What if your cravings were your allies, instead of something to war against?
What if the messages from your body, for food, sleep, sexual intimacy, movement, and inspiration, were showing you the happiest, healthiest path forward in your unique life?
After working for over 12 years with nutrition clients around the globe, I’ve seen that the best way to help people create a diet and lifestyle that gets them the energy and body they desire is to listen to their body and cravings.
Cravings come from four root sources: bacterial, nutritional, emotional, and physical. Bacterial imbalance in the digestive system can cause raging sugar cravings to feed the yeasts and fungi that need carbohydrates to survive. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies lead the body to crave foods that provide a burst of energy, or a reliable hit of missing nutrients. Emotional cravings for joy, connection, and calm can result in yearnings for sugar and fat to help calm the physical manifestations of fear, anger, and anxiety. As human-animals, we forget that our bodies are designed to thrive with consistent, enlivening movement. And we are built to seek physical pleasure. But our sedentary, physically disconnected lifestyle keeps us from touching each other, or finding joy in moving our bodies.
We have been enculturated or “brainwashed” out of connection with our body, and feel ashamed of our desires and cravings. The overlap between sensual pleasures from food and companionship get us twisted into knots and we replace food for real intimacy.
After my divorce, I finally began listening to my own body’s cravings for meat, after being a strict vegan for over ten years, and my cravings for physical connection and intimacy with a lover. Rather than judging myself for breaking dietary and cultural rules about what is appropriate for a young mother and health coach to eat and experience, I listened to my body and gave “her” what she was asking for: men, and meat.
As I’ve coached hundreds of women in the last few years to start listening to their own bodies, I’ve seen joyous results in healing and lives transformed: and end to physical pain and a lifetime of body shame, new career possibilities followed, and marriages transformed.
Our bodies speak our truth to us, in subtle, and not-so subtle ways, every moment. Our minds are filled with other people’s agendas, religious rules, and media-induced judgments about how we should look, love, and live. We need to begin listening to the wisdom that emanates from our own bodies. Your body does not lie. It is incapable of invention. Be willing to listen in, and discover what your cravings really mean.
Top 3 Ways To Turn Your Cravings Into Your To-Do List
- Next time you have a food craving, stop and close your eyes: what is your body wanting right now, besides food? Are you tired? Stressed? Frustrated? Angry? What is your desired state of being? What can you do besides eat to feel rested, relaxed, or hopeful? Do that now.
- When choosing your next meal, take into account how you want to feel over the next twelve hours. If you need to be focused, try eating lean protein and cooked greens. If you need to be creative and outgoing, what foods will help you get into that headspace? If you want to feel calm, and relaxed, perhaps it’s best to avoid the sugary cupcake and instead try chamomile tea with a baked apple and cinnamon. The key here is to eat foods that will help you feel how you want to feel, in a healthy way.
- Write down the top 10 things you desire for your life in 2015. Now circle the three most frightening or challenging and take action on the one that you know would get you closer to creating your big life’s vision.
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