In the nutrition course I am taking as part of my Health Coach training we are learning about Dietary Paradigms. One that has really resonated with me and I think might be the most difficult to learn is, the body knows what it needs. Your brain might not be able to decipher what your body is telling you, but again the body knows what it needs.
Alexa Erickson talks about in her article, Food Cravings & What they’re Trying to To Tell You, you crave chocolate when all you really need is some magnesium in your diet. Then in the blog post, Beat Cravings from Discovering your Happiness she says, “While you might crave for something sweet, your body maybe is lacking the mineral chromium, which can be found in beef, kidney, carrots and broccoli.”
What are you telling me?
Sometimes we may get confused and believe body is telling us it needs a sweet treat when really our mind needs some form of comfort. If your go-to is a bowl of cereal or a piece of chocolate you might not be lacking in some vital nutrients at all, but you are lacking in some awareness about how you are coping emotionally.
Sit With It
What can we do about this? How can we tell the difference between a mineral depletion and an emotional one? We want to be healthy and listen to our bodies, but what the hell is it trying to tell us? I would suggest if you are having a craving and you want it, go for it. If you are having a craving and there are feelings or guilt around it, maybe sit with it for a little bit. What is this craving really telling you? Should you just take a multivitamin or up your beef and broccoli consumption? Or is it something more? What was your day at work like? Do you find comfort and relaxation savoring each bite of that piece of chocolate or pizza or whatever. If you decide to go for it and eat the treat really pay attention to how you feel as you make the decision to eat it, as you walk to the kitchen to prepare it, as you sit down to eat it, while you are eating, it and after you are done. Take not of all of these moments. If there is a lot of emotion around it, you might have some emotional eating going on that would be worth exploring.
Is there something else you can do to comfort yourself?
- Call a Friend
- Take a Bath
- Make a list of all the meals you want to cook next week. (This could easily lead down a rabbit whole of pinterest food porn. Which I find extremely comforting!)
- Watch Netflix
- Put on Pajamas and slippers and snuggle
- Go for a run
- Read health/fitness magazines like Oxygen or Clean Eating
- Play games on your phone
- Make some tea
- Try aromatherapy
- Go to bed
When to see an M.D.
If cravings are persistent and you have tried everything, I would suggest consulting your doctor. They could run a blood lab and make sure you aren’t deficient in anything. From there you could always see a counselor, health coach, or nutritionist. You have to do what works for you and ensures you are happy and healthy both physically and mentally.
My success coach told me yesterday that I need to dig deeper not wider. I believe this applies to this situation as well. Look into yourself for answers, your body does know. Honestly, you probably actually know more than you are letting yourself admit.