I wanted to share with you behind the scenes of how my video on food cravings was made. Even though I’m the one in front of the camera, some discussions are going on behind the camera. The topics that I choose to talk about are often questions I get from my patients or personal experiences that my employees share with me. I love being able to create these videos and share the answers to these questions with a broader audience.
Woman #1 – What Do You Really Want?
The first woman talking is sharing her experience when she was going through health issues and dealing with food cravings. “I want pizza,” she explained to me. I remember asking her, “what do you really want?” and she was able to identify that what she wanted was to be out with some friends. After realizing how heavily emotions tie into food, she was ready to start identifying her cravings and discover her actual needs that were masked by food. She said, “If I am craving mac & cheese or chicken and dumplings, what I really want is a comfort.” She started getting better at identifying what she needs and replacing her original cravings with healthier alternatives. If she comes home from work and she wants to decompress with a glass of wine; instead, she will have tea, or instead of getting pizza, she’ll call a friend.
Woman #2 – Food Is Our Default For Dealing With Emotions
The second woman who shared her personal experience with food cravings identified that a lot of the time, our default for dealing with emotions is just turning to food. It is so important to take a step back and ask ourselves, “Am I really hungry?” when we are leaning to food. A good trick is to drink some water and wait 15 minutes and see if the craving goes away. During those 15 minutes, try to identify between real hunger or if your craving is coming from an emotional place.
WHY Do We Crave Unhealthy Foods?
Craving foods that we KNOW are bad for us is not self-sabotage. Food cravings are not your body; all of a sudden decided that it wants to feel sick. It’s our brain saying “I want something, and I can’t figure out how to get it, but I remember when I ate pizza when I was younger, I always had… [fill in the blank].” So pizza becomes this fantastic food in your memories that are associated with some emotion. Cravings can also be associated with experiences and especially people.
One Year Of Dr. Pepper And Chocolate Chip Cookies
I went through a phase where I was eating Dr. Pepper and chocolate chip cookies almost every day for a year. I tried using will power, and it worked for a little bit, but then I would give in because I was miserable without the foods I was craving. After about a year of this bad habit, I realized I started doing this about six months after my dad died. Dr. Pepper and chocolate chip cookies were what I would eat every Saturday morning with my dad growing up.
Once I discovered the cause behind my cravings, it didn’t all just go away. I had to figure out how to deal with my emotions in a healthier way than chocolate chip cookies and Dr. Pepper. I realized this was a horrible way to honor his memory, and I found a better way to think about my dad and to express and feel those emotions. The junk food was a little addictive because of the soda and sugar, but that was so easy to stop with a little bit of will power once I discovered the true meaning behind it.
It’s Not About Will Power
When you’re craving foods that you know don’t make you feel good, forget about the food, and about will power; it’s not about either of those things. Something is going on inside you, and that is what you need to open up and solve for the unhealthy food cravings to go away. Oh and make sure you’re well fed along the way so its not real hunger you’re experiencing!
Getting rid of cravings especially after making new dietary changes is not always easy. I made a blog post about how to make dietary changes that fit YOUR lifestyle with tips ad tricks to help get rid of old habits.
Here’s To A Better Life,
Dr. Steve Puckette