Food cravings aren’t about food. They’re about the feeling(s) that food represents.
Stay with me here…
I used to crave ice cream ALL THE TIME. Ice cream was one of my go-to foods. I couldn’t keep it in the house. If a half gallon was in the freezer it was gone within a day. I loved letting it sit out for a few minutes to get extra soft and creamy. Eating ice cream was an escape and a soft spot to land, especially on stressful days.
We discovered Bruster’s Ice Cream when we moved to Georgia (it’s the best ice cream around). We would visit the local shop every week because I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to go every day! I was super homesick and at the time ice cream was comforting.
Ice cream was a special treat, a reward, or a break from the ordinary. “Let’s go for ice cream!” or “I could really go for some ice cream.” It was fun!
Then one day it hit me… it wasn’t about the ice cream. It was about the feelings I was seeking; relief, comfort, fun.
Eating had become a familiar pathway that formed in my brain. Food cravings provided access to a well-traveled road; a habit that had formed long ago.
Too many times I see people trying to find substitutes for their constant food cravings (I used to be one of them). But when strong food cravings strike, the solution is not found in healthier, more acceptable food alternatives.
The answer to my constant ice cream craving wasn’t found in a low-calorie or low-fat alternative. Whipping up frozen bananas as a “healthy” choice didn’t resolve my urge for the sweet treat. Seeking alternative food only reinforces the well-worn path – the belief that food will make it better. That's why cravings never truly go away.
The solution to stopping constant food cravings is understanding why you have the urge to eat in the first place, especially when you're not physically hungry.
Eating only satisfies the craving temporarily. Like any addiction, we’re left chasing the high that never goes away.
The magic comes from knowing what’s behind the craving and the feeling you’re trying to feed. Once you’re on to yourself the cravings will subside.
I still enjoy Bruster's on occasion. The difference now is that I'm able to make a conscious, deliberate choice to eat ice cream when I want to, as opposed to feeling controlled by cravings.
Here are some questions that will help you get to know your food cravings better:
What feeling are you trying to find?
What feeling are you trying to avoid?
How will food help?
What can you do instead of eating?
Understanding your food cravings is how you take your power back.
P.S. To take control of your cravings and overcome emotional eating join me on a discovery call. Learn how to trust yourself and heal your relationship with food. Book a discovery call here.