Monday, September 22, 2008

Guest Post ~ Deconstructing Cravings

How exciting, our first guest post! Please join us in welcoming Phyllis McCarthy, a Certified Health Counselor fron Northern Kentucky to Cincinnati Losers.

The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or more love in your life. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs.

Your body knows best and is always trying to create balance. However, products like refined foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and drugs (which have little or no nutritional value) are confusing to the body. They throw the body off-balance and can create serious cravings as your body tries to get what it needs to restore internal harmony. The more your food is whole and healthy, the easier it is for your body to stay in balance and provide you with a happier, healthier life.

No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.

The next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness. Try these tips to respond to your body:

  • Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.
  • Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.
  • What is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?
  • When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect. Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.

Phyllis McCarthy is a Certified Health Counselor and loves helping people create happy, healthy lives in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline. Visit to learn more about health counseling, sign up for the Healthy Habits and Happenings newsletter or check for upcoming events including the Sugar Blues tele-class on October 8 and October 20. If you want to gain control of your sugar cravings without willpower or deprivation, check this one out!


Amy in Ohio said...

I know from many attempts that deprivation never works for me. I'll maintain the "discipline" for a week or a month or maybe more, but eventually the walls come tumbling down and when I fall off the bandwagon I hit hard. Instead of indulging with one cookie or handful of M&M's, I finish off the bag and head out to get more.

I've made a real effort this time to eat what I want in moderation and it's working.

Great post!

Maura said...

These are good reminders and great advice. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we really do know what we need, but the message can get fuzzy in a hectic life. Thanks!

Kel Klump said...

Thanks for the post. I really needed a boost. I printed this one off as a reminder when I am at the office to not grab a candy bar and maybe stick to an apple or something else. It always seems to fill me up more than a chocolate bar or something that will have me spending more time on the treadmill and less time loosing weight.

ShannanB aka Mommy Bits said...

These are great tips. I always craze sweets in the afternoon. Weill have to bring fruit with me to work.