Drink water first. Wait 15 minutes to see if it passes. Take a walk.
Above are all viable strategies to help manage cravings, but what happens when the craving for something sweet and crunchy just doesn’t go away, even with all the implemented tools? (I just want to note that developing strategies like the ones listed above (hydrating, waiting, walking) are extremely helpful as well in refining your hunger cues).
In today’s blog, I’ll provide some steps on how to honor cravings.
I’m a huge fan of respecting, listening and honoring our bodies needs. Too often, we’re led down a road of “no pain, no gain”, ignore your body, or “tough it out”.
In my opinion, this mentality has propelled us towards a life of being disconnected from our bodies needs and even far more confused at what to do, eat and live.
So, how could we even know what to eat if we don’t recognize how we feel or our own cues?
So first things first, what are cravings?
Well, cravings they are clues. They’re your bodies way of telling you “hey, I’m missing something right now. Can we please address this. I feel unsafe”.
I want to highlight the word “unsafe” because our brain’s main goal in life is to survive. When we feel unsafe, the brain will make sure we receive a signal to respond immediately. Hence, the often quick cue to grab a piece of chocolate.
Our brain is constantly sending our body signals, it’s now our turn to listen and take action on that cue.
When you’re craving “something” I encourage clients to walk themselves through a series of questions:
What taste am I craving? Sweet? Salty? Sour? Bitter? Spicy? Combo?
What temperature? Hot, Cold, medium?
What texture? Crunchy, Smooth, Chewy?
Once you identify what you’re actually craving (especially if it's super specific), my rule of thumb falls into the following:
Experiment with not ignoring them, by walking yourself through the questions listed above
Experiment with honoring them:
What happens if you actually enjoy the crunchy granola, mixed with salted peanut butter and dark chocolate chips?
How do you feel before, during and after? (Bring awareness to emotions that may surface during this step)
Take your time while you enjoy the cravings (Smell it, sit with it, place your utensil down in between each bite, and chew)
Reflect on the following areas below that typically influence cravings (hormones, sleep, stress, current diet):
Allow yourself the choice to enjoy the craving, often times by simply allowing ourselves to we may notice less guilty emotions surface.
Cravings are most common as a result of the following:
Hormonal shifts (menstrual cycle changes. See blog on Chocolate Helps With Cramps, Period)
Poor sleep (Insomnia, Sleep Debt, Restless Sleep)
High stress (Long working hours, too much exercise, lack of movement, frequent travel and being out of a routine)
Your Body Missing Something (current meal plan lacking valuable micronutrients)
I included a video below to walk you through some of the why's and what could cravings be telling us?
In many cases, we notice that cravings peak, then they dip. I’d encourage you to jot down notes, and really take your time to explore your cravings and learn from them.