First, let me say that I understand the inner battle that goes on around feeling powerless to stop the sugar cravings and food cravings in general. I'm an expert emotional eater, if you know what I mean:) I've been through stages where I couldn't even think about anything but eating, every minute of the day. So, I get it girlfriend (and male- friends too).
I also want to say that there is hope for overcoming your cravings! I am living proof. Am I a perfect eater who never gets cravings now? NO! But, food doesn't have the hold on me it once did and I want to let you in on a few of my secrets.
Secret # 1. Emotional food cravings have nothing to do with food or lack of will-power!
What if cravings are a gift? Have you ever heard that what you resist, persists? Are you fighting those cravings like you're in a war? I sure did. So, when my entire perspective changed, so did my cravings. Guess what? Your cravings are here for a good reason, to wake you up to things you may not yet aware of. They are potent messengers and they are going to stick around until you get the message. They are your friend. So, I invite you to make peace with your cravings. When you get a craving, you might consider just checking in with yourself. Are you physically hungry? Has it been three hours or so since your last meal? What's going on? Are you trying to find comfort because you aren't comfortable? Maybe stressed out, sad, angry, anxious, chaotic, overwhelmed, disconnected, lonely? Food is very useful for making these feelings subside temporarily and as humans, we naturally seek pleasure, so of course you want to eat! Who would just rather feels all those feelings? It takes great courage to feel what you are feeling. It takes even more to get honest about it. Are you feeling helpless, hopeless or despairing or just stressed? Eating is one of life's greatest pleasure's. So, the fact that you want to eat is not a good thing or a bad thing. It just is. So, notice it and become curious about why you want to eat right now in this moment. If you can become curious and set the judgement aside, you'll learn a lot about yourself and when you learn to release the feelings so they no longer cause discomfort, the cravings will go away.
Secret # 2. There is a healthy alternative to every food you crave.
So, guess what? You can start finding healthy alternatives for every food you ever wanted to eat. I have started a forum for recipe sharing so I can give you my secrets for craving success. I make the most delicious healthy food! It's rich and so tasty - so much better than anything you'll get in a package. So, you never have to feel deprived. Just click my 'forum' tab above and come on over. If you have a craving, contact me and I'll post my favorite healthy alternative. Ice cream, chips, cookies, milk shakes, burger and fries? I got 'em all covered:)
Secret # 3. Eat Intuitively.
This means, listen to your body and eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. If you just have to have it, have it, but make sure to eat it when you are hungry. Just tell yourself, 'OK, I'm eating this and no one is stopping me. I'm having it and I'm going to love it and enjoy it, but I will wait until I'm really hungry and I will stop before I get too full... and miserable. I am going to fully experience every bite with awareness.' And then go for it, but do it slowly and intentionally because often, we eat to escape. Food takes us somewhere else... to 'Never Never Land' where we are temporarily relieved of all suffering and stress. Where we enter into our love affair and forget about everything else, including enjoying the food as we inhale it to numb out whatever uncomfortable feelings we are experiencing. Trust me, I am an expert at this:) It's a mini vacation and it feels really good for a little while, until about 10 minutes after we finish and then the shame sets in and, well, that part sucks! So, I invite you to be fully aware of the feelings you experience after the affair is over. Where do you feel them in your body? What is the sensation like? What emotions are surfacing. Notice without judgement. Just notice and then acknowledge them and say, "Even though I feel all this shame and guilt in my chest, gut, heart, toe (or wherever the emotion is showing up), I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway.' If that phrase is difficult for you as it was for me at first, you might try, 'I'm open to learning to love and accept myself anyway' or 'I'm OK' or 'I honor myself anyway.' You might even think about how old you feel in this moment and see what memories surface about the first time you experienced this feeling in your life. Now just imagine yourself in the circumstance of that memory and go in and give that part of you a big hug until the feeling subsides. Ok, now that you are confirming your thoughts that I am certifiably crazy, I'd like to offer that I'm Ok with that AND that this has worked for many, many people. What is truly crazy is that many people try to use will-power and for emotional eaters, let me tell you sister, it ain't gonna work! Has it worked yet, for you? All that did for me was to bring lots more shame b/c I 'failed' over and over again.
