When I woke up this morning my stomach was growling. It certainly had a story to tell. If I just jumped out of bed without listening, I probably would have rushed off to feed my body without asking it what it wanted to eat.
How often do you ask your body what to eat? Often times eating is either an automatic and often unconscious event or it is feeding a different aspect of our self. Perhaps, meeting an emotional need.
For me, chocolate often calls when I’m longing for something sweet in my life. Would a hug do just as well? Did the chocolate fill the gap? As great as chocolate is, it is only a temporary fix for a much deeper longing. Perhaps a longing to be loved or even longing to hear, “great job.” Many people think of a sweet treat for a job well done.
What would happen, if instead you took a deep breath, tuned into your body to “feel” what it really wants instead of reaching for Ben and Jerry’s chunky monkey or that organic chocolate bar. When you create a relationship with your body that honors it’s true feelings and desires, not only is it good for your body, but the insatiable craving begins to loosen it’s grip.
Many of my clients struggle with food cravings and just suggesting that they substitute a different healthier choice is often not the solution. Instead slowing down, being with that feeling inside which may be an unmet need from your inner child, or a desire for some self-validation or self-love; often brings a whole new level of well-being, both physical and emotionally.
Next time you have a craving for a food you know will taste good, but is not a healthy choice for you, take a pause. Instead of running to the refrigerator or cupboards, sit down, breath, look around the room for something that is pleasurable to look at; as this will bring you into the present moment where your body lives and where you can communicate with sensation and feelings (the language of the body).
Just a side note, if you don’t have pleasurable items to feast your eyes on, be sure to add them to the rooms you spend the most time in. Orienting to something pleasurable raises endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Sometimes, that alone is enough to calm the cravings. If not, next ask your body what it is that I am really longing for, really craving. Then be silent and let your body tell you in its own way. The body speaks through emotions, sensations, movements, images and metaphors. Listen deeply, don’t try and make it happen. After a few moments, you will likely get some sort of response. Write it down, if it is a movement, move it. If it is a metaphor, you can have a conversation with it. If it is a sensation, let it speak to you … is there a sound it wants to make, words it wants to say, a message it wants to deliver?
If you end up eating that chocolate or whatever was calling you from the outside, be gentle with yourself. It is really alright. Each moment is a new moment to explore and listen. Once you get the hang of this, that outer calling will begin to diminish, and the inner calling of your deeper, truer self will bring you way more pleasure and satisfaction than the temporary fix of the treat could ever provide.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy communing with your body!