The Secret Craving Cure
Dearest Craving Curers,
Or maybe Seekers of Craving Cures would be a more appropriate address if you curiously navigated your way to this post.
Something that comes up a lot in a large majority of my discussions with others (whether personal or professional) surrounding food is cravings.
“I can’t ever seem to want to eat things that I know are good for me because I’m constantly craving *insert any food you typically crave but wouldn’t define as ‘healthy’ here*.”–sound familiar? I think we can all resonate with a variation of this statement, at least to some extent. Part of being human is having the ability to derive pleasure from experiences that other living creatures rely on purely for survival–food being one of these important experiences.
Today, I’m here to provide a different perspective on ways to satisfy your cravings–but first, let me ask you a totally unrelated question: If you had a leak in the roof of your house (I know all of you may not live in houses bc #apartmentlife…but just humor me here)–what would you do?
Now, I’m fortunate enough to have never been granted sole responsibility of a problem of this scale, but my lil’ informed imagination can dream up my probable course of action:
- *Heavy thunderstorm ensues and unsuspecting Claire walks into the kitchen to get a snackiepoo*
- While standing at the fridge, water begins to aggressively drip on Claire’s head, causing her to shift her gaze upwards, in a mess of hanger and confusion.
- “Oh no! My roof is leaking! That’s unfortunate.” *continues to get snackiepoo because she knows situations like this cannot be handled in a state of hanger.*
- *Grabs a bucket to catch immediate water & finishes snackiepoo.* “Well, I better go call a roof guy to come properly fix this with roof materials….Hey, Siri..”
A super non-scientific discussion (I honestly don’t know much about roofs..other than how to raise them!), but you get the point. I identified the problem and knew the solution to best repair my roof for lasting durability was to bring in real, bona-fide roof materials.
I didn’t say “Oh no! My roof is leaking! Maybe I should try to patch the hole with some leftover newspaper…or maybe the saran wrap from my snackiepoo…or maybe I can totally ignore it and just hope that it goes away!” …because if I said any of those things in seriousness you would probably think I’m a lunatic (…more so than you already do, that is).
The funny thing is, though, the “lunatic” version of this narrative happens all the time when it comes to food & cravings. How often has a book, magazine, doctor, dietitian, or friend told you something along the lines of:
- “When you’re craving that cookie, try eating a piece of fruit instead!”
- “Instead of ordering french fries when you go out to eat, request steamed broccoli or a side salad!”
- “When you feel like eating a hunk of chocolate, go for rice cakes lightly drizzled with stevia-sweetened, low-calorie chocolate instead!”
- “Skip the dessert–but if you’re still craving it later on, go for some Halo Top!”
We’ve all heard it (believe me–I take full responsibility because I used to TELL people these things when I was in school!) However, I’ve taken some time to come to my senses–so let’s get a few things straight:
- A piece of fruit is not a cookie.
- Steamed broccoli and a side salad is not french fries.
- Low-calorie/low-sugar chocolate + rice cakes is not real chocolate.
- Skipping dessert never works (for long-term success, at least), and Halo Top is not real ice cream (argue all ya want, but nothing can replace the little scoop of heaven that is found in the taste of real ice cream).
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with those first pieces of advice. In fact, for some people, they may work very well in helping someone to achieve a better version of health! However, for a lot of people, following that advice and expecting to feel satisfied afterwards is just as unrealistic as me trying to patch my roof with newspaper and expecting it’ll never leak again.
The truth of the matter is, the only thing that will truly fix and satisfy your craving for a certain food is that exact food. Interestingly enough, you’re probably apt to even eat less overall (& feel way less guilty) if you simply eat what you actually want, like, and enjoy.
I ran across this graphic from Rachel Good Nutrition a few days ago on Instagram that perfectly demonstrates my point (p.s. she’s another great anti-diet dietitian to follow, if you’re looking to surround your space with positive food messaging!):
Need I say more? Probably not…but you know I’m going to anyways because that’s how this blogging thing works.
Let’s stop complicating nutrition. When you deny your body’s cravings and fill the void with “substitute foods,” (aka try to fix all of the leaky ceilings of your life with newspaper), you’ll likely end up eating more anyways and feel mentally consumed with the “can” and “can-nots” of your food decisions (not to mention the subsequent guilt that will haunt any and every “unhealthy” food choice to follow).
Having a strong, working knowledge of nutrition is wonderful and necessary in learning how to live your healthiest life that’s strong and free of disease, but you cannot allow it to morph into the ugly, all-powerful Food Police. This foundation of knowledge can be used to shape and inform our food decisions, but the moment we become a weakened subject to its control is the moment you lose all true health benefits of a “diet.”
There is power in honoring the wisdom of your body from a place of self-love and trained mindfulness–don’t allow any book, magazine article, or self-proclaimed Insta model + fitness/nutrition “guru” convince you otherwise. We must learn to love and honor our unique bodies and cravings, not reject and shame them.
If you’re like “Okay, Claire…that sounds really amazing” but really fear the all-in, big perspective shift this practice requires, I’m here to help. If your fear is “I’ll never be able to stop eating *fill in food craving here* if I allow myself to eat it at the first sign of any craving..”–take a leap and apply for a spot in my personalized, gentle nutrition coaching program where we work to tackle that fear head-on. Initial, 30-minute strategy calls are always free–and I’d love to get to know you!
Now, all this typing has me craving one of those nice, juicy peaches I’ve been eyeing across the counter…so I think it’s time I go enjoy one. Until next time…
P.S. What have you been craving recently? Do you attribute this to anything specific? Drop a comment below & let me know–stuff like this absolutely fascinates me!