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Recovery blog

Honoring Your Cravings

By: Rebecca Alcosser, RD, at The Renfrew Center of New York

Posted on February 17, 2020

I love talking about cravings because I think they are such an important way to honor our body's needs. Cravings can be your body's way of directly asking for what it needs. For example, when you crave an orange, it might mean you need some Vitamin C, or when you crave a burger, maybe your body needs some iron.

Other types of cravings might indicate you are engaging in some sort of restriction surrounding food. It does not have to be a physical restriction for this to occur. Even placing judgements or certain labels on foods can cause us to feel restricted and could lead to chaotic eating or bingeing when the food becomes available.

A craving does not only occur following a period of restriction; it can simply be your body asking for what it wants or needs.

Not honoring a craving might lead to increased preoccupation with that food your body was asking for. Often, pushing away a craving can also cause dissatisfaction with the meal or snack you do have. Although cravings are important to honor, it doesn't mean we must eat exactly according to our cravings for every meal and snack, as it is just as important to honor cravings as it is to be flexible with choices that are available.

It does mean allowing yourself to listen to your cravings when possible or convenient. This might not mean taking the subway 10 stops away just to get a specific cookie you are in the mood for, but it could be having a bowl of pasta for dinner instead of a salad when you want something warm on a cold day. Honoring your body's needs through food can be difficult during treatment and throughout the recovery process for many reasons.

What can you do today to honor your cravings? Try to listen - your body is talking.

Rebecca works full-time at The Renfrew Center of New York. She started at Renfrew as a dietetic intern in 2018 and has been there ever since!
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