26 Jul Cravings – listen to what they’re telling you!
What do you crave?
With me, sometimes it’s just chocolate.
Sometimes it’s vague, just something nice, say after lunch, or in the evening
Sometimes it’s something, anything, sweet, to give me an energy boost
Cravings are bad, right? So, in the past, I tried to ignore them, but generally ended up having whatever (as the cravings just got louder), felt bad afterwards, you know, giving in and all that, no willpower etc.
While I wasn’t concerned really about eating at those times, what did bother me was that they rarely satisfied me for long. Yes there was a short term feel-good factor but it didn’t last. That bothered me. Alot.
I had read an interesting article in ‘Todays Dietician’ about mindful eating and how it has helped people effectively heal their relationship with food and eating (‘maybe I can do something about cravings which seem to never go away’); how effective it has been for people who regularly overeat to the point of unhealthy weight gain, to reduce their overeating episodes and find their natural weight – and maintain it in the long term, long after the mindful eating programme was completed. That interested me as research shows overwhelmingly how conventional diets don’t work in the long term with 90% people regaining their weight within 1-5 years after a diet – and even gaining more.
That was a year ago. Since then I’ve completed a 12 module programme ‘Mindful Eating for Healthcare Professionals’; a self study programme ‘Core concepts of mindful eating for Professionals’; read lots of books and studies by leaders in this field; became a professional member of the Center for Mindful Eating for professional development; held my first 2 workshops on mindful eating… and gradually introduced it into my own life and gently into client clinics for clients wanting to break unhealthy eating habits or stay motivated to have a healthy diet and lifestyle….
Even at this early stage of introducing techniques to my clients, here’s what they’ve noticed:
- they’ve been able to reduce, even drop unhelpful habits – without feeling deprived!
- As a result they often eat less and start to ease towards their healthy weight, and most importantly, not feel they’re depriving themselves, just feeling healthier and more energetic,
- Feeling more in control of what they eat and be in a better position to make healthier choices moment by moment, without needing to follow rigid plans
- Understand – really understand in a profound way, – why they want to lose weight and develop an inner motivation that puts them in the driving seat of maintaining a healthier lifestyle and diet for the long term
For me, here’s what I found
Craving sweet/ chocolate / something nice. I discovered that on a physical level, sometimes I needed that extra sugar boost so I went for it – I happen to love very dark chocolate/raisins/cinnamon/full fat greet yoghurt/nuts/coconut shreds/fresh fruit…a combo of that worked wonders for me to get that sugar boost into me
Sometimes, I realised I didn’t need something sweet/nice… but my ‘pleasure’ tank was running low. Maybe I’d had a day of computer work, rushing around, little real human interaction, little rest etc. and my body was demanding it in other ways. I realised that when I was busy with client clinics which I love, or I was meeting a friend for coffee, or at a conference and chatting to ‘my tribe’, I had no cravings.. my pleasure tank was full for the day. This insight made me realise I needed to plan my days so that I had more balance and this has involved some changes which have been positive for me in so many other ways
Often, it was a small rest I needed, like at mid afternoon
But most importantly for me, when I really listened to what my body needed and responded to those needs, my cravings were satisfied and my body and mind were humming…
Your cravings are your body’s way of trying to tell you something and your body will probably keep yelling at you until you take notice and see where in your life something’s out of balance (for some clients, it is actually just dietary deficiencies, so we always start there) and work from there.
In October, or late September depending on venue availability I’ll be running workshops in Carrigaline, Douglas, Ballincollig on ‘Your Healthy Weight: the Non-Diet Approach to Weight Management’ to explore and share tools and practices that have helped me and others in developing healthier relationships to food and eating, that have guided us towards finding more balance and reaching our goals.
If you want to hear more about these workshops, email / text me and I’ll confirm when the details are finalised.