Do you feel like your cravings are a force that needs to be ignored. Or do you feel like your ability or inability to conquer cravings is a result of your willpower or lack thereof?
It's not that simple...and it's not your fault! Cravings are simply your body's way of trying to communicate what it needs. Your body is amazing, listen to it!
Instead of feeling bad about your cravings, try deciphering what your body's trying to tell you and try taking action based on what you learn. Take the guilt and self-judgement out of it!
7 Common Sources of Cravings
Lack of Primary Food
Consider that the food you eat is secondary to all of the other parts of your life that feed you, for example, your relationships, career, spirituality, hobbies, and exercise routine. These parts of your life are considered Primary Foods in the Integrative Nutrition world.
Integrative Nutrition bridges the gap between nutrition, or the food you eat, and personal growth and development. Both of these work together to create a healthy lifestyle. As I like to say, you could eat the most perfect diet in the world, but if you're unhappy in the rest of your life, you probably won't feel that healthy.
What is a habit?
A habit is a behavior that's performed automatically. Obviously, habits can be good or bad. This week I'll focus on developing good habits, but note that good habits can replace "bad" habits.
In fact, making small, continuous changes create habits that actually stick! That's because they don't require you to completely change everything about your life. They're built up over a longer period of time, which means you learn to manage and maintain them along the way.
In Deepak Chopra's book "Super Genes," he breaks down the lifestyle choices for increasing well-being into easy choices, harder choices, and experimental choices.
How much exercise do you *actually* need to get in shape?
Twenty minutes three times per week? Half-hour per day?
And how much is too much?
Do you need to sweat it out for an hour or more every day?
Let’s go over the (sometimes) mysterious amount of exercise that is ideal. Ideal for your health and wellness. Ideal for getting into shape.
Starting with the minimum.
What's the Minimum Amount of Exercise You Need?
This might seem strange that your skills would have anything to do with your well-being, but hang in here with me. It's important for several reasons.
Learning and practicing skills adds excitement to your life. When you're excited, you automatically have more energy without changing anything else. Your life satisfaction will increase when you're actively involved in learning and looking towards your future.
Do you remember when you were a teenager or young adult and people were always asking you about what your plans were and the future seemed exciting and limitless?
Why shouldn't it be the same now, no matter what your age?
Not only that, adding new skills or practices into your life works your brain muscle! Did you know that the more educated you are, the more information your brain stores, and the better it accesses what it's learned. In fact, the build up of information results in what neuroscientists refer to as "cognitive reserve," meaning that added connections and pathways between neurons give a boost to the brain which can counteract dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease.
Step 1: Determine your primary field of interest.
Last week I wrote about clarifying who you want your future self to be and how that future self interacts with the people in your life. This week, we'll delve further into how to bring your future self into being.
Did you know that research shows that people who feel loved are more likely to enjoy healthier hearts than those who feel unloved? Love is the healthiest of all emotions, yet it takes effort to stay in love once the infatuation stage ends.
In fact studies in positive psychology show that the quality of your relationships can make you happier, perform better, and feel better.
So how do you make that a reality in both your intimate relationships, friendships, and family relationships?
When you interact with others are you intentional? The most successful people make a conscious choice on who they're going to be and how they are going to interact with people.
I'd like to start with the definition of well-being. According to Psychology Today, "Well-being is the experience of health, happiness, and prosperity. It includes having good mental health, high life satisfaction, and a sense of meaning or purpose.
Can you increase your sense of well-being? Yes, you can! Well-being develops from your thoughts actions and experience, most of which you have control over.
Through the next few weeks, I'll be covering some key components of positive well-being. When any of the components are lacking, your well-being is thrown out of balance. I'll be sharing some tools to help you discover where you should be spending your energy in increasing your sense of well-being.
Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of days here in the United States.
It's one of my favorite holidays because it's purpose is spending time with friends and family, eating a nice meal, and ideally expressing gratitude what we have in our lives. It's an innately positive experience, even when we factor in the family dynamics we might be dealing with. (-;
While it's nice to have a day focused on expressing our gratitude, practicing gratitude on a daily basis has many positive effects, some of which you may surprise you.
First, though, I'd like to give a little explanation about practicing gratitude, while understanding that it can take many different forms.
What is a gratitude practice?
Inflammatory bowel syndrome...what is it?
Anyone that's diagnosed with it, would say it's frustrating, because it isn't really a diagnosis.
Inflammatory bowel syndrome, or IBS, is the diagnosis you're given when everything else has been ruled out. It's a collection of symptoms with an origin that can't be identified. 40% of people that visit the doctor report gastrointestinal problems. 60 million Americans suffer from IBS and those are only those that have received the "diagnosis."
Symptoms may include:
Symptoms may also include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and/or muscle pain.
To receive a diagnosis of IBS, the symptoms are chronic, occurring for at least three to six months.
What causes IBS?
Awareness is the first step to battling chronic stress. Have you been living your life at the same frantic pace for so long that it feels normal for you?
Are your struggling with chronic stress?
These are all symptoms of chronic stress.
I just spent an hour making dinner. It's one of my favorite new recipes, chipotle butternut squash and black bean tostadas. I've also made my favorite kale and strawberry salad. The meal checks all the boxes for me. It has plenty of vegetables, it's flavorful, and it's filling. Not only that, for my lunch the next day, I'll reheat a tostada and plop a fried egg on top. Delicious!
I set the table, since everyone's been in other parts of the house doing their thing. I'm fine with that, since I go into a meditative state when I cook, or sometimes I listen to podcasts or my music. I'll add one more thing: I'm sort of messy when I cook and my husband almost always cleans up after dinner. And we both want the kids to help more with the clen up. We agree on that point.
I call everyone to dinner and the first thing that happens is my husband states adamantly, "You kids are cleaning up tonight." Chaos ensues. My daughter has homework, my son already took out the garbage, plus he "always helps," and I get irritated because I just want everyone to enjoy the meal, especially me. Figure out the clean up later, after all, even if it's a mess, it doesn't take nearly as much time as making the meal.
And the worst part is that I know stress and conflict isn't good for digestion!
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Hi, I’m Crystal!