Exploring a Craving with Mindfulness
The body is a biocomputer. Your heart never misses a beat and your lungs never miss a breath. Your body is constantly processing information and making internal adjustments to maintain homeostasis. When we experience a craving, it may be a message from your body that something is out of balance. By acknowledging the craving, exploring its origin with nonjudgmental curiosity, and proceeding from a place of empowerment, we can begin to navigate our craving with mindfulness.
If cravings arise, acknowledge them and give them space. Deprivation often leads to failure, so it's important to deconstruct why the craving is arising. The simple act of acknowledging your craving also may help reduce its power and allow you to dissociate from it.
In exploring the origin of your cravings, you may want to ask yourself the following questions: • Is this craving occurring alongside a particular emotion or physical feeling?
Making this distinction can be an empowering feeling. It allows you to pinpoint and treat the actual cause, not the symptom. Although there are many physical and emotional feelings that may lead you to crave particular foods, fatigue and stress are most common. When people are tired, they not only eat more but are also more likely to make poor dietary choices. The more stressed people are, the more they tend to look for comfort in food – and this can particularly include calorie-dense or highly palatable foods.
• Is this craving tied to a habit? •
Sometimes people may gravitate towards a particular food out of routine. For example, due to a drop in blood sugar, you may start craving snacks during this time of day simply out of habit. Rather than going on autopilot, take a moment to tune in to your body. A brief moment of mindfulness may be enough to help you distinguish between craving something out of habit versus craving due to actual hunger or a desire to mindfully and intentionally enjoy a particular food.
Is this craving guiding me toward a food that would support my health or well-being?
Fulfilling a craving may also contribute to your well-being beyond a nutritional standpoint. Enjoying a girl's night out, or a birthday party with treats is a prime example. This may be a powerful form of primary food nourishment for some.
Listen to what your body is telling you and enjoy exploring the deeper message that may exist in some of your cravings. Rather than feeling controlled by cravings, the empowered approach allows you to be a curious investigator seeking out the best choice for you at the time. Whether food will ease that craving or if there’s another form of nourishment your body is seeking, respect and acknowledge your bio-individual cravings as they come up.