Decontructing Cravings: Lack of Willpower or Important Messages from the Body?

Decontructing Cravings: Lack of Willpower or Important Messages from the Body? The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving a piece of chocolate, a hamburger, an ice-cream cone or a big bowl of pasta? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I would like to suggest that cravings are not a problem but are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs. The important thing we need to do is to listen to our bodies and try to deconstruct and understand why we are craving what we are craving.
If you are experiencing cravings, perhaps your diet is in need of an essential nutrient or mineral it is not getting or perhaps your lifestyle is too exhausting or stressful. Cravings are your body’s way of trying to correct the imbalance. A craving for carbohydrates or something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or some long-needed rest, a craving for chocolate could mean that you need more antioxidants or you need something to boost your mood or energy, a craving for something salty could mean that you need to add more salty foods to your diet such as miso soup, sea weed salad, and sea salt. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs. Your body knows best and is always trying to create balance.
Products like refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and drugs (which have little or no nutritional value) confuse our body. They throw the body off-balance and can create serious cravings as it tries to get what it needs to restore internal harmony. The more your food is whole and healthy, the easier it is for your body to stay in balance and provide you with a happier, healthier life. No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.
The next time you have a craving, be accepting of it but before you give in take a look at what your body really wants. When you have to have a hamburger, do you really need more iron or are you stuck in old patterns? Do you really need the afternoon ice cream cone or Starbucks coffee or are you just running yourself ragged and need a pick me up? Do you really need that chocolate bar or do you just need to lower your stress and give your body more rest and relaxation?

Try these tips next time you have a craving:

– Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. Try to close your eyes and breathe deeply for a minute and ask what it is that you want.

– Desconstruct your craving and eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you are craving sweets, before you succumb to your craving try to eat some rich, creamy yogurt, a banana or add more sweet or root vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes to your diet.

– What is out of balance in your life? Are you stressed and reaching for food out of comfort, routine or boredom? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving? If you just have to have your afternoon latte, are you running at too fast a pace and need to slow down? Are you getting enough rest and sleep? Take the time to really think about your life and what you need to feel more in balance.
– When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it but take notice of how you feel afterwards. Do you feel better or worse after you eat it? If you have been craving a steak, for example, and have one and feel better then perhaps you need to add more iron-rich leafy greens to your diet such as spinach, broccoli or kale or perhaps you just needed that burger. If you feel worse, however, then realize that this was just a craving and make a different choice the next time.

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