What do you think of when I say “indulge your cravings”?
Is indulging your cravings a good thing?
Or is it a bad thing?
Not long ago, I heard someone talking about how to recover after indulging your cravings.
How to recover.
If you need to recover from indulging your cravings, that, to me, would indicate that indulging your cravings is a bad thing.
To indulge is defined in a few ways:
- Allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of
- Satisfy or yield freely to (a desire or interest).
- Allow (someone) to enjoy a desired pleasure.
If indulging is allowing yourself to enjoy the pleasure of something that you desire, wouldn’t indulging a craving be considered a good thing?
Isn’t giving yourself something that you want usually a good thing?
It depends on how you think about your cravings.
If you think of cravings as bad things– as signs of weakness or a lack of willpower, then indulging a craving would mean failing.
Failing to stick with your plan. Your cravings drew you away from your diet plan, and you indulged (satisfied) those cravings, thus you failed your plan.
BUT cravings aren’t a sign of weakness.
They’re also not a lack of willpower.
If you think of cravings as your body’s way of communicating with you, then indulging your cravings would mean giving your body what it’s asking for…which is basically intuitive eating.
In this case, indulging your cravings is something to be celebrated: it indicates that you’re in tune with your inner body cues, and that you’re able to deconstruct your cravings and decipher what you really want.
Here are 5 tips to deconstruct your cravings and celebrate your indulgences:
- Stop and tune in. Take a moment to breathe: acknowledge that you’re craving something.
- What sensation are you craving? Listen to your inner body cues. Are you physically hungry or emotionally hungry? Are you craving crunchy, sweet, chewy or salty? Think about what sensation you’re craving.
- Consider a nutrient dense option. Is there a nutrient dense food that will satisfy your craving? Some dark chocolate or crunchy roasted nuts? Once you have an idea of what you’re craving try to find a nutrient dense food that might satisfy it.
- Consider the non-food options. If it feels like there’s no nutrient dense food that will satisfy your craving, ask yourself if you’re getting all of the nourishment from your life that you need? Or are you craving something non-food? Like a hug or some mental stimulation?
- Consciously indulge. If you can’t find a nutrient dense option or a non-food option to satisfy your craving, make the conscious choice to indulge your craving. The important thing here is that you’re making a conscious choice: you’re not mindlessly eating M&Ms, you’re consciously choosing to treat give your body that it needs and wants.
- Celebrate. Enjoy your indulgence! At this point you’ve been mindful of your cravings– you’ve listened to your body and considered your options– you know that you’re giving your body something that it really wants. Savor and enjoy it.
Deconstructing your cravings can take time.
There are still times when I know I want something, but I have NO idea what I want.
Just like with intuitive eating, deconstructing your cravings takes time, patience and forgiveness.
If you feel like you need support deconstructing your cravings and consciously indulging, that’s what I’m here for. As a health counselor I support people just like you to work through cravings and to start listening to their inner body cues.