Wholehearted Nutrition

On Conscious Cravings and why food isn’t the enemy.

You’ve been lied to.
There’s a tremendously misleading belief that runs rampant in the food industry. It glares at you through profit-driven food advertising and twists its way into your mind where it settles.

Nutritionism. It grips you every time you eat, think about food or try to demystify another obscure nutrition panel.

Nutritionism is a concept invested in the belief that only scientifically identified components in food – vitamins and minerals, etc – are what gives any value to the food itself. But isn’t that what nutrition is, you ask? Nutritionism only has some merit if we looking at food as pure fuel and nothing more. Food is more than the mere sum of its nutrients, and we know there is much more to nourishment than meets the eye.

Nutritionism causes mental havoc, chiefly for those not scientifically versed, by suggesting that industry giants know what’s better for you than you do. It’s a clear snatching of power, a doubt driver, ensuring consumers look to so-called experts rather than listening to themselves.


 

Science is a star at simplifying concepts into more readily digestible parts, but if something is unquantifiable by self-made scientific standards it gets tossed into the too hard basket. Food cravings are mistakenly viewed as a nutritional deficiency or a personal weakness. Cravings are multi-layered messengers carting a plethora of precious information, laden with insights from the inside.

While it’s true that food cravings can have a physiological basis, restoring homeostatic balance at the cellular level, they also have an equally important emotional and spiritual connection.

But we can’t see emotions under a microscope or measure our spirituality on a scale, and when something is hard to see it’s easier to suppress, right? Perhaps that’s why we eat our feelings and drown our sorrows. Stuff them down. Suffocate them. Press mute on our inner voice.

I’m calling bullshit on food being the enemy. Pointing the finger at failed diet attempts is a cop-out.Controlling cravings is an erroneous ideal, another way the weight loss industry sets you up for failure and keep you eating out of their hand.

Cravings are to be explored, understood and brought to the surface. The very idea that there is something within us that we need to contend with reinforces the half-baked idea we are separate from our bodies.

This way of thinking, that you need to tame a stray part of yourself, further damages our relationship with ourselves. And we don’t need more convincing. 85% of us are not showing up for our lives, too ashamed of how we look to even socialize. We need to work with our bodies, make peace with parts we’ve been ignoring and start living wholly and harmoniously.

Here’s what you really crave:

You crave to feel fulfilled in your life, but filling your stomach is easier.
You crave to quiet the noise in your head that leads to feelings that you’d rather not feel.
You crave to temporarily forget that this is your real life, and that you created it and that you’re not totally rapt about it right now.
You crave to black out the aching and longing for something that you keep telling yourself you don’t deserve.

Run through these and answer truthfully for yourself:

I eat when I’m stressed out or feel overwhelmed.
I eat when I’m sad, bored and lonely.
I eat when I don’t get my way, can’t clearly communicate or feel misunderstood.
I eat when I can’t make a decision.
I eat when I feel bad about myself.
I eat because I want to change but don’t know where to start.
I eat because I wish I looked different/felt different/was different.

Which can you relate to? These statements are the kindling fuelling the fire behind food addictions and cravings. Can you see that your insatiable hunger for a specific food, flavor or texture is really just an internal signal that you’re blindly deflecting onto food?

So let’s talk about weight and food cravings.

Indulging our cravings gives us instant gratification. When we digest fats and sugars we naturally produce an opioid byproduct – which is the same chemical compound found in heroin and cocaine. These opioids travel the same neural pathways as heroin and cocaine and keep us coming back for more. Here is where food addiction kicks in. Apart from being temporarily satisfied, indulging your cravings without inner inquiry propels addictive food behaviors and encourages weight gain. The weight then becomes a scapegoat, an external focus to divert from inner turmoil. For some, it provides another reason to over-eat.

‘When I lose weight I’ll be happy’
‘When I lose weight I’ll start going out again’
‘When I lose weight I’ll buy myself nice clothes’
‘When I lose weight I’ll start doing aerobics classes’ – said to me by a client.

Here’s what those phrases really sound like: ‘When I lose weight, I’ll start loving myself’.
It’s as if self-love is conditional, something we reward ourselves with when our outer selves look the way we want them to.

Let me lovingly explain this: your weight is a distraction and your life will continue on the way it always has unless you start inquiring inwards. Change is an inside job.

So how do you tune into food cravings?

By taking stock of where you’re at in every facet of your life.
Look at your career, your relationship, your health, your friendships, your dreams.
Are you happy?

Meet your feelings where they are. Sit with them and allow them their time in the sun. Don’t stifle them with a trip to the fridge.

+ Remember that your reality is a perfect energetic match of your thoughts and feelings. What you secretly say, think and feel in private, you show in public.

