(This article was previously published in the September edition of A Healthy You).
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. It’s an amazing body – always striving to maintain perfect balance.
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. Sometimes, you might just need a hug! The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs.
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, 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 10 minutes.
- Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.
- Reflect on what may be 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.