When it comes to food, cravings can be your body telling you what you really need. So why does my body keep craving chocolate you may ask?
Is it that I’m craving the deeply nutritious cocoa bean? Maybe and maybe not. There are also psychological cravings associated with food (and any other thing we crave).
Perhaps ask yourself “What is it I really want (or need) right now?”. You may find when you are walking around like a zombie looking for chocolate that what you are really looking for is a hug or maybe you are exhausted and looking for some quick energy. Take notice of what is happening in your life at that moment and with practise you will be able to gauge what it is you are really looking for. Then try and satisfy the real need.
If you are looking for energy, water or a nap usually helps with that. If you are looking for a hug, get one or phone someone who will lift your spirits. If you have just had an argument you may crave the crunchiness of chips to assuage your anger but what you really need is some resolution of the issue or someone to talk to.
By the way I’m not telling you not to eat chocolate or whatever it is you are wanting to eat, that’s not my job and anyway I don’t believe in forbidden foods. What I am saying is look at what the emotional trigger is behind your cravings and work with that. If you have many unresolved issues and food is your vice you will most likely find yourself running towards the fridge or corner café several times a day even if you are not hungry.
Another reason why cravings can be so hard to deal with is that they are also aggravated by the chemical response. For example: carbohydrates and cheese together reacts with the pleasure centre of the brain. Therefore if you don’t enjoy your job or school, you will find yourself craving toasted cheese sandwiches, pizza or pasta every afternoon when you get home*. This becomes something that your body starts to crave whenever you need a boost of pleasure. There are other ways to get a similar boost for example exercise or a warm bath also reacts with pleasure chemicals in the brain.
Whatever your craving is, it’s never a simple thing to just ignore it. After all we are designed that way. I think cravings aren’t meant to be ignored but addressed instead. If you work at resolving the underlying issue, maybe you’ll only crave the particular food now and then instead of every day.
*Doreen Virtue wrote a book called Constant Cravings which gives more details about this if you are interested.
Note: I have only discussed food cravings here but all cravings such as smoking or alcohol can be addressed. Obviously the chemical hold of nicotine, alcohol and other drugs are very strong and need a lot of intervention.