Secret # 4. Stop vowing not to eat this or that or that you'll start a good eating plan tomorrow.
The number one way to gain weight is making strict rules or going on a diet. For emotional eaters, it doesn't work. It only causes more shame b/c you and I both know, you ain't stickin' to those rules. We have a rebel living inside us that can't wait to break every rule we make for ourselves. So, why not try something new? From now on, I invite you to tell yourself you can eat whatever you want, you are just going to try out these 'secrets' and see what happens. And then, try out these 'secrets' and see what happens.
Secret # 5. What if nourishing yourself, begets the desire to nourish yourself?
If that is true, you might try this: instead of making rules that put you in a mindset of deprivation, just begin to add healthy things to your diet. Instead of saying, "I won't eat..." say, 'Today I am going to have one smoothie.' Or, 'Today I am going to use butter instead of vegetable oil or margarine.' Or, 'Today I'll drink 8 glasses of water.' Or, 'Today I'll take a yoga class or a walk.' Try starting your day with this new habit and just see what happens to the rest of your day.
BONUS TIP: (had to call it that or I would have had 11 secrets to share, and you know, just not as pretty!)
When we know our purpose and use this information to move forward confidently in the direction of our dreams, the need to fill ourselves with food subsides. I invite you to check out my newest program: Finding YOUR Kind of Beautiful: Uncovering Your Purpose and Hidden Gifts. If this interests you, you'll find all the details here in my store.
Secret # 6. 'Oh, breathe, just breathe.'
These are the lyrics to a great song by Anna Nalick. When you feel the craving, notice where in your body you feel it, and visualize breathing peace and calm into that area. If you have a spiritual background, you can breathe God's healing spirit into it or imagine the light of God entering into the area and filling it. Or, like Anna says, just breathe! Taking deep breaths is scientifically proven to calm the nervous system, slow the heart rate and calm we humans down. I like to do a practice called 'regular breathing.' Inhale for a count of 6 through the nose, hold for a count of 6 and exhale for a count of 6. Focus on the breath coming in and going out. If you like, ' you can silently say, 'Right here, in this very moment, I'm safe, I'm OK. I choose to feel calm and peaceful in this moment.'
Secret # 8. Are you hydrated?
Often, thirst shows up as hunger. So, next time you get hungry, drink a glass of spring or filtered water. Wait 15 minutes and see if you are still hungry or find yourself craving. It's best to drink water 1/2 hour before or an hour after meals, but not during your meals. Drinking liquid during a meal dilutes your digestive juices. If you must drink with your meals, try drinking bone broth. It actually helps your digestive tract.
Secret # 9. Stop declaring who you are by saying, 'I'm fat.'
If you tell yourself that who you are is fat, your body will support who you are and you'll live a fat lifestyle. I have great news. Who you are is NOT your body. Your body is a vehicle to carry you through this life and it's Intelligent Designer created it to change according to how you sculpt it. It's very moldable. So you might consider doing the mirror exercise. I know, this is a challenging one. It was for me at first anyway. I was so used to hating my body that I scolded it and abused it every time I looked in the mirror. One option for overcoming this is everyday, stand naked in front of the mirror and begin to thank each part of your body for it's service to you. Thank your legs for walking around and working so you can live your life. Thank your bottom for letting you sit on it all the time and your arms for being able to hug others or yourself. Thank your hands for navigating on the computer, preparing your food, scratch your itches, etc...And start saying, 'I'm choosing to be fit and healthy. I'm choosing to be true to who I am and to start being my own friend.'
Secret # 10. How to make peace with your cravings.
OK, now that you're thinking I'm a little (or a lot) 'woo woo' and looney, all this talk about making friends with something you can't even see and having conversations with yourself and parts of yourself... I'm going to tell you how you can make peace with something that's been a long time enemy, those pesky cravings. I've made a short video for you to view below so I can walk you through a revolutionary and fairly new approach to beating those cravings. I invite you try this exercise next time you experience a craving and just see what happens. After viewing the video, if you'd like to know more of the science behind how this technique (EFT) works, visit this article by Dr. David Feinstein, PhD. If you'd like, you can download the diagram of tapping points below, before you start the video. This will show you exactly where the points are to tap on.
I'd love to hear about your experience using these 'secrets'. Comment below and let me know! If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them.