Cravings are a strange thing.
Other than a uncomfortable point in pregnancy, who would otherwise ever eat pickles and ice cream together? There’s no explanation for this other than pregnancy hormones right?
Cravings go so much deeper than a common want by creating this unsatiable need that can seem so illogical. We cannot explain why we have some of these cravings or where they even came from most of the time and yet they exist. They fill our thoughts, take over our body and it simply seem insane.
Somewhere along the way something we discovered and enjoyed became a want and eventually turned into this thing we cannot stop thinking about. They can even become mashed together to create weird combinations that no one can explain but they are deeply satisfying to us when the need arises.
What is a craving?
Cravings can seem like mysterious alien invasions for how they take over our body. In a way this is not far off but the alien is actually something already existing in our body. When you are not in alignment of your mind-body-spirit, hearing the voice of a craving is alien to you for you one thing.
For another, it is beacon sending a message which is also alien if you are not used to it.
Consider a lighthouse on the shore. At night when ships cannot see or it is very foggy, the lighthouse shines a light to help guide. The same thing is happening in your body when there is a craving. It is telling you what it needs and where to go. Sometimes loudly, sometimes softly but it is a message that is asking for response. Ignoring it causes a crash or in most cases irritability, depletion of energy and other things that could be called a crash.
So do we just give in to the constant cravings because its what
our alien lighthouse is telling us to do?
Until you get to the bottom of the craving, they will continue to come up. Giving in to them is sometimes necessary to keep our sanity, solve a physical problem or simply keep going. Just like an alien invasion, ignoring a craving just makes them louder, more invasive and more demanding.
More importantly, is understanding why we are getting the cravings we are and fulfilling that larger need. Underneath every craving is a specific need that is actually what needs to be supported. The craving is just the body’s way to telling you that need exist.
This is where cravings get tricky. If you crave cookies and you give in and eat cookies, the craving goes away. You go about your day until the craving comes up again. It can seem logical to think cookies is what you needed. However, the cookies were just the beacon. Under that craving for cookies is actually what your body or emotional being is really needing. In this case with cookies, it can be an emotional need for comfort and depending on type of cookie it can have other meanings as well. It can be associated with anger if the cookies you want are crunchy. Physically, your body could be craving sugar which is an addictive chemical. So that simple cookie, can have a myriad of meaning.
Cravings are simply codes to decipher. In doing so, we unlock their true meaning and fill the deeper need allowing us to rebalance in mind-body-spirit. – Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary
Until you unlock the code to your craving, it is necessary to give yourself grace and forgiveness.
This may mean it is alright to give yourself permission to have a craving fulfilled with what is calling your name. Depending on why you are having this craving it could be a vitamin deficiency, emotional trauma or other severe situation. Cravings help us soothe in these situations. Restricting and depriving yourself may make things worse.
Now, there are cravings that are part of our habits and routines. These are equally hard to break up with and understand. Behaviorally we may not realize what we are doing or how much ice cream we are actually eating. It is easy to underplay these types of cravings as normal routine.
From my own experience working with others, these types of cravings are associated with behavior certainly as well as mood and energy. Since these are part of our routine our energy is usually lower at these times and we can turn to cravings such as that afternoon coffee or evening ice cream as part of our body’s response to stress.
Realistically improving cravings takes time
The one thing that will absolutely not work in breaking free of a craving for good is restriction and deprivation. First this is diet thinking that has been proven time and again to not offer long term health results for weight or cravings. Secondly, it disconnects your mind from your body introducing the possibility of negative self-talk.
Instead I prefer a more balanced and aligned approach that involves all of your being. It is a much more loving approach that not only helps with craving resolution but they also help with long term goals we set in our health. It is not fast or glamours but effective at long term changes that leave us healthier, happier and free of cravings cryptic messages.
The approach I coach clients to use when breaking up with cravings includes these strategies:
Journal what you are thinking, feeling, where you are and all the details about the situation you are in when a craving strikes. This provides clues as to what is triggering in your emotions, body and environment so it can be addressed
Honor your body’s needs. By working with a natural health practitioner you can identify vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can trigger cravings. Supporting these needs with natural whole food and plant based supplements gains us nutritional improvements that can change what types of cravings we experience.
Have grace & forgiveness for yourself. It is ok to give in to a craving. As you work through changes to improve your health and well-being to address the underlying cause it is alright to indulge when needed. Now that doesn’t mean go wild but you don’t have to completely swear off what it is you are craving. Use this approach to monitor how your craving changes, how often it comes up and how you responded. You may even realize you want less of it because it is not forbidden.
Apply stress management techniques such as tapping, exercise, meditation and etc. A lot of cravings can be the result of stress responses occurring in our body. When stressed, we quickly deplete energy and vitamin levels as our body tries to respond, support and help us through those times. Once depleted, the craving will trigger. Recognizing and responding to stress and its impact to our body will help reduce the craving
Notice what is not on this list that you may have typically heard to try. Things like ignoring the craving and find an alternative or distraction. Drink tons of water, which you should drink lots of water every day, but not just for the purpose of working through deprivation of a craving. Depriving yourself of the very thing that is ringing loudly in your body and mind. These approaches are cruel and unusual punishment to yourself. By doing them, we disconnect our mind-body-spirit where we feel like any part of ourself is working against us.
Any health change works best when approached with a desire to learn how to love ourselves where we are in that moment. Sometimes that is a strong, disciplined and controlled being and other times it is sobbing and blubbery in a bag of chips. Both are real and both deserve to be understood. – Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary
There is also no magic timetable for when cravings go away. We are each unique in our design and that means we have individual personal needs for our health. Building solutions around that design is where we see changes in how we approach all of our health going forward. It also helps us make progress on desired changes in our health, making them faster and longer lasting.
It is possible to curb cravings when we understand what they are truly cravings for in our diet, environment or something else. There are a vast amount of cravings that are about low energy, depleted emotional states and even boredom. Decoding these messages empowers us to make changes that not only get rid of the craving but help us live our best life every day. When we think we can just ignore it we are essential blocking our own power and creating our own limitation in health and living.
To work with me on supporting your cravings, setup a consultation with me at dragonspitapothecary.com