Understanding Cravings

Hey there, thanks for stopping by!

Over the past 2 weeks I had the privilege of leading over 150 people in an online 10 day sugar cleanse. It was awesome to hear from people about how they were exploring their cravings and making changes in all areas of their lives.

Some people tend to look at cravings as a bad thing, it’s how we’ve been programmed. We shame and guilt ourselves for giving into our cravings, and then wonder why we keep doing the same thing over and over again. I like to look at my cravings a little differently. I see understanding cravings as a way to know myself better and deepen my relationship with myself.

Sounds a little deep, right? lol. But it’s true.

For example, over the past week I have definitely been eating differently than usual. The way I see it, I have a few choices of how I want to proceed.

1. Eat whatever I’m craving and be done with it.

2. Notice when I’m craving something, pause, and bring my attention inward instead of focusing on the external thing (cookies, chocolate, chips, whatever). Once I’ve paused, I ask myself what’s going on and what I’m really looking for/what I need.

3. Acknowledge there is a deeper need, and enjoy whatever I’m craving anyway.

So, what do I do? Depends on the day! Some days I want to be self-reflective and give myself as much love and healing as possible. Other days, I just want chocolate, even if that means I’m self-sabotaging. And neither choice is inherently better or worse than the other. It’s just about what’s important to you. What’s most important to me right now is the ability to love myself and others unconditionally. When I give into my cravings, I’m most often blocking off and numbing a part of myself that needs love and attention, which is not aligned with who I want to be. There are many reasons for cravings, for me they often come from feeling out of control, looking for comfort, avoiding making hard decisions or dealing with difficult emotions.

Small disclaimer: In this post I’m talking about cravings that stem from hidden emotions, but there are lots of other kinds of cravings. For example, a lot of my clients report craving sweet foods at night. Does that sound like you? One reason that often happens is because we stay up past when our bodies want to sleep, so we reach for sugary foods to give us energy to stay awake. Same thing happens around 1pm at work when a lot of people tend to crash. Our bodies also crave certain foods when we are low on certain key nutrients. These aren’t the cravings I’m talking about in this post, but stay tuned!

When I reflect on my eating habits over the past week, I can see that a part of me is looking for control. Last week I found out I have a new cyst growing outside of my uterus (you can read more in my post about endometriosis). Initially, what comes up for me is anger and a feeling of being out of control. Eating foods I normally don’t eat is a way for me to lash out against my body, it’s my way of saying, “see, f*** you, I can do whatever I want, you can’t tell me what to do”. Or some version of that.

But, truthfully, it’s just like a little child acting out when (s)he is sad or upset. The child just wants attention and the same is true for me. When I act out with the food I eat, what I’m usually looking for is some self-love, some self-compassion, and permission (from myself) to express what I’m feeling. What’s underneath the anger is actually fear and sadness.

Expressing what’s really going on takes courage and vulnerability. It also takes strength to know that sitting with whatever emotion that is there is not going to break me. In fact, letting the feelings pass through me is what gives me the ability to move forward and act with clarity (instead of letting my cravings run the show).

When I look at cravings this way, they are actually a gift that point me to areas in my life that need attention and action. When I attempt to understand my cravings by moving them to my conscious mind, I’m no longer run by them and they actually teach me a lot abut myself.

What about you? How do you view your cravings? What’s one thing you can do to understand your cravings a little more?

With so much love,

Samantha

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One thought on “Understanding Cravings

  1. Bryn

    I think this was exactly what I needed to read right now. Also sending you lots and lots of mental hugs! Thanks for being so brave and sharing this.

    Reply

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