I promise I'm not going crazy on you. I know the post title is a bit wacky but it's all going to make sense. Everyday we crave feelings. You know those moments when you just crave comfort, happiness, enjoyment, or energy? Never had those? Maybe it's because you're too busy cravings things like cookies, or chips, or ice cream.
One of the biggest things I learned the hard way was I tend to misunderstand my cravings for feelings. I'll give you an example. Back in my super restrictive dieter days I would always get cravings for food - pretty much any food would do; I was hungry. Instead I would go for a walk. But let's be real - my body was tired I had no energy. I really was craving food and a nap. But the magazines told me to walk and my hunger would go away. I'll let you guess whether it worked or not.
Here's another example: I lived in New York for a couple months after college and hated it. I craved comfort, I wanted to see my family, I wanted to be in a familiar place, but I thought I needed to be tough and stick it out. This led me to crave comfort foods like cookies or pasta or just about any home cooking. Since all of these foods were "off limits" at the time, I would again get out of my apartment, keep myself busy, and usually go for a walk. But that wasn't what I needed. And let me tell you something, there is nothing comforting about walking through a crowd of tourists in the middle of Times Square. This meant I would head back to my apartment, lonely, and likely eat a little too much dry cereal or whatever health food I had on hand because my craving was left unsatisfied.
Now let's look at this proactively instead. When that thought of "I really want a cookie" came up I could have asked myself if I was legitimately hungry. If the answer was no I should have curled up on my couch in my coziest of sweatpants and called my mom. Now that would be comforting. Instead I resorted to all kinds of things that were far from comforting and ended up being miserable because of it.
Here's yet another example I'm pretty sure you can relate to: Boredom eating. Ever done it? If the answer is no, I want to meet you because I'm impressed. We've all been there. That moment when you're bored at home and have nothing else to do so why not eat something? Well truth of the matter is boredom is a feeling. When we feel bored we need to do something. So next time instead of making that "something" eating, why not go do something you'll enjoy? When I'm bored, taking a walk or chewing some gum doesn't do it for me. I need to get out of my house, maybe go shopping, get a manicure, or do something else I know I will enjoy.
Bottom line: next time you get a craving for a feeling or are feeling a not-so-great emotion, don't mistake it for a food craving. Here's my foolproof list for what to do instead:
You tell me: What feelings cravings come up most often for you?? How do you cope with them?