Emotional Eating 101 - The Cause Of Your Food Cravings
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Emotional Eating 101 - The Cause Of Your Food CravingsLearn What Your Food Cravings Mean
While many people adopt spiritual practices and principles in the search for peace and happiness, it’s also true that your diet can impact your emotions and state of mind. I go into this in detail in my book with Becky Black titled: Eating in the Light: Making The Switch to Vegetarianism The link between food and mood has been established by hundreds of scientific studies. Many of these studies show that depression, anxiety, lethargy, and cravings can result from a poor or imbalanced diet.
What Do Your Food Cravings Mean?
Cravings for food are a sign that the body and the emotions are looking for peace or homeostasis. Cravings can mean that some vitamin or mineral is depleted in the body. However, they can also stem from emotional imbalances. Whenever there are imbalances, we receive guidance (in the form of gut feelings, ideas, visions, or an inner voice) to change the situation causing the imbalance. If we ignore this guidance, the body pressures us to regain homeostasis in a different way, such as through craving certain foods. Intuitively, the body knows that certain foods will alter the brain chemicals or blood pressure in order to regulate energy or mood.
For example, let’s say that you’re unhappy at work. You feel pressured to perform the job of three employees without receiving adequate pay or approval. After a while, you begin to feel burned-out, so your inner guidance pressures you to make a life change. Perhaps you get a feeling that you should brush up your résumé and contact an employment agency. Unfortunately, your fears about financial security or about change in general keep you from following this guidance. So your body then sends you signals to eat certain foods that will help you temporarily feel better.
The Causes of Compulsive Overeating
Each food is craved because it has amino acids, neurochemical catalysts, or vasoconstrictor catalysts, which will energize your body or soothe your brain chemicals. For example, burnout or fatigue from pushing yourself too hard might cause you to crave the stimulating effect of red meat or sharp cheese. Feelings of fear, tension, or depression might lead to cravings for the soothing effect of fatty foods like vanilla ice cream.
To deal with food cravings, first make sure that your body is physically fulfilled. This may mean taking a multivitamin each day (check the label to make sure it says “Suitable for Vegetarians,” since some vitamins have beef, fish, egg, or other animal by-product ingredients). My book Constant Craving lists hundreds of food cravings and their underlying causes and is a good reference for understanding what your food craving means.
Healthy Ways to Stop Emotional Eating
Your emotions also require adequate supplies of a brain chemical called “serotonin.” Without sufficient serotonin, you may feel tired, depressed, irritable, or have cravings for carbohydrates. Some natural ways to increase your serotonin supply include the following:
- Engaging in aerobic activities for at least 20 minutes, four or five times a week
- Being outside in the sunlight
- Avoiding or reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption, which inhibit serotonin production
- Touching a loved one, and being touched
- Eating a balanced diet, with plenty of whole grains and fresh produce
- Sleeping soundly for at least seven or eight hours without the use of sleep-enhancers
Once your body is taken care of, any additional food cravings you experience will probably have an emotional basis. The most direct route to reducing cravings is to heal the situation that’s triggering them. Even taking a baby step toward the resolution of a problem at work, in your love life, or in your lifestyle can reduce food cravings.
Affirmations are another powerful solution to handling food cravings. Begin each day by affirming:
- I crave healthful foods.
- I love exercising.
- My body is fit and healthy.
- I can easily afford to buy organic food.
- I have plenty of time for exercise.
- I love eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
- When I eat healthfully, I feel wonderful.
Then, throughout the day, fill your mind with positive affirmations about the situation that seems to be triggering your food cravings. For instance, if you’re craving steak or bacon to increase your energy at a job that you don’t like, you can say affirmations to motivate you to make changes. These might include, My work is meaningful and fulfilling, or I am open to making positive changes in my life. If your cravings seem more geared toward high fat foods, you’re most likely feeling some insecurity that you’re trying to fill with fat. Fat stays in the stomach long after other forms of food have been digested and emptied. So, fat cravings often occur in people who feel that their life lacks meaning, who feel empty, or who feel financially or emotionally insecure.
Some affirmations for these situations include those to increase your abundance, such as: Waves of abundance are flowing through me right now; affirmations to add meaning to your life, such as: New opportunities to make the world a better place are now open to me; and affirmations to add self-confidence, such as: I am valuable and lovable just for being who I am.
You can also ask God and your guardian angels to help you with food cravings. Many of my students report that their prayers for relief from cravings are answered. Additionally, Angel Therapy is a powerful way to clear, or reduce, food cravings. To perform angel therapy on yourself, mentally ask Archangel Michael (who clears away the residue of fear) and Archangel Raphael (the healing angel) to enter into your mind, heart, and body. Depending upon your spiritual orientation, you may also want to invite in God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Mary, or your guides. Mentally say to your helpers, I am willing to release the fears that are triggering my food cravings. Please clear away the effects of fear from my thoughts, my cellular memory, my heart, and my body. Then, let the angels do the rest of the work, while you simply stay open to their help. Watch for any tendency to hold your breath while the angels are working. When we breathe, we open the door to spiritual healing.