When Cravings Reveal Our Need For Inner Sweetness

The holiday season is nearly upon us. Many of us will have more out-of-the-ordinary situations and temptations to navigate. Perhaps you plan to forego that slice of pecan pie, those sugar-laden candied yams, or the extra glass of chardonnay. But will you be able to stick to that decision when the time actually comes?

So, why do white-knuckling and self-discipline alone backfire? We decide to make a change. We commit. We set a New Year’s resolution to eliminate sugary foods. We’re ready. We dream of feeling better in our bodies. We imagine fitting in our favorite pair of jeans. We’re motivated. The first few days go well. As days pass we find ourselves slipping. We muse “I wonder if I could just have one?” Soon we’re back in the vicious cycle of craving, resisting, and succumbing. Why does this have to be so hard?

Habits and cravings

Over the nearly four decades working as a healer and intuitive, I’ve noticed a major reason we get stuck spinning our wheels is that we conflate unrelated experiences, beliefs, and associations with our challenging habits and limiting perceptions. Until we detect, untangle, and dismantle the connection between them we’ll return to the candy, booze, or unfavorable behavior whenever the association gets triggered. We engage in these habits because they represent far more than one moment of satisfaction.

Here’s an example. I was working with an EFT student while I demonstrated how to tap for food cravings in my mentoring group. She wanted to focus on caramel turtles. In case you’re wondering, they’re clumps of chocolate-covered caramel mixed with pecans. They’re definitely tasty.

First, we focused on the candy’s qualities: the velvety smoothness, the buttery sweetness, the crunchy pecans. We tapped. She smelled it again. It smelled different. She tasted it again. It tasted different. Within mere minutes she’d gone from wanting to inhale the entire piece to feeling kinda “MEH” about it. However, the craving didn’t completely vanish. She still felt somewhat drawn to it.

She revealed a clue when I asked, “so what does it smell like now?” She answered, “It smells like peace.” Notice the difference between it smells like buttery sweetness and it smells like peace? The first describes the food, the second an emotional state she associates with it. “Why does it smell like peace?” I asked. She identified a similar treat from a particularly stressful period in her childhood. Back then her father periodically took her on errand runs. After their hardware store mission was complete, they’d stop for Snickers flavored ice cream. This was one of the few occasions she got to leave a hectic house and her screaming new baby brother.

  1. Ice cream wasn’t just ice cream.
  2. It was alone time with her dad.
  3. It was peace.
  4. It was respite.

Fast forward, decades later, she has her own fussy baby, older kids, and hectic house. No wonder caramel turtles were so tempting.

Letting go of old habits and patterns

Cravings are rarely just because they taste good. A craving is about the state of being it reminds us of. This is why it can feel so hard to let go of old habits and patterns. They represent something bigger than the thing itself.

Therefore, one of the first steps to understand how to shift starts by recognizing how we benefit from the things we crave. We can acknowledge we should change because smoking cigarettes or consuming excessive amounts of sugar or alcohol is not good for us. However, achieving sustainable abstinence takes more than willpower. We must become honest about what the substance is doing for us. Every one of us has reasons to engage in habits or behaviors that do not make logical sense. We turn to these less-than-optimal coping tools because on some level they work. At the very least, they offer a temporary reward.

In all the years I’ve been working as a healer, mentor, teacher, and intuitive guide for others, I’ve noticed that we’ll use the coping solutions we know until we find something better. We turn to sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, or any number of other less than optimal behaviors because they’re what we know. They do bring us relief. In the short term, they actually help us feel better and to shift. The problem is that we may feel great briefly but in the long run, we feel worse. This is especially true if you’re like me and most of the highly sensitive and empathic people I work with. It doesn’t take long for these coping strategies to backfire. It takes little time before we experience the negative effects. We start feeling lousy and find ourselves dealing with the consequences of our choice.

True Change

Before we can enact true change, we must love and accept ourselves where we’re at. It begins when we acknowledge we’re doing the very best we can with the tools and resources we have at the time. We have a really good reason for doing what we do. Until we discover a better solution, we’ll keep doing it. In our upcoming Wellness Universe book 25 Tools for the Goddess, I share one of these solutions by teaching you how to tap for food cravings. For now, I’m going to leave you with a few questions.

  • What are your immediate go-to’s for comfort?
  • When you’re maxed out, what do you turn to for relief?
  • Which of these do not serve you in the long run?
  • What brings temporary relief, but ultimately makes you feel worse?
  • What does it remind you of?
  • Aside from the deliciousness or the endorphin rush, what do you really need?
  • What does the substance represent?
  • Does it correlate to a time when things were easier?
  • Does it represent the thing that allowed you to find relief, receive positive attention, or love?
  • Most importantly, what’s a better way to get that true need met?

Connect with Jennifer Moore on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!


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