You’ve been lied to.
There’s a misleading belief paradigm that runs rampant in the food industry.
It peeks at you through profit-driven food advertising.
It sneaks its way in through the backdoor while you’re distracted reading the nutrition panel on your yoghurt tub.
It has a fancy name, to make it sound more solid.
Nutritionism is a concept based in the belief that only the scientifically identified components in a food, are what gives any value to the food itself.
In short, it hopes you’ll stress about the amount of vitamin C in an orange rather than being pleased with yourself for making a good, whole food choice.
But isn’t that what nutrition is, you ask? Nah. Not really.
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 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.
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 keeps you eating out of their hand.
Cravings are natural. We can’t control them, but we can get a grip on how we react to them. 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.
[Tweet “Food cravings are not created equal, most are a temporary fix to feel the way you want to feel right now.”]
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 cravings brings instant gratification. When you digest fats and sugars you naturally produce an opioid byproduct, the same chemical compound found in heroin and cocaine. These opioids travel the same neural pathways as heroin and cocaine and keep you 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 behaviours and encourages weight gain. The weight becomes a scapegoat, an external focus to divert from inner turmoil.
For some, it provides another layer of excuse:
‘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 mean: ‘When I lose weight, I’ll start loving myself’.
As is being good to ourselves is conditional, a reward for being happy with our reflection.
Weight can absolutely serves as a distraction and your life will continue on the way it always has unless you start inquiring inwards. As overused as this phrase is: change truly 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.
Where are you satisfied? Where do you want more?
Meet your feelings where they are.
Sit with them. 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.
+ Know this: ultimately we’re scared of our light, in both the literal and spiritual sense.
Who would you be without the weight you’ve always carried?
How would your newfound confidence affect your relationships?
What will you talk about with the people who resent you for changing?
‘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.”
+ 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
[…] emotions come to the surface in the form of food cravings. One by one they move forward into the light, asking kindly for our attention so they can move on. […]
YES, YES, and more YES!! Love this 🙂
Ha Ha! I’m so glad. Thank you beautiful!xx
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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
Numbing out is the game and food takes the blame – Awesome!
Great article, very well penned!
Thank you so much!
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…
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
Amazing read! currently 36 weeks pregnant and always craving
Thank you Annalee! Aw, I know those cravings! Not long to go now – big love for you and your new baby.x
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Hey Danielle, I think we all do at times. Food is definitely not the enemy. 😉
Thanks for writing this. I especially love this line, “meet your feelings where they are.” This is so true.
You’re welcome Kirsty. Absolutely – we get so wound up about feeling our feelings! Glad you enjoyed it.x
Totally agree. Food is NOT the enemy!
Cravings are often misleading I think- often your body wanting some energy too
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.