In my last article I talked about physical conditions that can instigate cravings; however, emotions can also play a role. Emotional cravings can stem from a variety of factors. Let’s look at six of these factors and tips to navigate these cravings.
Boredom may cause us to crave a certain food. But is it really boredom or something else? Identify any other feelings you may be having. Create a list of non-eating activities so you’re prepared when boredom strikes. Also, always have a current “project” you can work on.
A second factor is emotions and stress. Identify your emotion and what you feel you really need. For example, perhaps you notice that when you are angry you tend to crave chips and queso dip. Or when you’re feeling depressed or sad, you find yourself sitting down with a pint of ice cream. What is really lacking in your life that is causing this emotion and the subsequent stress from it?
Perhaps there are deficiencies in your primary food which means all of the aspects of our lives that determine what we put on our plate. The major areas of primary food are spirituality, creativity, finances, career, education, physical activity, home cooking, home environment, relationships, social life, and joy. Brainstorm what is lacking in these areas. Which areas need a boost so you can feel more fulfilled?
The fourth emotional factor is a rigid lifestyle. In my last article I mentioned a flexitarian eating style which allows a person to add in some foods now and then that are not part of their normal pattern. Likewise, it’s okay to do activities that are not part of your normal schedule or skip something you always do at a certain time. For example, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t make it to the gym three days a week, every week. Don’t beat yourself up about it! This will simply stress you out which could trigger a craving.
Self-sabotage and limiting beliefs is the fifth cause of an emotional craving. It is important that we all surround ourselves with supportive people who lift us up on a regular basis. Also, practice self-empowerment. Jot down a list of your strengths and/or positive messages. Post these where you can see them daily.
Lastly, there are societal and cultural influences in our lives that could trigger a craving. Increase awareness of these influences by tuning into your body. Try creating your own eating rituals. For example, make dinner something you look forward to every evening.
Cook and prepare your own food. Set the stage with candles and music, and express gratitude aloud or silently.
The bottom line when it comes to cravings is this: Listen to and trust your body. Explore the “why” behind the craving with curiosity, not judgment. Focus on the big picture to reduce imbalances in primary and secondary food. Empower yourself by connecting your eating habits with your emotions. And find healthy swaps for unhealthy cravings when possible; otherwise, indulge mindfully
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I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals.
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