Before we dive into today’s post, I want to preface it with the following: food cravings are not a sign that something has gone horribly wrong.
Granted, we’ve been led to believe that cravings are things you must avoid at all costs. Run from. Pre-empt. Despise. Control. And ultimately, crush.
I beg to differ.
With beliefs like that, no wonder diets fail, people fall off the wagon (there is no wagon, by the way, but I’ll leave that for another post) and the common sentiment, “Fuck it, I’ll get back on track on Monday” is so widespread amongst people looking to lose weight and get healthy!
Here’s the deal sweet friends: cravings do not have the power to consume you, sabotage you, determine your success or dictate your happiness.
Instead, think of your cravings as DATA not DIRECTIONS.
In order to help you decode your cravings, I’m going to talk to you about the five types of cravings that I've identified for myself, how to distinguish between them, and what to do about each. Because of how many different types of cravings there are (it isn’t always about nutritional cravings as you might have been lead to believe), I’ve broken this post up into a 4-part series. What can I say? Once I get going on a topic, I can’t stop!).
In Part 1 on this series on cravings, I’m going to talk about Emotional Cravings. The way this information is presented may be totally different than anything you’ve ever seen before and in my opinion is a HUGE missed opportunity when it comes to helping people find freedom around food and sustainable weight loss.
‘Emotional hunger’ is what is commonly referred to as emotional eating and is most often triggered by feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion. When we are emotionally triggered, we experience an alienation from ourselves and reach to food as a source of comfort, control and a way to cope.
When you think of this type of hunger, ask yourself: what feeling or emotion am I trying to feed with food?
Emotional eating is best understood as the attempt to access positive feelings or not fully experience our lives through the consumption of food instead. And the reason why we don’t want to face the truth of our lives? Because we don’t want to experience any type of negative emotion.
We feed ourselves when we’re stressed, sad, overwhelmed or bored.
We feed ourselves when our needs are left unmet.
We feed ourselves to distract ourselves from the pain of the past.
But the truth is, food can never really fill the emptiness that you feel inside because it isn’t a food issue at all. The distraction, the dopamine hit, the comfort, the semblance of control—it’s all temporary.
What To Do Instead:
Become aware of and acknowledge times that you are eating to soothe or silence negative emotions and understand that we are not entitled to feel happiness and pleasure 100% of the time. And that’s not just me being a Negative Nelly, that is simply the nature of being human! You should expect to feel negative emotion at least 50% of the time and if you are willing to feel any negative emotion (rather than avoid, distract, or numb out), it has no power over you and as a result, you will have no need to eat to buffer these emotions. This is actually GREAT news!
I know this concept may seem a little mind bendy, but just trust me with this one. And if you’re ready to stop emotional eating and have freedom with food, your body and your emotional life, get in touch with me and we can talk about how I can help you do just that.