Diet & Nutrition
Conquering Food Cravings
Most of us want to stay at a healthy weight, or get there. But we also face daily – and sometimes hourly – temptations in the form of high-fat, low-nutrition junk food. Is there anything we can do about it?
Yes. A study from experts at the University of California Davis found that “eating mindfully”– cultivating a heightened awareness to the body’s signals when you crave certain foods – decreases emotional eating. You can win your internal battle with emotional eating by paying attention to what you eat as you’re eating, how it makes you feel, and realizing when you’re eating to satisfy a hunger, a habit, or an unsatisfied emotion.
Here’s why this matters: anyone who’s battling binge eating, sugar cravings, or other types of emotional eating can attest to the difficulty of breaking free from overeating patterns. We become sidetracked by day-to-day life in a non-stop world that makes us live in our heads and ignore our bodies. This means we miss vital clues to our wellbeing. We stifle many of our physical and emotional needs with our go-to quick fix: food.
Author and certified health coach Lisa Lewtan says that only adds to our anxiety. “The more you turn to food,” she says, “the more you start worrying about food — and you have one more thing to stress over.
But by objectively investigating our food craving – looking for the underlying reasons of our “hunger,” noticing how certain foods make us feel, and more – we discover a new perspective and a way to break old eating habits.
Lewtan herself is a recovered food addict who specializes in one-on-one coaching and personal training for people dealing with eating issues.
Besides learning to deal with stress, Lewtan says, we need to confront the inner critic that tells us we are bad or worthless for eating foods we are trying not to eat. Shut “her” down, Lewtan says, by substituting a loving and compassionate inner voice.
And remember, Lewtan says, to avoid unrealistic goals. Steer clear of “food perfectionism.” That’s bound to lead to disappointment. Don’t stress – and get back on track again.
Lisa Lewtan is a Healthy Living Strategist and founder of Healthy, Happy, and Hip, which provides one-on-one coaching, workshops, retreats, and support groups for clients. Her new book, Busy, Stressed, and Food Obsessed (2015) provides tools to help highly successful Superwomen slow down, chill out, develop a better relationship with food, and feel great. Learn more here.