Updated: May 22, 2018
How to Decode Your Cravings
I’d like you to think about what drives your cravings, especially sugar
cravings. When I ask my clients this, top culprits include the hectic morning rush-hour and
looming afternoon deadlines, prompting sugary coffee drinks and spiraling blood
sugar levels. Sugar has a temporary mood lifting effect on the brain, leading to a
serious crash soon after. Not exactly the best situation when you’re stressed.
What else causes you to crave?
Aside from daily stress that spurs sugar cravings, I encourage you to consider how
other components of your life may be affecting what you eat.
Think back to a time you were madly in love. Your partner’s care and affection replaced
food, making you feel satisfied and appreciated. Many people crave sweets when they
are lacking supportive relationships. Take a look at the people you surround yourself
with – is it time for a change?
I regularly tell my clients that while what is on their plate is important, healthy
relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice can fill
your soul and satisfy your real hunger for life.
When these areas of your life – your primary foods – are balanced, your life feeds you,
making what you eat secondary.
Look at these primary foods:
Give each one a rating from 1 – 10 as you see them in your life right now
(10 being satisfied and 1 being dissatisfied).
It’s okay if you are dissatisfied with some (or all!) of your primary foods – you are now
one step closer to deconstructing your cravings once and for all.
I asked you to rate each primary food (relationships, career, physical activity, and
spirituality) on a scale of 1 to 10. Let’s look at how these affect cravings and emotional
If you rated relationships low, delve a little deeper and ask yourself why you rated it as
Are friends off-loading their problems without taking the time to ask about
Family members expecting too much from you?
Coworkers gossiping and creating a negative environment?
An ongoing rift with an old friend or family member?
Any of these relationship issues will cause stress and anxiety, causing you to turn to
junk for quick comfort.
Stop! Before giving into a craving…
List five people in your life who totally support you. Next to each name write one
reason that you are thankful for them. If a person on your list is someone you have not
talked to in a while, reconnect with them today.
Old faces can inspire new changes!
“Rather than aiming for being perfect, just
aim to be little bit better today than you were yesterday”
Spirituality, like food, comes in all forms. Maybe your idea of spirituality is finding
solace on a long walk where you feel connected to nature, or perhaps you connect to
your local yoga community for a spiritual outlet. There are countless ways to develop
your personal faith, and it’s important to remember that we are all connected in the
matrix of life.
Consider the last time you binged on junk – what was the reason? Often we eat not
because of hunger or stress, but due to pure boredom or restlessness. If these
emotions resonate with you, perhaps you are unfulfilled due to a lack of spirituality in
TRY THIS EXERCISE
Sometimes we simply need a reminder to make our spirituality a priority. Allow yourself
a few moments and begin by asking yourself these questions:
Who am I?
What do I want?
What contribution do I want to make to the world?
What is my story?
If you feel these questions are broad, you’re right! The intention is to internally expand
on your answers during meditation. Each time you ask yourself one of these questions,
pay attention to how you feel and see if you can find deeper meaning in your answers.
If you enjoy meditating, be sure to schedule times for regular reflection in your planner.
Even deep breathing is a great tool – I tell my clients it can apply to almost any
scenario. Simply close your eyes, breathing slowly and deeply until you feel calm and in
control. You’ll be amazed at how effective it can be!
Your career is another component of primary food, and like the others, plays a crucial
role in your eating habits.
Think about it: you spend eight to 10 hours a day, five days a week at work. Chances
are you spend more time with your coworkers than anyone else in your life. Many of us
wear stress as a badge of honor, convinced that productivity requires endless turmoil.
An office environment that’s harmonious and supportive of a healthy
work-life balance is achievable.
TRY THIS EXERCISE
Visualizing what’s important or rewarding yourself with a non-food related treat is a
great way to maximize productivity when deadlines are tight and your workload is
Do one of these today:
Bring a picture of a loved one or your child’s art work to keep on your desk at
Brighten your space with fresh flowers.
Stock the office kitchen with luxurious teas as a treat.
Take five minutes each day to de-clutter your space – a clear desk promotes a
Try a mid-day stretching exercise to aid circulation and promote relaxation.
Although the modern work world is challenging, it is filled with opportunities. Doing
work you love is essential to creating a healthy, balanced life.
I regularly tell my clients “an active body is an active mind.” It should come as no
surprise physical activity is the fourth primary food component.
Think about a typical scenario where you feel tired and weary. Do you often reach for
junk to provide a quick energy boost? Although it may not seem like it, physical activity
revs up the body and provides energy. Unlike sugar and the imminent energy crash it
leads to, the effects of exercise last long after you stop activity!
TRY THIS EXERCISE
Make a point to schedule physical activity on your calendar every week, if
not every day. Start small and slowly increase the number of days you include
Remember, you don’t have to engage in strenuous activities to see results. The goal is
to find a type of movement you enjoy, and then integrate it into your life on a regular
Consider mixing it up by trying something new:
If you love to dance, take a class at a local gym or dance studio.
If you’ve never done yoga, drop into a beginner class and see how it feels.
If you like to jog in your neighborhood, try a new route today.
Whatever activity you choose, add it into your planner so you remain accountable and
it becomes part of your life. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Next time you’re at the office, refresh your energy and combat stress by taking a break
in the middle of the day. Instead of surfing the web, get up and step away from your
desk for 15 minutes.
In order to keep our bodies happy and healthy, we need to get moving!