Deconstructing Cravings, Part 3

In Parts 1 & 2, we’ve talked about the whats, whens and whys of cravings.

Here is a quick review.

For every craving, there is an equal and opposite cause & probably another craving right behind it.

The reason why cravings are so important to think about when you’re trying to get healthier is because if you don’t figure out yours, then you’re doomed to ride the craving roller coaster for life.
In no particular order, the most common reasons for cravings could be:
  • Dehydration, lacking water
  • Tiredness, exhaustion or boredom
  • Stress, stress and more stress
  • Emotional eating or as a result of emotional eating
  • Too many foods or drinks with one quality, i.e. too many salty foods, too many sweet foods
  • Lacking in primary foods, i.e. things that nourish us but are not exactly food like relationships, careers & spirituality AND that we are usually lacking or unsatisfied with

The foods that you crave are not as important as why you are craving them. While that may not make sense, in the long run you’ll be more successful figuring out how to handle them rather than just giving in.

How do we figure out how to deal with cravings?
I call that deconstructing cravings.
Just as someone will build or construct a house, it takes someone equal but opposite to demolish or deconstruct that house.
I use that example quite specifically because I want you to start thinking in terms of opposites.

While I maybe be a bit of a science geek and can still recite Newton’s laws of motion- I won’t btw- physics has some common sense ideas that are pretty valuable.

I want you to think “equal and opposite reaction” and ignore the rest of my science geeky stuff.
(Unless you’re into that sort of thing…)
When you take an objective look at your cravings, you need to know what you crave, when you crave it and why you crave it.

What? Check.
When? Check.
Why? Sort of check.
Again, think opposites and feel free to scroll back up and look at my list of most common causes of cravings.

This line of questioning, this line of thought is the most basic form of deconstruction of cravings that I can show you.
(I can do more in-depth deconstructing one on one & if you’re into that, just shoot me an email or leave me a comment on the blog.)
Once you know the why, then getting to the how is simple.
How do you break cravings, or, at the very least, deal with them in a more healthy way?

Step 1: Identify the craving, i.e. what is it?
Step 2: Identify any patterns around the craving, i.e. time of day, emotional state, level of mental, physical, emotional exhaustion, etc.

Step 3: Identify if the craving is alone, or if there is a “sister” craving that goes along with it, ex. sugar & caffeine in your breakfast ritual or 3 PM work slump.

Step 4: Identify if the craving is a result of an opposite action, i.e. a heavy protein dinner will cause you to crave a sweet dessert.

Step 5: Identify if there is an emotional aspect to your craving.

Step 6: Identify the strength of the craving. Does it go away with a little bit of the item craved or does it get stronger & more willful?

Step 7: Identify any potential alternatives to your craving. Does it need to be a very specific item or can a substitution be used?

Once you have gone through steps 1-7, then you’ll have given yourself the basic framework from which you can break down your craving cycle.

The biggest step in deconstructing cravings comes in the form of breaking patterns and changing habits.

For example, if your craving always comes at 3 pm while you’re at work, perhaps you need to drink some water, get some fresh air or move around a bit instead of heading to the vending machine or starbucks.

If your cravings come after a very stressful conversation, dinner or gathering with your family and disowning them is NOT an option, then maybe you need to create some habits that will help you disperse the familial stress.

Whether its a trusted friend that you call, a 24-hr gym you attend or screaming into a pillow, find creative ways to break through the patterns you’ve created.

I know that I’m over simplifying things, but I want to give you a jumping off point because when it comes down to it, we’re all different.

We all possess a different set of circumstances and different biological needs.

We’re all going to react in different ways.

Here is just one simple set of steps that you can use to get to the bottom of your cravings.

If you’re still not sure, then drop me a line on my blog and let me know. I’ll be able to answer you from there and help you piece together your “how”, how to deconstruct your cravings.

Your Challenge, if you choose to Accept it!

Go through steps 1-7.
Really take some time to sit and see how your cravings stack up against your lifestyle and your goals.
What works? What doesn’t?
What patterns or habits do you see need changing or tweaking?
What is the first step that you can make to get you to break your own cravings?
What is the first excuse that you could see yourself making? What is your answer going to be to counter that first, second or third excuse?
Be prepared now. The battle is on.

Please comment on this article and let me know your thoughts!

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  • Megan Matthieson

    cookies and coffee at 3!!!!

  • Megan Matthieson

    cookies and coffee at 3!!!!

  • Annette Nack

    That is so common Megan!

    There’s something about that mid-afternoon timing that throws off so many of us. Maybe it’s our lunches or what we’re dealing with during the course of the day, but caffeine & sugar are at the top of a lot of lists. Mine personally is chocolate.

    But I’m boring, so I start with a few glasses of water & then I try to get my blood flowing. I also keep an emergency stash of chocolate nearby- you know, just in case : )

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