GOT CRAVINGS? Trust me, you are not alone.
As a mom, I ALWAYS want to put my best food forward.
But there are times (and maybe you can relate) when I have felt these intense cravings that lead me to grab for M&M’s or Ben & Jerry’s or some good, intensely dark chocolate.
And none of those things are “bad” when eaten moderately, but when I eat them out of an emotional craving, the result is nothing but shame.
And shame is no good when it comes to motherhood.
Shame makes me withdrawal from my kids and husband. Get preoccupied with my own thoughts. Become a bit snippy with the ones I love most.
And do my loves deserve that? Absolutely not!
I am grateful, though, that I started on this path of gaining health quite a few years ago because I have learned a thing or two about how to better handle those cravings.
Perhaps most importantly, I have learned to explore from where those cravings come.
I stare them right in the face, recognize how awfully uncomfortable they are and do everything I can to deal with the EMOTION and PURPOSE of those cravings rather than going on auto-pilot and reaching in my freezer for a solution.
Well, I do this most of the time ;-).
So here is my interpretation of where cravings can come from:
1. A True Nutritional Deficit
Of course cravings can come from a nutritional deficit. In this case, I think about a few things:
- Did this hunger come on gradually? If so, it could be true need for calories to keep your body functioning properly.
- Have I had enough water to drink today? If not, it could be thirst. I recommend consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water each day to ensure proper hydration.
- Am I getting the nutrients I need? I ensure I get the nutrients I need by following a plan that helps me consume enough from each food group in the proper portion sizes given my health goals. I also drink a nutrient-rich shake every day called Shakeology, which I highly recommend.
If your cravings came on suddenly, you are sure you have had enough water and you are confident your body has the nutrients it needs, consider this:
2. What are These Cravings Telling Me about Desire?
If you are anything like me, those cravings come roaring in during times of intense emotion rather than true hunger.
Because of this, I am convinced that our cravings serve a purpose, yet we tend to deal with them in all the wrong ways.
I truly wish I had more insight during my loneliest days because it was then that my cravings were the strongest. I fed those cravings with food and then felt awful shame as a result.
Today? Today I would take a closer look at those cravings and ask myself what those cravings are telling me about what I desire most.
During those lonely days, that craving would tell me that I desired good company, a shoulder to lean on, a friend to laugh and cry with, a person who I could be myself around.
And if I had identified that craving as a desire rather than a need for entirely too much Ben & Jerry’s, I may have actually been able to do something about the true desire and not harmed my health in the process. I would have called my Beth. Or gone to a church event. Or travelled to visit my mom or sister.
Today when I have those cravings, it more often tells me I need a break! A break for myself to rest, drink some tea, and quite frankly, be alone. I am a mama, don’t you know! Breaks are too few and far between!
So here are my two cents about cravings:
- Figure out whether it is true hunger stemming from a nutritional deficit or dehydration.
- If not, consider what the craving is telling you about what you desire most.
- Ride the wave. Let yourself feel the discomfort of the craving. Ride it out. It is in riding out the hard that we will gain the awareness we need to deal with the desire.
- Brainstorm what you can do to deal with that intense emotion.
- Take action!
For me, those intense cravings that come on suddenly typically point to a relational unrest.
I am either lonely or in need of peace in a relationship that matters to me. I have come to a place now where I have the courage to do something about that relational unrest. I call a friend, initiate a hard conversation or even go so far as to start a community such as the Raising Generations Today Mom’s Meet-Up I am now hosting.
Moms – you are WORTH the courage it takes to deal with those cravings and intense emotions. Your kids are WORTH getting the very best of you, instead of the shame-riddled version.
Can I encourage you today to dig a little deeper? To not stew in those feelings of “What’s wrong with me?” But instead to reach out to a friend, do a little soul-searching, or find a time and place to be still and pay attention to what your heart is telling you?
I pray today that you have a person to connect with on this, but if you do not, please contact me. I am happy to process through those intense cravings with you so that YOU can live the very best version of you, for your sake and that of your children.