Halfway through the burger I felt very full. I even said it out loud. My wise 5 year old said "then stop eating!". But what happens with adults is different. We have a whole psychology with eating that has formed through the years by our experiences, upbringing, culture, society, etc... So I didn't stop. Because that little, "not so smart" voice in my head said- "no, it's too delicious" or "don't waste food" or "finish your plate", so I ate ALL OF IT. Every.single. bit. Well, maybe I left a few fries.
What happened next was NOT SO GOOD. I came home to horrible stomach pain. I have NEVER experienced acid reflux, but yesterday I definitely did. It was horrible. I didn't eat the rest of the day and today I am in "gut rehab mode" (Gosh I wish that detox was starting TODAY!) but the lesson is not about how to repair your gut or about eating psychology (more on that at a later post), it is about CRAVINGS....
I teach clients to listen to their cravings. Cravings are not necessarily a bad thing. They can actually tell you a LOT about what is going on and we should explore this "why".
Look at the foods, deficits, and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it.
Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?
Here are the main causes of cravings:
1. LIFE IMBALANCES.
Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of life problems.
Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.
3. TOO MUCH AND TOO LITTLE.
According to Chinese medicine, certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may
cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vice versa.
4. SEASONAL CRAVINGS.
Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods, and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions, and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil, and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog, or sweets.
5. LACK OF NUTRIENTS.
This is probably the biggest one in our culture. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine and sugar.
When women experience menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.
Now, if I would have just stopped halfway like my "gut" was telling me to... I would have satisfied the craving in a moderate way and my body would probably feel good again and back in balance.