Deconstructing Cravings

From September 2010:

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 ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water, or more love in your life. 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. However, products like refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and drugs (which have little or no nutritional value) are confusing to the body. They throw the body off-balance and can create serious cravings as your body 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 life, 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, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness. Try these tips to respond to your body:

• Have a glass of water and wait ten minutes.

• Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.

• What is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?

• When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect. Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.

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