It’s late at night, you are tired, just relaxing after a stressful day as you find yourself walking up to the fridge to look for a snack. Or it’s 4 pm at the office, there is still a heck of a lot of work to do before you can go home tonight and you need something to give you a boost, so you automatically grab a chocolate bar without even thinking twice about it. Or how about it’s after dinner and you treat yourself to that dessert because you had a long, busy day?
These situations probably sound extremely familiar. A common theme along all of these scenarios: you are not actually physically hungry. So, what is going on?
What are you really hungry for?
Clearly, you are craving some form of nourishment and instinctively (i.e. our reptile brain is involved!) we often go straight for food without even thinking about it, because this is the most basic way of nourishing ourselves. However, food really can only ever nourish us on a physical level, so unless you actively stop and think about what you are actually craving, you are not satisfying your body’s need. And the hungrier you are, the hungrier you stay, no matter how much food you eat.
So, let’s try and think differently: what (ful)fils you? Really fulfils you?
This can be mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Our mind often craves nourishing experiences as much as our body craves nourishing food. However, our bodies interpret any type of craving we experience as something that can be soothed with food which is why we end up emotionally eating. Yet, being able to soothe cravings by the mind with food only works temporarily. We need to learn to nourish our mind-body as much as our physical body which is why time for yourself, self care and a positive attitude are essential. Actually, anything that makes you feel lighter physically and emotionally is incredibly important when it comes to nourishing you as a being (as opposed to your physical body).
Often what makes us lighter physically and emotionally are things that we used to do as children or activities during which we completely lost track of time. When did you last do an activity like that? An activity where you could be truly yourself?
Finding the balance in the various form of nourishments may take time as you discover what your real needs are and as a result who YOU really are. One thing is for certain, though:
You cannot achieve this balance by struggle, effort, worry or fighting with yourself.
Instead, start exploring your relationship with food from a place of self-love and curiosity. Practice limitless acceptance towards yourself. Don’t judge or label yourself or your habits. And then start making small steps towards filling yourself up. Maybe by spending a few hours doing what you loved doing when you are a child next weekend?
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