they can have ingredients that are highly addictive like sugar. Well balanced meals prevent cravings because nutritional needs are met. (If we eat under stress, the metabolism is compensated and the food isn’t absorbed efficiently.)
These are common sense but not common practice.
It requires a daily commitment to self-care and mindfulness.
It’s one way we practice YOGA off of the mat and into daily life.
There’s also mental, emotional, and spiritual reasons why we have cravings and I’ll dive into that in PART 2 of this Blog.
Want to learn more about healing our relationship with body and food? How to create your dream body without dieting?
Don’t forget you can also join my FREE Facebook Group Body Bliss Enthusiasts where I do live Coaching Calls every Wednesday night at 8pm PST. Tonight’s topic (8/23) HOW TO REDUCE STRESS SO YOU STOP SABOTAGING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS.
Lastly, interested in diving deeper? I provide coaching and yoga/meditation classes to help you learn how to strengthen this mind, body, and spirit connection so you restore your health to optimum levels. Email me to learn more!