Honoring Your Cravings
How many times have you heard messages that have made you feel afraid of your cravings? Language like ‘kick your cravings to the curb’ is everywhere + it makes it so hard to trust ourselves.
I want to offer you a different perspective — what if cravings were a good thing?
Cravings truly are helpful gifts in the form of messages from your body asking for an important need to be fulfilled. Learning how to listen to + honor your cravings rather than ‘curb them’ is one of the best ways to create a loving, caring, + healthy relationship with yourself.
Here are a few simple questions that can help you to do just that:
1] Am I feeling deprived?
The three most common kinds of deprivation that can trigger a craving are physical deprivation, mental deprivation, + emotional deprivation.
Physical deprivation can occur when you’re physically not eating enough either in general or more specifically of a particular macronutrient [i.e. not eating enough carbohydrates].
Mental deprivation can occur when you’ve got a lot of food rules swirling around in your brain, even if you aren’t acting them out! I talk with so many women who tell me they aren’t dieting + are still having intense cravings which often lead to binges. We often discover that they’ve got major food police talk going on in their mind [i.e. ‘that food is bad + you shouldn’t eat it’].
Lastly, emotional deprivation can occur when we’re not allowing ourselves to fully feel our feelings or to process emotions in healthy ways. We might be scared of a certain emotion, unsure of how to process it, or uncomfortable experiencing it so we push it down, distract from it, or numb out when what we really crave is to feel it.
This question will help you identify where you’re feeling deprived so you can nurture that accordingly.
2] Do I need more rest, pleasure, and//or connection — on or off my plate?
After coaching hundreds of women, I’ve noticed three main cravings coming up: rest, pleasure, + connection. I started referring to these three as the ‘The Craving Trifecta.’ We need rest, pleasure + connection, in our relationship with food + beyond. We can crave these on our plates + off, so it’s super helpful to be continually checking in with all three areas.
You might find yourself really craving pleasure. In your relationship with food, those could look like eating more foods that you really enjoy, cooking a recipe for fun, or eating in social situations with people who you truly enjoy spending time with! Outside of food, you might be craving pleasure in the form of non-school or work related activities — like a dance party or an art class or a just-because marathon of your favorite TV show. Enjoy!
3] If this wasn’t about food, what would it be about?
Have you ever found yourself totally not hungry, but standing in front of the fridge, opening + closing the door over + over again? You’re craving something but you just don’t know what it is. Fingers crossed it’s going to appear magically in there!
Sometimes we have a craving for food when we aren’t hungry at all. A non-food need will never fully be met with food, no matter how many times we try [and no matter how many times we check the fridge].
This simple question of ‘if this wasn’t about food, what would it be about?’ can help us dig below the surface to uncover what it is that we are truly needing in that moment.
4] Is it actually just this simple?
Sometimes our cravings really are THAT simple. Sometimes a craving for a donut really is just a craving for a donut. Go for it!
The more we deny what we need the stronger our cravings get. Rather than fearing them or trying to shut them down, use these questions to connect to + honor with what you truly need. Once you figure out what you need, set a date with yourself to make it happen!