Know YOURSELF: What do you crave?

This next entry is about improving your relationship with food. It's impossible to break unhealthy eating habits without a strong mind-body connection; we all have to consider what nutrients we feed our bodies, and how we feel after we eat. To discuss this, I need the help of my two favorite concepts: to crave and to be satisfied. These words are so perfect and powerful. Rely on these words to guide your hunger and identify your needs. "To crave" is to have an intense desire for something. "To be satisfied" is to give full contentment to that desire/craving. I am not talking about going on a diet here, but stressing the importance of understanding your cravings. When we know ourselves really well, we are able to know what we need/ want in order to feel fulfilled and at ease. Having a healthy relationship with your food will make each day a little better. Most of us tend to eat whatever is put in front of us. We often base our food choices on cost or convenience. When we eat absentmindedly, we are not aware of what or how much we are eating. Our bodies and minds will always be affected by what we eat, and there is no denying it. True hunger exists only in the stomach, but sometimes we experience: hand, mouth, or eye hunger. This is where my favorite words come into action: crave and satisfied. I always check in with myself before a meal or snack and think, “hmmm,…what am I craving right now? What does my body/mind need in order to feel satisfied?” By connecting your mind to your body, you understand when you are hungry, what foods irritate your body, and what foods you digest well. You may find out you're lactose intolerant or allergic to gluten. Lots of women also have low iron and need more meat. Most of us do not spend the time figuring out what works for our bodies because we do not know our bodies. For instance, I tend to crave a lot of vegetables and when I do not have enough vegetables during my day, I notice my body does not feel as hydrated and I do not feel as clear headed. I know I am lucky to crave vegetables, but I also have a serious chocolate/ sweet tooth. If I do not have something sweet and delicious EVERYDAY, I do not feel satisfied. However, I try not to abuse my cravings. It is obviously not good to eat too much of anything so I try to choose rationally and taste out what I am craving. This allows my one treat for the day to really hit the spot so I feel satiated.

Emotional eating, however, is never satisfied by food. Some people eat to numb feelings like: loneliness, anxiety, boredom, stress, sleepiness or depression. We eat and we keep eating to fill an emotional void. However, if we really KNOW OURSELVES then we slowly learn that food cannot satisfy us in that way. Knowing ourselves and what foods we crave allows us to make reflective and conscious food choices.

My suggestion: PAUSE, BREATH, BECOME AWARE, REFLECT and ACT. Use this as a tool to connect your mind and body so you can understand your cravings. Pay attention to your body and mind after you have eaten and ask yourself: "Am I satisfied? Am I too full? Did something I ate not feel right? Did something I ate really hit the spot?” Learn to listen to these signals from your body, and eat with more intention. Also, you may try cutting your portion of food in half and taking a moment to PAUSE, BREATH, BECOME AWARE and REFLECT. Take this moment before ACTING again to check in with your body to see if your stomach is still hungry (not your eyes, hands or mouth). If your stomach is still hungry then do not restrict yourself, but keep enjoying your meal. If your stomach is full, then save the rest of your meal and use it for lunch the next day! Do not criticize or be hard on yourself about food choices, but learn for next time so you can feel better/ stronger in the future.

Live each day satisfying yourself and listening to your cravings. See how much more content you will feel!

Remember, one body, one mind. Treat them right