If you regularly experience cravings, this one's for you
At the risk of sounding like the biggest hypocrite on the planet, rather than the clean-living healthy personal trainer most people perceive me as; I write this following a particularly overly-indulgent episode that consisted of a vast amount of chocolate and coffee. 😮
Why, I hear you ask? Was I having a particularly stressful day? Did I finally 'give in' and indulge in the elements omitted from my daily diet? Did the deprivation that is 'clean eating' finally get to me, causing a sugar and caffeine blow out of cosmic proportions?!
No, no and absolutely NO! In fact, the opposite is true. My chocolate and coffee indulgence was 100% planned and accounted for; as it was an organised Chocolate Ecstasy Tour, that my husband and I had bought my brother for Christmas 😆
It was an absolutely brilliant experience and one that for me, left me feeling extremely grateful of the place that I am now in both physically and mentally. As an overweight, unhealthy and unhappy teenager, I certainly would not have appreciated the luxury of good quality chocolate; especially as the cheap processed stuff used to be a part of my daily diet; relied on as a coping mechanism; rather than an occasional indulgence, so a tour like this would have certainly been wasted on me!
I also was aware of how little I could actually eat of it; as we were given quite a few samples to try, and I certainly reached my limit pretty quickly. In my previous life, I would have probably continued until I was on the verge of being sick, as this used to be my indicator that I'd had enough! So this experience was not only a planned episode of indulgence, but a reminder of how far I've come on my own personal journey (I hate that word, but you know what I mean!)
If you regularly socialise and enjoy eating out, this does not have to stop - it just needs to be balanced with what you're also doing throughout the rest of the week, so it doesn't mean you need to 'start over' come Monday morning!
Which leads me to the purpose of this article. EVERYBODY indulges from time to time (even personal trainers as we are too, in fact human!) and it is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of.
When your lifestyle consists of a balanced, nutritious and nutrient-rich diet, with plenty of correct exercise and relaxation, the odd indulgent episode is not going to 'undo' all your hard work and effort. Cravings will also disappear, as the body is balanced and satisfied and does not feel like it is missing out on anything.
I used to believe constant cravings for sugar and/or salt (it was always sugar in my case) meant you must be deficient in a vitamin or mineral. Thinking about it, if this were true then wouldn't our cravings therefore be for fruits and vegetables rather than sugary or salty junk?!
In some cases, cravings for certain foods may potentially indicate a certain mineral or vitamin deficiency, or even illness. Recent research however proposes that food cravings are often less about what's going on inside your body, than what's going on inside your brain. When we feel sad, stressed, or tired, the foods we tend to crave stimulate the release of certain brain chemicals that change or balance our moods.
We can certainly learn a lot about our own personal moods and emotions from our cravings. In my next article, I will explore a few of the most common cravings, in order to help you understand and combat them. So watch this space and keep up your wonderful work until then 🙂