5 Common Food Cravings: Why You Crave What You Crave
Written by: Faith Shevlin
Food cravings are often huge obstacles for many of us that are trying to lose weight and improve our health. You are dieting, exercising and trying really hard to lose weight and then BAM! A craving hits.
Maybe it looks something like this…
You are doing great. You are on track and feeling motivated and eating super healthy. You’re even exercising consistently.
But then… something happens in your life that you are not able to handle and that one thing (or multiple things) triggers your food cravings. That something (stress from a job, relationship, money, etc.) knocks you off track. And then what happens?
You give in and indulge in your (often unhealthy) food cravings. You give up on your diet. Then you beat yourself up for it and make yourself in the wrong for indulging. This cycle repeats itself over and over again.
Can you relate?
What if I told you that your food cravings are actually your body’s way of sending you important messages?
What if your cravings were really just opportunities to learn, grow and improve your health and life in general?
A food craving can be a pointer indicating there is something in your life that needs attention. There are various emotional issues hiding beneath food cravings. Stress, fear, anger, insecurity and/or frustration are just a few of the possible sources.
A craving may also be an attempt to fulfill an unmet need such as fun, comfort and/or love. Food can serve as a temporary solution to manage discomfort. You may use food as an attempt to feel something you are missing (security, calm, joy), or to escape something you don’t want to feel (anger, sadness, anxiety).
Knowing the significance of your food cravings can provide insight into what you are really craving. And more often than not, it has nothing to do with food.
5 Common Cravings and What They Reveal
1. Sweets (candy, desserts, donuts, pastries, cake, cookies)
- A craving for more sweetness in life.
- A lack of self-care and “me” time.
- Wanting a reward, seeking pleasure
- Easing sadness and grief.
- A desire to avoid disappointment.
- Needing a boost of energy.
- Don’t feel you are “sweet” enough.
- Craving for love, intimacy and/or romance.
- A need for calming.
- To lift one’s mood, a “feel-good” boost.
- Looking for energy, passion and excitement.
- Unable to process sadness/grief.
- Lack of magnesium.
- Attempt to soothe tension, stress and/or anxiety.
- Wanting to fill up inner emptiness.
- Looking for calm and comfort; reassurance.
- Feeling unsatisfied with life.
- A desire to slow down.
- An attempt to relieve anger, irritation and frustration.
- Holding back something you want to express.
- Bitterness and resentment.
- Stress and anxiety relief.
- Criticism – of self, from others, or towards other.
5. Dairy (creamy and smooth)
- A craving for comfort.
- A yearning for being nurtured.
- Needing soothing.
- Looking for safety and security.
- To ease worry and anxiety.
So how do you figure out your cravings message?
Use the journaling questions below to explore and discover what triggers your food cravings. By becoming aware of your triggers, you can learn what needs to be healed.
- The last (or one I remember) craving I had was for…
- What was going on when I had the craving? (describe the situation – was anyone else involved, what happened, what time of day was it, etc.)
- The feelings that preceded my craving attack were…
- The thoughts that preceded my craving attack were…
- Could these feelings around your food craving be attached to a childhood memory? Either painful or happy?
- This food reminds me of when… or I remember eating this as a child when…
Fill in the blank for the following statements that apply to you.
- My food cravings might be about fulfilling my need for…
- My food craving might be so I don’t have to feel…
- My food craving might be a replacement for…
- My food cravings might be to feel…
- My food craving might be a way to avoid the pain of…
We indulge in food cravings when we are triggered by something or someone in our lives. A trigger could be a memory, an emotion, an unmet need, or something missing in our lives.
For example, many people have cravings at night. Coming home to an empty house may be a trigger, if you are single and want a relationship. Coming home to the empty house could trigger loneliness. The unmet need may be love and connection. Underneath the unmet need, could be a belief that, I will always be alone or will never find true love. This could bring up sadness, which could trigger a chocolate craving.
So, underneath the chocolate craving is an unmet need for a romantic relationship and a dysfunctional belief that I will always be alone or that I will never find the one.
Awareness is a key step in breaking free of food cravings. Use these questions to explore and understand your food craving triggers. You can go through the questions for each specific food craving you have.
By being the detective of your indulgences, you can determine what emotion, need, pain, or memory is the cause. By looking at the food craved and the situation that triggered it, the deeper root issues can be revealed.
Registered Dietitian, Holistic Wellness Counselor and EFT Tapping Coach
at Faith Shevlin
Faith Shevlin is a registered dietitian, holistic wellness counselor and EFT Tapping Coach. Her own health journey is what led to her passion for holistic health and personal growth. With each client, she looks at how all areas of life are connected; nutrition, lifestyle, emotions, belief systems, relationships and purpose. By combining her expertise in nutrition and health, with EFT tapping and life coaching, Faith guides her clients through their own transformational journeys. She finds incredible joy in inspiring others to take control of their own health and well-being so that they can live life in full expression of who they really are.
Latest posts by Faith Shevlin (see all)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS