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Understanding Cravings to Making Healthy Choices

Ever find yourself going strong on your wellness regimen, when all of a sudden your coworker decides to show up with a box full of Paula's Donuts and your mouth starts watering and now you can't get any work done because it's all you're thinking about? Cravings are a common and natural part of our relationship with food. They can arise from a variety of factors, including emotional triggers, physiological needs, and even external influences. Learning to navigate cravings is a crucial aspect of achieving a balanced and sustainable approach to nutrition. In this blog post, we'll discuss strategies and insights offered in my online nutrition program "Eat Well with Steph" that empower you to overcome cravings, make mindful food choices, and strike a balance between indulgence and nourishment.

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Understanding Cravings:

Before diving into strategies, it's important to understand what cravings are and why they occur. Cravings can provide valuable insights into our body's needs and emotional state. Rather than labeling cravings as "good" or "bad," the "Eat Well with Steph" approach encourages you to view them as signals and opportunities for self-awareness.


Physiological and Psychological Triggers: Cravings can be triggered by a multitude of factors, both physiological and psychological. On the physiological side, our body might be signaling a need for specific nutrients. For instance, a craving for chocolate might indicate a potential magnesium deficiency. On the emotional side, stress, boredom, fatigue, and even nostalgia can play a role in triggering cravings. By recognizing and acknowledging these triggers, individuals can gain valuable insights into their own needs and habits.


Cravings as a Window to Emotional State: Cravings often have an emotional dimension. Emotional eating is a phenomenon where individuals turn to food as a way to cope with their emotions. Comfort foods, typically high in sugar, fat, or salt, are often sought during times of stress, sadness, or anxiety. The act of consuming these foods may temporarily provide comfort, but it's not a sustainable or healthy way to manage emotions in the long run.


Exploring Your Own Cravings:

In "Eat Well with Steph", we recognize that digging deeper into emotional cravings can uncover valuable insights. When participants experience cravings, it's an opportunity to ask themselves why they're craving a particular food at that moment. Is it due to stress? Are there unresolved feelings? By questioning the underlying reasons, individuals can begin to identify patterns and triggers.


A Non-Judgemental Approach: We don't label cravings as "good" or "bad." This non-judgmental stance is empowering, as it shifts the focus from shame and guilt to curiosity and self-awareness. We treat them as natural signals from the body, indicating a need or a desire. By viewing cravings through this lens, participants can approach them with a sense of curiosity and explore what their body and mind are communicating.


Cultivating Mindful Awareness: One of the key foundations here is cultivating mindful awareness around cravings. Learning to pause and tune into your cravings without judgment will help you become more attuned to your body's signals and empower you to respond in a way that aligns with your goals and values.


Strategies to Connect with Your Cravings

Notice I didn't say "overcome" your cravings! Overcoming cravings often implies a short-term victory over the immediate urge. However, understanding cravings empowers you with knowledge and tools that you can apply consistently over time. This knowledge equips you to navigate future cravings with confidence and make informed choices that align with your goals.


Empowering Emotional Management: Recognizing the connection between cravings and emotions is a powerful step toward emotional management. Instead of turning to food as the default solution, explore healthier ways to address your emotional needs. This might involve practicing mindfulness, engaging in relaxation techniques, journaling, talking to a friend or counselor, or pursuing activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

Building Emotional Resilience: Addressing emotional cravings isn't about completely eliminating comfort foods. It's about building emotional resilience and expanding the toolkit of strategies for managing emotions. Participants of my program are guided to develop a range of healthier coping mechanisms that align with their values and support their overall well-being.

Mindful & Intuitive Eating: Mindful eating is being fully present while eating and paying attention to the sensory experience of food. By practicing mindful eating, you learn to differentiate between physical hunger and emotional triggers. "Eat Well with Steph" introduces participants to intuitive eating techniques that promote self-trust and a deeper connection with their body's needs. By honing your ability to distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger, you can make informed choices that address the root causes of cravings. Incorporating Favorite Foods: Rather than demonizing certain foods, you'll learn how to actually enjoy your favorite treats in moderation. Allowing yourself to savor indulgent foods mindfully and without guilt, the program helps you build a healthier relationship with these foods and sometimes even diminishing your cravings! (Anyone else want something just because you can't have it?!)

Meal Planning and Preparation: Strategic meal planning and preparation play a significant role in managing cravings. "Eat Well With Steph" provides practical guidance on creating balanced meals that satisfy nutritional needs and curb cravings. You'll learn how to include a variety of nutrient-dense foods that promote satiety and prevent overindulgence.


Goal Setting and Accountability: Setting realistic and achievable goals is a cornerstone of the program. Learn to set intentions that align with your values and health aspirations. Celebrate small victories, build confidence in your ability to make positive choices.

Ultimately, the "Eat Well with Steph" approach empowers you to care for yourself holistically. We want to embracing cravings as an avenue for self-awareness, and learn to nourish not only our bodies but also our emotional well-being. When we become more attuned to our needs as a WHOLE, and develop a toolkit of strategies to address our needs in a positive way, we don't just eliminate our cravings but we work with them to find overall Wellness!

 

FREE Resources to help you get started!

 

Get even more education on topics just like this, in Eat Well With Steph - but not just that. You get ME, your health coach, and a community of friends on the same journey to support each other!


Eat Well With Steph is a safe and supportive space where you can transform your health and nourish your body in a sustainable and enjoyable way.


Discover how good it feels to fuel your body with healthy, delicious food.


 

Steph Genco, plant-based wellness & nutrition coach for women.

Not sure if working with a Wellness & Nutrition Coach is right for you? Book a FREE discovery call & let's chat about the areas you need support in, & I'll see if I can help.



PS: You are worthy of living and capable of creating a healthy lifestyle you love. 🤍

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