+ Realize that food is the fastest way to transport yourself out of your current state of mind into a fleeting, false sense of comfort – but it’s not the only way. Start listing some self-love practices that are based on transporting you mentally, commit to them and ditch the guilt.

+ Know this: ultimately we’re scared of our light, in both the literal and spiritual sense. ”Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Marianne Williamson.

When you’re heavier than you’d like to be the thought of living in a body that is light, limber and loved seems like something only others can have, not you. Being bigger can equate to feeling seen, feeling that you matter and that you’re here taking up space.

The feeling of being unworthy is haunting, and working with those feelings is where your journey begins. Not at the next weight watchers

I’ve mentioned this before, on the blog and to my clients, weight loss and making friends with food starts in the mind. Get rid of anything and anyone that isn’t gunning for you to be your best self because: ”If you want to fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down” ~ Toni Morrison


+ Got a particular food craving that you just can’t shake?

Share it with me in the comments. Let’s see if we can shed some light on it together.x

You Might Also Like

23 Comments

  • Reply Life in Spandex November 19, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    YES, YES, and more YES!! Love this 🙂

    • Reply Cynthia November 19, 2016 at 11:23 pm

      Ha Ha! I’m so glad. Thank you beautiful!xx

  • Reply Alfonzowords November 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Yes! Thank you for this wake up call. I’m such an unconscious eater, especially with my busy schedule. I barely pay any attention to what I’m eating so long as it fuels me up. I really needed to hear this and be more conscious of what I eat.

    • Reply Cynthia November 11, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      You’re so welcome! I used to be too, it’s so powerful when you pay attention to what you’re eating. Your body will thank you. 🙂

  • Reply Carin Harris November 10, 2016 at 4:01 am

    I just found out I have metabolic syndrome and it’s made me really focus on food and it’s effect on me. It’s so confusing – everything is. And yes I am not satisfied with myself today.

    • Reply Cynthia November 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Hey Carin, I’m glad your focus is on food. It truly has the power to heal, particularly a plant based diet. Have you read Medical Medium or Life-Changing Foods by Anthony Williams? You might find a few helpful gems in there lovely. Big love on your healing journey.x

  • Reply Tejasvi November 9, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Numbing out is the game and food takes the blame – Awesome!
    Great article, very well penned!

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Reply Leslie November 9, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Loved reading this Cynthia! I am a self-proclaimed emotional eater that has struggled with my weight for years. I always have a lull in the middle of the afternoon where I am completely exhausted, and I find myself wanting to eat something (normally unhealthy and packed with sugar) to try to get me out of the rut…

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Hey Leslie, I’m glad it resonated with you. I think we’re all emotional eaters to some degree – and that afternoon slump always yells out for a sugar craving. I find eating regularly and getting enough good fats and slow release carbs in the earlier part of the day, and staying hydrated, usually curb those sugar pangs. Hope it helps.xx

  • Reply Annalee November 9, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Amazing read! currently 36 weeks pregnant and always craving

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you Annalee! Aw, I know those cravings! Not long to go now – big love for you and your new baby.x

  • Reply Dee November 9, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Completely agree Cynthia. We do tend to focus on the nutritional value of food and overeating but it all boils done to our innerselves. Great insight and I totally relate.

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks Dee 🙂 There is an almost obsessive mindset around food and the need to break down everything into little parts rather than looking at nourishment as a whole. Hope to see this shift as we become more informed and empowered.x

  • Reply Rosie November 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Great article Cynthia! I love the idea of looking at what we are craving and understanding why we crave it. I love food – how can food be the enemy – unless it’s highly processed and not real food, then that’s another story.

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      Hi beautiful! Me too – the deeper meanings behind food cravings and behaviours are fascinating, and they’re generally not food related at all. Ditto on the processed junk!x

  • Reply Danielle Ferrie November 9, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Ooo very interesting! I definitely feel the war with food sometimes, but I like how you pointed out that it’s not food that’s the enemy.

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Hey Danielle, I think we all do at times. Food is definitely not the enemy. 😉

  • Reply Kirsty @ My Home Truths November 9, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for writing this. I especially love this line, “meet your feelings where they are.” This is so true.

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      You’re welcome Kirsty. Absolutely – we get so wound up about feeling our feelings! Glad you enjoyed it.x

  • Reply Lys Villelli November 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Totally agree. Food is NOT the enemy!

  • Reply zozieposie November 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Cravings are often misleading I think- often your body wanting some energy too

    • Reply Cynthia November 9, 2016 at 8:15 am

      Yep, for sure but they’re often misconstrued and the type of energy we put in is what can either satisfy us or fuel them further.

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: