So I’ve talked a lot about “giving into” cravings as a good thing. Because it is! It shows your body that you are listening to it and respect its desires. I believe your body is an extension of yourself, which means that your highest version of yourself is listening and paying attention when you treat s/he the way s/he wants.
As you read this, you are probably thinking about how we might all be fat if we sat around and gave into every craving we ever had. And TO AN EXTENT, I might agree with you . But hear me out. Are the “cravings” you are listening to your true cravings?
I am getting a bit ahead of myself, but cravings are such a loaded topic. They mean different things to different people. Usually people are afraid to “give into” cravings because they may not trust themselves. Or they think they “shouldn’t”. Or they “know better”. Or because it goes against what everyone around them is doing. And I have been there in the past. It is important to note your mentality around cravings…I truly believe that our mindset around restriction is an important reflection on how we take care of ourselves. And most of all, we need to be listening to the true cravings from ourselves.
I find that there are a lot of fears around cravings. These often include:
- “But Lucy, I am not healthy for eating [xyz]!” Okay, my friend, almost all foods can fit into a healthy diet. Take a look at your whole diet. If you are consistently eating foods that make you feel good and align with your body, having a treat once in a while (i.e. when you have your craving) is only going to help. Mental health is just as real and relevant and has much more of an effect on our bodies than we realize. Just eat the dang fries. And burger. Give yourself the permission to enjoy the experience without guilt or shame.
- “Once I start, I will never stop” The second you start telling yourself you can’t have something is the second it starts to cast a spell on you. You know the feeling. It happens for food and non-food things alike. So don’t tell yourself no. BUT also make sure you say yes to the thing that will serve you, that you DO want. Like I that one time I really wanted a cookie, but I also wanted less-acidic foods, so I made sure to order a salad with lots of veggies. The cookie would taste awesome (okay for the record, that salad was delicious also because of local veggies!), and the salad helped me not get a cold.
- “This will make me feel bad” Then how can we work with it? If you know something is going to make you feel bad, is there a way to satisfy your craving with something that will either make you not hate yourself afterward? Or will you be satisfied with a smaller portion. Or is today the day you just go for it with gusto and NOT judge yourself?
- “I will be judged for eating/not eating this” Let me just say, f*ck what anybody thinks! You are the one living in your body. You are the one who knows you best, and listening to yourself despite what is going on around you is one of the most powerful actions. But do not forget the most important question with this fear: are you judging yourself? Sometimes we think other people are judging us, when it is really originating in our own head.
I am not making a case to tell people to not eat healthy, because feeling good is the real goal here. And healthy food typically plays a major role in feeling good. The point, particularly with cravings you may think are “bad”, is to not beat yourself up about not being perfect. And who said cravings mean eating unhealthily? They aren’t always for foods, drinks, behaviors that make us feel bad. Sometimes we just listen to the ones that we think of as negative because they typically are easier to hear and/or are easier to act on.
What about the desires–the cravings–you experience for the things that ultimately serve you?
You have probably had cravings to rest, take care of yourself, eat salad, green smoothie, or fruit, or that UNsweetened thing. You have probably had a craving for something different than your friends are eating. I often have cravings for going to sleep early and to workout. Most people would argue those behaviors are quite healthy, but we don’t sit around stressing about these types of cravings. They just may be harder to listen to because they take a bit more work than reaching for the
We humans are just so amazing at hyper focusing in the negative that we only see “bad” cravings. But instead of saying any craving is “good” or “bad”, just say that IT IS. When you take away the qualifier that makes it a subjective thing, you take away the judgement.
And let’s be clear, the key is to listen to your true cravings.
When talking about that desire for a food…take a second to observe what is going on. Are you truly craving personal connection? Are you looking for something to calm your nerves? Are you simply bored and looking for excitement? Don’t judge yourself! Simply ask yourself “why” more than 3 times and see what comes up. Then decide if you want that craving. Whether you do or not, make sure to serve yourself by honoring your true, deeper craving as well.
Lots of love.