One of the most challenging parts of any program is the mental attachment to food and the process your brain goes through when detaching and emotionally “detoxing” from these foods.
Do you notice you crave something at a particular time of day? Do you notice that in cold weather you always want a hot chocolate? Or when you go to a pub you always want to order a soda? Do your body and mind feel like it NEEDS something sweet? Or is it merely a habit? How do you figure these differences out?
Well, read on!
“The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of questions you ask on a daily basis”
Therefore, it is crucial to be able to answer the following one with honesty and accuracy in order to reach your goals
Is it a CRAVING or is it a FOOD ASSOCIATION?
A craving is almost a physiological need to eat a particular food and is usually because your body needs more of a particular nutrient.
For example, you’ve had a stressful month, you’re pushing hard in your workouts and feeling fatigued all the time, and you start craving chocolate. This craving could be a sign that your body needs more magnesium.
A food association is when you associate a particular food with an event or place. For example, when it’s cold and raining you really want a hot chocolate, or when you go to your grandmas you always want her amazing shortbread! Here, your body isn’t signaling to you that it needs a specific nutrient, it has simply learned to associate particular places with certain food rituals.
So what steps can we take next to drop the cravings and associations that are inhibiting you from better achieving your goals?
Step 1. Get curious and ask better questions!
When something crops up for you, ask the question: Is this a craving or a food association?
The more you ask this question, the better you will understand yourself and your habits, and can move forward from here.
Step 2. Make a Game plan!
Once you’ve figured out the craving/ food association here’s what you can do:
If it’s a craving, seek a consult with a practitioner to help you work on tweaking your diet and potentially supplementing for any deficiencies that may be present.
If it’s a food association, acknowledge it and make a healthy swap. Always have fries with that? Try making your own sweet potato and parsnip chips
If it’s more on the emotional side of things, ask yourself what you are in need of emotionally? Craving sugar? Are you in need of some sweetness in your life?
Make emotionally healthy swaps. If it’s warmth you’re after, try having a hot soak in the bath with some essential oils, or cooking a big hearty stew. If it’s something sweet, book in a date with a friend and have a really good belly laugh session! The aim of the game here is to feed your emotions with nourishing experiences as opposed to food that will not serve your goals (or waistline).
At the end of the day, you are learning to rewire your habits and read what is really going on in your body. Tune in, get curious about your body and its needs and you may just learn a thing or two!