Saturday, June 24, 2006

When the cravings take over...

Someone asked me today about food cravings...

"Why do I feel out of control sometimes? It's like this little voice inside takes over and all I want is food that I know is not good for me."

Well, there can be a variety of reasons physically such as hormones, candida, etc. But, one of the most predominant reasons, or should I say instigators is emotion. Usually when there are feelings churning within, but you aren't in touch with what they are, they will kick avoidance mechanisms into gear. Once such avoidance mechanism is food cravings.

Ever have one of those days or a night watching tv when suddenly you want chocolate or anything sweet and you will go out of your way to find it? Have you ever driven an extra 5 or 10 miles just to get the type of food you're craving- the one thing you can't seem to get out of your mind?

What feelings are you trying to squash down by getting your body drunk on sugar or fattening foods?

When we have surges of unknown feelings like fear, anger, guilt or sadness, we don't really want to acknowledge them or feel them, so we eat to cover it up. It would be helpful to sit down with a pad of paper when you notice these types of cravings taking place and simply start writing. It doesn't really matter where you start. Just write your stream of consciousness; write about what is going through your mind in the moment and just see where it leads.

Usually this sort of writing will lead you to what the feelings are inside- what is really going on with you. By taking the time to slow down, give your feelings a voice and a safe place to express, they will surface into your conscious awareness. Feel the feelings. You will feel lighter and less inclined to eat emotionally or mindlessly.

If you find that you have anger bottled up inside and it comes out in your writing, give it permission to really come out. Allow yourself to write the anger, scribbling and tearing the paper if it helps. When you feel empty as if all the anger is spent- take the pages outside and burn them in a safe manner, such as a BBQ grill, fireplace, chiminea or a old coffee can. Watching the pages burn you'll see the anger transmuting, going up in smoke. It is a relieving feeling.

You may notice that you are very tired after a writing and burning session. Releasing heavy emotion can be more tiring and draining than an entire day of hard physical labor. Get some rest and drink lots of water. The water will help flush the emotional residue out of your physical body and rehydrate you.

Regardless of what the feelings are about, just know that it's safe to feel the feelings and release them. Holding onto them only makes you uncomfortable, overwhelmed, upset and hurt. The cravings are a good indicator. Find an outlet for your feelings rather than burying them with food, alcohol, etc. Even work can be used to avoid feeling your feelings...

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