Need Chocolate Bad?
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Need Chocolate Bad?Why food cravings control you.
Let me ask you: when it comes to your appetite, eating habits, or weight, do your food cravings seem to control you? Do you sometimes feel you have no choice but to eat the food you are craving? Are there times when all you can think about is food? Whether you crave chocolate, cheeseburgers, bread, or ice cream, isn’t it the height of frustration to struggle with food cravings?! Your stomach says, “I want to eat it—NOW!” To which your mind counters, “No, you can’t eat it. It’s fattening. You need to lose weight. Forget about that food.” However, your stomach replies, “But I want it!” The more your mind says no, the more you want to eat it. We all know, deep down, that our hunger is rarely physically based. Our hunger is usually a desire to feel better right now. Like a caged animal pacing to and fro, your appetite circles around all your thoughts, plans, and energy. You imagine details about the food you crave: what it tastes like, where to buy it, how to prepare it. You imagine, too, how you’ll “undo” the calories and fat grams by skipping breakfast or exercising. It’s an addictive cycle, where the pursuit of food takes over much of your life. Suddenly, you are no longer in control. Food is. But, if you’re like me, you don’t want to fight yourself the rest of your life. The good news is that you don’t have to. Weight and eating issues don’t have to represent a continual struggle between will power and appetite when you:
Turn your focus away from maintaining a weight loss,
and instead turn your focus to maintaining peace of mind.
As long as you maintain peace of mind, your appetite will never feel out of control again! But sometimes, it’s confusing to know exactly what will deliver you from the turmoil and give you this peace. That’s where food-craving interpretation can help you—by letting you know which area of your life needs attention. Every food you crave corresponds to a specific emotion or issue calling for your attention. When you’re depressed, you’re likely to crave a dairy product such as cheese or ice cream. When you’re anxious, you’ll go for something crunchy such as chips or nuts. In fact, there’s a biological and psychological reason for each and every food you crave. Once you uncover the underlying emotion, you’ll feel a sense of relief stemming from being honest with yourself. At that point, your craving will diminish. Every food contains minerals, amino acids, textures, smells, and other mood- and energy-influencing properties. Some are stimulants, some are depressants, and some activate the pleasure centers in our brains. In fact, many food’s mood-altering or “psychoactive” properties are identical to those found in prescription medications for depression, anxiety, and asthma! The mood you intuitively wish to experience determines which food you’ll crave. For example, if you feel depressed or lethargic, you will crave foods that brighten your mood. If you feel tense or irritable, you’ll crave foods that will soothe your nerves. Feeling bored? Your cravings will steer you toward foods that trigger pleasure- or excitement-inducing chemicals in your brain.
To back up these types of findings, I’ve included material that is based on extensive research from three sources:
1. Scientific studies, from universities around the world, about the psychoactive (mood-altering) properties of various foods. In addition, I’ve compiled the latest studies about appetite in animals, human infants, and human adults; food preferences, and the effect of exercise on neurochemicals and appetite.
2. Ancient Chinese medicine theories about the “energies” of food. Amazingly, Chinese beliefs about food’s stimulating and calming properties dovetail perfectly with modern scientific research! The foods that were labeled “hot” (the Chinese medicine description of a stimulant, not the flavor) centuries ago, are the very foods that today are called vasoconstrictors, or stimulants.
3. One-on-one interviews, conducted in clinical sessions and at my workshops. By studying thousands of women and men, I was able to correlate their food cravings to their emotional issues and mood preferences. I also kept detailed records of my own food cravings and corresponding moods.
Amazingly, all three of these information sources—modern scientific research, ancient Chinese medicine beliefs, and my personal interviews—draw similar conclusions about which foods correspond to which emotions.