I haven’t succeeded personally or with my patients in overcoming food cravings. I have found that embracing it and accepting it goes a long way.
If you get the strong urge to binge or eat something unhealthy, allow yourself the space to accept the urge. It doesn’t mean that you should binge or eat the unhealthy thing, though that is also precisely what might happen.
Food Cravings and Their Origin
Not to get too philosophical, but the craving for food either comes from genuine hunger or from some emotional state.
Genuine hunger is rarely something you have to battle. It’s there, and it’s uncomfortable, but it’s manageable. You feel it but can cope.
An emotional food craving is what I get when I have a stressful day ahead of me or spend a few days or hours stressed out.
Stress, anxiety, fear, the unknown, insomnia, or chronic pain are all factors that can spark a food craving.
I often don’t know I’m stressed or worried until I chase down a restaurant on my food delivery app. But what I do with this emotional food state is what’s the most important.
Accepting the Food Craving
It’s never helped me to be hard on myself because I am craving to binge. It hasn’t helped when I’ve restricted after a binge. Nor has it been effective when I’ve chewed myself out in my head for being weak or not sticking to the plan.
Allowing the food craving however has been a miracle. It has allowed me to overcome the food craving because it’s no longer something bad. It’s nothing that I have to fight and I just embrace it lovingly and await what’s next.
The Result of Acceptance
When I’ve accepted my weaknesses or shortcoming or whatever they are called I’ve found myself in a more peaceful state.
Overcoming food cravings only happens when I embrace the feeling and accept what is happening. No judgment and no resistance.
Oftentimes I end up eating unhealthy food or binging or whatever else. But the long-term consequence has been that overall I make solid food choice which are in line with my health goals.
Accepting the Bad
Imagine if we could all be okay with being inadequate, incompetent, lazy, or whatever other derogatory adjective we’ve created in our modern society.
Doesn’t it feel great to not to have to judge yourself and not have to spend energy and negative feelings judging others?
Food cravings that stem from health anxiety or body dysmorphia are tough to battle. But they are very easy to embrace. It’s in the embracing that the cycle disappears.
Unhealthy Food and Health
As I’ve mentioned before, it’s more important that you eat the rightt foods and less important if you sneak in something bad as well.
I care more that my patients get a nutrient-dense diet in their body and I’m less worried about the few chips or sugary foods. Get the right diet in and we can work on shifting the bad calories to better calories in the future.
One single unhealthy meal won’t ruin your health. Even decades of bad eating likely won’t affect you as long as you can turn things around.