Have you ever wondered where your food craving is coming from?
If you want to lose weight, you look at food cravings as your enemy. So you automatically focus on how to fight back and forget to ask yourself the above question.
But what if food cravings reflect your feelings?
Of course, your cravings may be physical. It may be lacking some nutrition or minerals. But if you eat pretty healthy and the specific cravings are still there, there is a possibility that you need more than a diet of vegetables. Your body is an indicator of the wellness of your mind and soul. So if you are an emotional eater, that means you need to nourish the two.
Before I explain how to nourish your mind and soul, let's take a look at some common foods that people tend to crave and how they could affect you mentally.
Extreme expanding food. It provides lightness and elevations in mood and relief from stagnation. However, it also causes a rapid elevation in serotonin followed by rapid declines. Feeling depressed, low energy, anxiety, and loss of concentration.
It helps release serotonin in the brain, which produces a feeling of pleasure. It gives you a sense of lightness, expansiveness, comfort, and relaxation, especially when you are stressed or sad. But if you eat too much, you'll feel high at first and then come down, which feels like fatigue or even depression if you are sensitive.
Extremely contracting food. The more you eat them, the tighter your body becomes. It gives you a feeling of strength, aggressiveness, and increased physical and mental power. But too much salt makes you feel foggy and can cause insomnia.
It releases serotonin in the brain, so it makes you feel more relaxed. But if you eat too much of it, it releases even more serotonin and causes drowsiness.
As an emotional eater, I know how much food craving is related to my mental state. I overcame my eating disorder more than 15 years ago, but even after all these years, I still experience my cravings changing depending on how I feel.
When I go to Japan to visit my family, I crave sweets like crazy. Usually, I'm not too fond of sweets, so I know it has something to do with my mental condition. When I go there, I get nervous, and my body gets tight. Even though I grew up in Japan, I feel like a foreigner every time I go there because I've lived here in America for more than half of my life.
As defined above, sugar is extremely expanding food. It provides lightness and relief from stagnation. So it makes sense why I crave sweets when I go to Japan. What I want is to feel relaxed and light.
Another instance when I've noticed unusual craving is when my partner is out of town. If he is away for more than a month, I tend to crave salty foods. I usually don't care for salty food. As defined above, salt gives a sense of strength. I don't get overly worried or anxious, but I definitely want to feel strong when he is away because I'm responsible for taking care of the household and our four fur babies by myself.
What I often notice with my clients is that those looking for the love of their lives tend to crave chocolate, which makes sense because chocolate produces a feeling of pleasure.
Our body sends signals when it lacks something. They may come out differently, so we often misunderstand what they mean or dismiss them. Cravings are one of them. So if we start treating cravings as a signal, we can be more aligned with our bodies and aware of our emotional needs.
So how can we figure out the code for these signals?
You can use the list above as a reference to figure out why you crave what you crave and then think about what it means to you.
- What does it mean to have more pleasure in your life?
- What does it mean to feel more relaxed?
- What does it mean to increase mental power?
Once you get to the core of what you truly crave, you can come up with an action plan to fulfill it.
- Giving yourself a day off for a beauty treatment once a week.
- Meditating everyday.one every week. the sky every time you go outside.
- Spending an hour alone every week
- Meditating everyday
- Snuggling with your fur babies or someone you love.
Whatever it is you decide to do, don't just do it. Do it in an aware state as if you are giving yourself a gift. The more you do it, the more you feel taken care of, and you will soon start noticing the changes.
You can't always control your emotions or feelings, but you can control your food cravings by listening to your body and nurturing your mind and soul.
There is always an answer to why we do what we do. All you need to do is to be more mindful.