For many years, I hated my food cravings. I blamed them for why I could never stick to a diet program and I was convinced that they were ruining my life. If I could somehow acquire more willpower, I could beat the cravings and finally be happy.
I didn’t like feeling controlled by food and I certainly didn’t like the way I felt after I gave into my cravings. For so long I thought I was broken, that there was some shortage in my brain leading to my complete lack of willpower. I felt ashamed of my constant obsessive thoughts about food.
But underneath all the shame and guilt, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more - something deeper going on. Maybe it wasn’t even about the food.
It wasn’t until I started to become curious about my cravings instead of hating them, that things started to change. Cravings started to become tools that opened the door to more joy and a greater level of self awareness with food, and in my body.
With that in mind, below are a few different ways to work with your cravings and ultimately use them as a tool to experience more joy and peace in your life.
1. Become curious.
I had to shift my focus from feeding the cravings to feeding the deeper emotional need. Here’s the practical application of that: After I taught my first yoga class, I went home and immediately opened the fridge. I wasn’t hungry, but I wanted to eat. In that moment, I stopped and said to myself, “Wait. This is interesting. Why am I searching the fridge right now”? I left the kitchen, sat on my bed and thought about it. I instantly realized that I was a new yoga teacher and I didn’t feel like my first yoga class was good enough ... and that I wasn’t good enough.
2. Question your thoughts.
Your feelings are real, but the thoughts they’re based on might not be. So in the example above, my feelings were based on the thought that I wasn’t good enough, which is not true. We have a tendency to be so harsh on ourselves and tell ourselves things we would never say to other people. It’s important to recognize the negative judgments floating around in your head and then simply remind yourself of the power you have to choose again for different thoughts. Feeling your feelings wont crush you, it will liberate you.
3. Remind yourself that you’re worthy.
This step is really important. Just because you have food cravings or you emotionally eat does not mean that you’re broken and in need of fixing. I repeat: you are not broken. You are worthy and I suggest you remind yourself of that daily. Even if you don’t believe it now, with enough repetition you will.
So whether you have a craving for chocolate and feel out of control, or it’s late at night and you just want to eat everything and anything, the most powerful thing you can do for yourself right now is stop looking at your cravings as bad and instead see them as helpful guidance.
With that shift in mentality, you’ll naturally become curious and want to listen to the wisdom coming through your body. When that starts to happen, your cravings indeed become a blessing.
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