Here’s a welcomed reminder: Your body is a perfect piece of machinery that is capable of amazing things. You are flawlessly designed to achieve great heights and heal from even greater lows. Your body is a sophisticated and reliable bio-computer designed to let you know if you’re lacking in precious nutrients or otherwise. Cravings are not annoying and random moments of weakness – in fact, we dare you to rethink and redefine what these seemingly disruptive cues are saying about your nutritional profile and personal life. Yes, we are saying that your cravings are extremely precious and intuitive messages that can help you hit the target on all of your nutritional and life goals!
Your cravings are likely telling you that your body is in need of some key nutrients. Incessant cravings for sugary snacks and sweets can result from a range of factors, from low energy reserves to a variety of hormonal impacts (read more in Redefine Your Sweetness – Part 1). Or perhaps the sugar cravings are stemming from a need to restore a ‘yin/yang’ balance in the foods you’re eating. As sugar is very ‘yin’, you may want to take note of any ‘yang’ foods you’re consuming and try cutting back on those a bit. Common yang foods are salt, red meat and cheese.
Nutritional voids aside, there are also some extremely viable non-food related reasons behind sweet cravings. Your body functions as a wonderful vessel for a greater force: YOU. Your body does not function in isolation to the myriad of emotional factors that take place in your life each day. In fact, your body is impacted by all sorts of emotional factors from stress to elation. Consciously and (likely) unconsciously, the way we fuel our bodies is linked to broader factors in our lives like our relationships, work and spiritual life. When we feel fueled by these critical parts in our life we are less likely to abuse food and other substances. Likewise, when we feel emotionally starved in some of the most important parts in our lives we often find other ways to ‘feed’ our voids. Use your sweet craving cues as a way to start re-evaluating what may be missing or not working in your life.
Consider the following:
- Bitter-sweet relationships? - Sugar cravings are a common indicator of a lack of ‘sweetness’ in your relationships with others, and with yourself. Our ‘feel–good’ hormone, serotonin, is activated by sugary treats and temporarily distracts us from key emotional voids in our lives: love and affection. Consider whether your closest relationships could use a boost in the connection department. Be raw with yourself about those that are emotionally draining you and may need to be reconsidered. Reach out to friends and family and do the little things that make you and your relationships feel that much more fulfilling.
- Woe is work - Many of us spend more time at the office than we do at home. It is important to feel like the work that we do is meaningful in some way to us. Be honest with your relationship with your work life. If you feel stuck in your job and are not sure how to make the leap to a work life that you love then start by checking in with yourself. See what it is that you’d ‘like’ to be doing instead – making an honest reassessment is a big step in allowing big changes to take place in your life.
If you are happy at your work place but just find that you’re facing too much stress then remember that stress kicks off quite a mess in us: elevated cortisol levels (aka our ‘stress’ hormone) causes a blood sugar roller coaster of super highs and lows…all fueling intense sugar cravings to help bolster energy and calm moods. We encourage carving out 5-10 minutes, each day, for a stress-busting practice like yoga, stretching or a hot bath.
- Finding a Fitness Fit? – Not all fitness regimes are created equally. Despite the newest exercise fad, if your workout routine isn’t what your body needs then you may be creating more stress by trying to incorporate it into your daily routine. More stress brings on higher cortisol levels, which can bring on sugar cravings to combat these hormonal spikes. Yes ladies, forcing a fitness routine can actually cause cravings! High-voltage cardiovascular or weight-bearing workouts can create a lot of aggressive energy within us, which can serve us well when things are dragging or passive in our lives but be counterproductive when we’re already in a head-spinning-head-racing aggressive state. So, if your life is calling you to slow down then incorporate a fitness routine that is calming to both mind and spirit like yoga or simple stretching. Restoring a fitness balance will help in quelling those nagging cravings.
- Starving Spirit - Rocking a spiritual existence can look like what you want it to. Being spiritual does not need to involve an institutionalized faith – but it can if that works for you. Living a life full of love, confidence and abundance comes easily when we are centred on who we are and the divine direction that we ought to take. Bottomless emotions that derail us from our spiritual paths such as fear, worry, angst and anger leave us starved prompting us to over consume and abuse food and other substances. What activities leave you feeling expansive and centred? This will look different for many people – consider learning about meditation, joining a community group that honors your ideas about life, or being alone with nature once a week. Whatever your practice – be present and learn to be in amazement of who you are!
Here’s to a sweet ending!
Are the salty Pringles calling your name? Check out next week’s installment which dives into cravings for all things salty…and we dare you to (not) take your cravings with a grain of salt!
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 Joshua Rosenthal, Integrative Nutrition (2007)
 If you need help finding a work life that you love we recommend checking out Marieforleo.com
 Check out May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein (2013).