All of my life I’ve felt like I had demons in my head telling me to eat. Those demons were my food cravings.
Each and every day they were a reminder that I couldn’t be trusted with food.
When I’d finally give in, I’d eat to excess and feel awful. Physically I’d be stuffed and bloated. Emotionally I’d be so ashamed.
Monday morning was my reset. The day that I’d get control.
Except that the control only lasted a few days at best. Often I’d be back into the food by Monday afternoon.
So how did that change for me? Why is this no longer my normal?
It changed when I stopped seeing my cravings as these awful demons, and started to see them as compassionate confidents.
I realized that my cravings for foods that didn’t serve me, but actually harmed me, must have a purpose. Otherwise, why would they still be there?
Think about it. Why would I continue to engage in a behaviour that didn’t give me some kind of benefit? That doesn’t make sense.
At first, I acted like a rebellious teenager. Even though I’d realized that the food cravings were a compassionate voice, I’d still yell and rebel when those voices tried to guide me. I’d push them away and act out (usually by restricting my food severely or by overeating).
Until one day, after I’d overeaten, I sat there bloated and uncomfortable and ashamed, I didn’t want to do this anymore. So I said “OK crazy food brain – what is it that you’re trying to tell me?”.
What I heard was that I was tired. Or overwhelmed. Or scared.
Each time I got a different message with the same theme.
I needed to be nurtured. I needed to be comforted. I needed to feel loved.
Sometimes it was something leading up to the cravings. Often for me it was lack of sleep or an over-scheduled life.
Other times it was something that was coming up. A presentation. An event.
No matter what the cause, it became clear that my food cravings were me trying to take care of myself.
That was hard pill to swallow.
It was easier to make it the foods fault. To tell myself that I was a food addict or that it was these deceitful food companies putting addictive ingredients in there.
Looking within is a lot more uncomfortable. And it’s worth every moment of discomfort.
Now when I have a food craving, I have choices.
I can eat some of what I’m craving. I can do it sanely. I can do it moderately.
And when enjoying that bit of food doesn’t satisfy, then I can see the continued food craving as a gift.
It means that my stress has surpassed my ability to cope with it.
It means that something needs my attention.
And just like when a baby starts to cry we go down the list “Hungry? Wet? Dirty? Tired?” I too can go down my list.
Am I getting enough sleep? Am I getting enough rest? Am I moving my body enough? Am I acknowledging and dealing with my feelings?
Once the real reason for the food cravings is unveiled, they go away. Just like that.
P.S. Watch the video on YouTube for more Food Cravings goodness