We all have our “thing”. Our favorite food we grab to quell our anxiety or soothe our depression or make us happy. And we’ve all had that day when we’re totally stressed out.
We reach for quick food rather than take the time to cook something healthy for ourselves. But cooking healthfully and eating mindfully can bring us great peace, weight loss, and satisfaction.
Here’s a loving, 3-step process to help you control cravings with ease:
1.) Identify the self-judgment you’re making when cravings arise.
What are your thoughts telling you the moment you’re going to get food? What negative things are they telling you?
Are they saying things like “You’re not enough”, “You’re unloveable”, “You aren’t capable”, etc.?
If so . . .
2.) Replace the self-judgment with self-nurturance.
Allow yourself to feel the feeling underneath the self-judgment.
The good news about feeling bad is that the feeling we want to suppress, when felt, can create self-empowerment and freedom.
Remember: Feelings + Thought = Emotion. Drop the story you’re telling yourself attached to the feeling and then the feeling will easily pass.
3.) Lean into the anxiety and your nervous system will continue to grow stronger and stronger.
Allow some time between the initial craving and then surrender it up rather than gratifying it. Focus your attention on something else. Meditate, take a walk, a bath, talk with a friend, do something creative, change it up.
Learn how to be with your discomfort. Be kind with the old habit. It’s just an old habit. Allow more and more time before feeding it.
It fights back . . . Don’t we know it! That chocolate continues to cavil at us. Give it 5 minutes. Then 10. Then a half hour. Maybe a day. Keep strengthening your nervous system.
Think about what you would do with your own child. Rather than yell at her or him for acting out and wanting that cookie NOW, be gentle. Get on your knees and give that child a hug, only the child most deserving of love is YOU.
Another way to find calm in the kitchen is to use cooking as meditation. We don’t have to sit and meditate to get the peace we want. We can do it WHILE COOKING.
Here are 4 ways to get the benefits of mindfulness in the kitchen:
- While cutting, prepping and doing knife work: Focusing with concentration calms the mind, centers us and brings a balanced, peaceful feeling.
- Look at ways to ground with the food. Food is of the earth. Feel your connection to the earth as you work with the food. Getting in your body releases tension. Feel your feet as you cook.
- Take in all the senses: Really smell the aromas, delight in the color, feel the textures in your hands, taste as you cook and savor. Taking in all the senses increases joy and vitality.
- Feel the utensils in your hands fully: The wooden spoon as you stir the stew. The button of the mixer as it blends. The knife’s handle as you chop and mince.
And as an extra bonus:
While eating, put your fork down between bites and finish chewing before picking up the fork again. This is great for losing weight and improving your digestion. It also helps to slow the mind’s inner workings down, reduces stress, and helps cultivate mindfulness.
Wishing you delight in cooking, eating and good health!