Deconstructing our Cravings – Part 3

All three of us are heading out this morning for our 20 week anatomy scan… I’m excited to see our little one and discover if our hunch of a boy is correct!

Well, it’s taken me over a month to finish this series on cravings but I’m finally getting around to part three.  If you missed them, part one was the addictive nature of many processed foods, particularly those containing sugar or salt, and part two covered the imbalances in our bodies and nutrient deficiencies that can cause cravings.

 Deconstructing our cravings

Part three is possibly the hardest one to change… the emotional side of why we choose what we do.

We can have all the right information and goals and the best of intentions, but there is so much power in our habits and in the drive to fulfill an emotional need with food, including:

– What we reach for when we’re tired, or bored or overwhelmed or trying to procrastinate.

– What foods provide comfort when we feel down.

– What foods provide crunch when we want to keep our mouth busy.

– What foods provide sweetness to life our spirits or help us celebrate!

Sometimes food has a special meaning- desserts may be comforting because our mom baked a lot as a child, or we may associate a certain time of day with a treat.

We may find that we use food to avoid things we don’t like about ourselves- or maybe we don’t really want to draw attention to ourselves and weight is a good way to keep it that way. 

Maybe we’re really unhappy in some other area of our lives and food has become the coping mechanism. 

There are endless possibilities here but the point is to start digging.  Start building awareness.  Start noticing when you eat and what you are choosing.  Think about your hunger levels.  Think about WHY you’re choosing what you’re choosing and if it’s what you REALLY want.

As you identify the emotional reasons you go to certain foods, you can begin to prevent those scenarios or catch yourself before it’s too late.  Or post notes inside your cupboards to create more mindfulness around those habits in your life.

And little by little you can make small changes and begin to trust your body again- to trust it’s hunger and fullness cues, to trust the craving that it’s asking for (or learn how to interpret it) – to trust that you can fuel yourself properly.

Personally, I struggle the most when I’m bored or have a project I’m procrastinating working on.  Food provides a great distraction.  How about you?

Which emotional factors or habits are a challenge for you?

Or if you have a story about overcoming mindless snacking, how did you do it?

Deconstructing and conquering cravings is one of the aspects I work with my clients around balancing their health and discovering the best version of themselves.  If you’ve wondered if you could benefit from a holistic health coach, contact me and we can chat.  I’d love to hear your story and see if health coaching is a good fit for you!


34 thoughts on “Deconstructing our Cravings – Part 3

  1. Boredom is definitely when I tend to overeat and go in search of junk. The emotional part of food is the hardest to deal with. Every celebration, event,emotion etc seems to be tied with food.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Salad A DayMy Profile

  2. I am a huge creature of habit…3pm when I walk in the door I want a snack…whether or not I’m hungry. I’ve been trying to drink tea or something else instead of the mindless snacking. Because I’m not really hungry, it is hard to find a snack to fill the craving. I’m so excited for you to find out about the baby!!!!!
    Fancy Nancy recently posted..Let’s Talk Training Week 9My Profile

  3. Loneliness is my emotional trigger. With my husband gone so much these days I’ve really had to face this one full on recently. If I stay busy it helps.

  4. Yup, my biggest problem is the boredom snacking…..I get that “craving” when I’m catching up on the computer or TV at night. I have found in the past though, if I give it up for a week or so, suddenly the craving isn’t there. It’s definitely easier to kick the habit when you understand WHY you’re wanting what you don’t need. Love these posts, Laura! 🙂
    Amanda @ All Day Activewear recently posted..Protein Packed, Meatless Recipe Round-UpMy Profile

  5. My most difficult time of day is during nap time. Not when all the kids are sleeping but when 1 or more is fighting a nap. That’s been happening a lot lately! I’m a stress eater. I’ve been working on it lately and am finding that water and a banana helps me avoid the chocolate. I’ve loved reading this series, thanks for all the info!
    Angie @ A Mother’s Pace recently posted..And She Can Conquer the WorldMy Profile

  6. This is such great info. I agree that so much of it is bringing it to a conscious level and really thinking about why we are eating what we are/when. I know my weak spot is in the just before dinner hour. I’m starting to get hungry and may start mindlessly snacking while cooking. Then I’m not so hungry when dinner is ready. So stupid! But when I recognize it I can stop it. Always a work in progress!

