A balanced response to cravings

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on May 12th, 2010
Filed under intuitive eating, Motivation | 2 Comments »


How are you today? Life over here has reached a new level of craziness my friends. You will never hear me complain because all of this craziness is in areas of my life that I could not be more excited about! I'm studying like a mad woman for my wellness coaching certification and am moving towards a full coaching practice every day. Patience is key here though. It takes millions and millions of small actions to build a business. My fitness coaching has taken off! I am having so much fun working with individuals looking to change their health and fitness. And the best part of it- I LOVE IT! I have never been happier writing emails, doing phone consults and talking with people about reaching their goals. Wedding planning is hitting an all time high now as well. We're at the 2 month mark which means all of those tiny items on the to do list are coming at once and we are running around like wild. But again…I love it. And now I have my mom here in Boston to run around with me! :)

Over the weekend we were in Brooklyn for a gorgeous wedding. It was such a beautiful evening filled with so much goodness. The food was divine and I was surrounded by some of my most favorite things: shrimp with roasted tomatoes, caprese salad, sashimi, banana chocolate chip goodness. The list goes on! To say we ate well at this wedding was an understatement. But as I was walking around during the cocktail with a growling belly and eyes that found every food to be perfection, I was torn with what I truly wanted. What was my body craving? What would satisfy my body?

Those questions led me to the topic of cravings. I think we can all speak candidly about cravings..wouldn't you agree? They sneak up on you, so quietly and just hit ya when you're least expecting it. I think everybody's experience with cravings is unique because we all have such varied relationships with food. Some have true cravings…they simply want that piece of chocolate and it has nothing to do with type of day they have had. They are craving chocolate. Others want that chocolate and it has everything to do with the tough day that they have had and nothing is going to make them feel at peace except for chocolate melted on top of ice cream! I used to belong to the second group. I craved food for emotional reasons. Food was my comfort, my release, my place of peace when I allowed it to be.

So, I thought today would be the perfect day to share with you how I have learned to respond to cravings in a more balanced way. What I have finally learned to do is look at a food that I am craving and be able to truly know whether I desire the taste and the experience of the food or whether my mind is craving something emotionally.

It starts with a question.

You are at dinner, pouring over the menu. What to have, what to decide, what to put in your body. I now start with a simple question: what do I truly WANT? What taste, texture, or sensation would satisfy my body at this meal? Is it the pasta? Well, I used to binge on foods like pasta so when I look at pasta on the menu I have to allow my mind and my body to decide together if that is what I truly want. What am I craving? I now switch that idea to this simple question: what I truly want?

Take a moment and think about food.

I always put the menu down for a moment and really think about my options (This doesn't last for 2 or even 3 minutes, otherwise everyone at the table would be wondering what the heck you were doing!). Does the crunch of a salad with fruit and cheese and nuts satisfy the hunger or is my body looking for something with more substance? Is the unique appetizer catching my mind because it is a bit lighter and then I would still have room for dessert and we all know that this restaurant has delicious desserts! I allow my mind to think about for just a minute what would leave me satisfied.

Remove the emotion.

Whenever I plan a meal, I now try to come from a place that is only about satisfying and nourishing my body. If I have had a particularly frustrating morning, I always do something to help me relieve that frustration and emotion before I have lunch. Otherwise, I could easily decide that ice cream is the perfect lunch and find myself in a downward spiral of waiting for that frustration to dissipate with every bite of food. And that doesn't end up happening. The frustration always comes back! So, my meals are now focused on my body and what it is asking for.

Allow yourself to indulge, enjoy and experience.

This past Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day. It was such a perfect day. We cooked a wonderful meal for our family and just enjoyed the afternoon. There was food everywhere! Options galore! From sangria to quinoa to grilled bananas to cupcakes. We had a lot of food in our home. Three years ago, I would have meticulously planned what I could and couldn't eat. I would have approached the entire day with restriction. This past Sunday I sat down and viewed all of the food in front of me and I slowly decided what I wanted to indulge in. Whether it was a bit of everything or more of one thing. My decisions came from a place where I wanted to experience this day for everything that it was. Not for everything that I couldn't eat. I indulged in it all and I walked away satisfied. Not stuffed. Not regretting. Not wishing. Not wanting to eat more. It was perfect!

These steps have ultimately allowed me to respond to food and cravings with balance. Cravings are something I now look forward to! And that is truly because I now know what a craving feels like that isn't related to emotion, my day, or my desires that are separate from food!

So, how do you feel about cravings? Are there things that you try to do to satisfy them or listen to them?

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2 Responses to “A balanced response to cravings”

  1. Colleen says:

    Hey there Jenn! I have enjoyed your recent posts, but haven't left any comments, so I thought I would this time. :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts on food cravings. I can relate in many ways! I like the steps you suggested for dealing with cravings in a sensible way. A lot of it seems to be about being mindful, which is a concept that I love! Keep up the great work!

  2. admin says:

    You are the BEST Colleen!!!!!

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