What do food cravings mean?
Our relationship with food is complicated at best, but it is one that is key to understanding both our emotions and mental states. It’s really quite enlightening to observe your eating habits and desires or to become more mindful and stop before you eat something.
Question why you want something, what it will give you and what need it will fulfil?
One study shows the significant role of emotions in food consumption. The results showed participants felt contented after eating a high fat, high energy food, whereas with a low carbohydrate meal, participants felt unfulfilled.
Intuitively, the body knows that certain foods will alter the brain chemicals or blood pressure.
If your emotional issues remain unaddressed, your food craving will remain constant. If your emotional issues change, so will your food cravings.
There can be a physical basis for food cravings. If you are missing out on minerals or vitamins, or have an imbalance in your diet, you will crave certain foods. Once you’ve fixed the physical aspects of your food cravings, what is left are the emotional causes.
The most direct route to reducing cravings is to heal the situation that’s triggering them. Even taking a small step toward the resolution of a problem at work, in your relationships or in your lifestyle can reduce food cravings.
Food cravings are most often an emotional hunger. It’s your body’s way of communicating a basic need that’s not being met. Perhaps it’s a need for comfort, touch, love, support, validation, or connection. By listening to yourself and uncovering what you are needing and then filling these emotions yourself, or reaching out to a friend for support, you can start to nourish yourself emotionally and you’ll soon find your food cravings will drop off.
Our body is naturally wired for optimum health and balance. We become thirsty when we are dehydrated, we shiver when we are cold, yawn when tired. These are the body’s messages for us to take action to meet our needs. In the same way as when we lose our peace of mind; our body directs us with an action to correct it. It could deliver a food craving for chocolate, which is really a way of saying you need to correct your emotional state of mind, which is feeling lonely, anxious or insecure.
If we can learn the difference between emotional and physical hunger, we can meet our emotional needs more easily and stave off cravings. Some differences between these two types of hunger are:
1. Emotional hunger is based in the mind, is sudden and specific, wanting one food; while,
2. Physical hunger comes from the stomach, is slower and is open to a variety of foods.
Ultimately, we need to face our emotions instead of covering them up with food. While this may seem scary or challenging, it is the route to health and vitality, along with balance and happiness. When our body is well nourished and healthy our emotions become calmer, and our minds happier and more balanced, so it’s a journey well worth taking.