    So excited to hear boy or girl!
    misszippy recently posted..Mixed reviewsMy Profile

  7. Another great post in this series. I’ve been sharing these posts with my clients. So much great information. Honestly, I’m not an emotional eater. I eat when I’m hungry. I’ve never not eaten b/c I’m sad or eaten when I’m sad either. I have a hard time understanding that relationship with food. For me, sometimes things become a habit. Like wanting a rice cake with stevia & PB2 after dinner only because I had done that a few nights in a row. Even if I’m not hungry, I suddenly feel like I really need that sweet treat when I really should just brush my teeth!

  8. I’m definitely more mindful about my snacking now then I have been in the past. I’m horrible at hydrating so now I usually reach for water FIRST and see if I’m just thirsty. If that doesn’t work, I try eating something with enough protein to keep me full until the next meal. Great tips and yes, definitely so hard not to eat emotionally!

  9. Good luck today! This is a tough one. I am fairly certain my biggest nutrition issue is emotional eating. I am trying to track my food and my feelings. Also, trying to ask myself if I am really hungry but it’s a drag to put that level of focus on eating.
    Tara Newman recently posted..6 Ways to Choose HappinessMy Profile

  10. AWARENESS! Right on. I think we all have emotional attachments to certain foods/situations. So important to be aware. Hope things go well for you today.

  11. This topic is near and dear to my heart, as I actually published an e-book with specific tips and tricks for overcoming emotional eating. For me, it was a matter of figuring out the WHY, like you say, and then also building a toolbox of healthier coping mechanisms to use when I felt the urge to reach for the cookie jar. And, perhaps most importantly, learning to forgive myself when I stumbled; otherwise I’d be overrun with guilt, which then led me to emotionally overeat again!

    I don’t usually share links, but because it is so relevant, I hope it’s ok. Here is the e-book I referenced:
    Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted..Does Your Doctor Make You Feel Guilty?My Profile

  12. A friend of mine is going for her 20 week checkup today too and also has the hunch that it’s a boy.

    For most people, this is the biggest hurdle: eating when you’re not hungry. Once you’re aware of what your weaknesses and habits are, it isn’t really too hard to trick yourself into skipping the snack.

    I know I can be like that sometimes when I’m bored, so I grab a glass of water first and walk away. More often than not, I don’t return to the kitchen. Taking up something to do with your hands while watching TV (I crochet) helps a LOT with the mindless eating while watching something.
    Karen recently posted..Foggy Bottom Milk Run 2014My Profile

  13. What a fantastic post!

    I struggle constantly with pinpointing the reasons for while I reach for the highly processed, unhealthy foods. Sometimes, it’s just the taste of that greasy buger that I can’t get out of my head, but then other times it is because I’m bored, or depressed.

    I really love this series that you created!
    Jillian @ Baby Doodah! recently posted..Happy 300th Post to Baby Doodah!My Profile

  14. I too am a boredom eater and will most often reach for something sweet. My solutions have been to either take myself out of my snacking environment (home) or swap in something healthier (carrots/hummus). It usually works but not always.
    Marcia recently posted..Tips For Dealing With Food BulliesMy Profile

  15. Oh women and our emotional eating…I always find that I have sugar binge episodes as I like to call them, when I am feeling lonely. It’ll be those evenings I come home alone after I am out with friends and need some comfort. I go straight for the cookies. It comes in waves, but now I am more aware of it. Instead of going for the cookies, I go for that big jug of water and chug away. In the end I always feel so much better and even better the next day!
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..What I Bought At Costco + Workouts + New CampaignMy Profile

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  17. Oh, gosh! This part is hard. Stress. I’m a total stress eater. Oh, and boredom but I think I have that one under control. I just find other things to do. I’m still trying to control the stress thing.
    Carla recently posted..Apera Review & GiveawayMy Profile

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