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Cravings and Scavenging: Is This Physical or Emotional Hunger?

This post was written by Angela
on March 14, 2012 | Comments (3)

My genius moment of the day was loading my mini Kit Kat and Milky Way bars with some almond butter. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Why in the world didn’t I come up with that?” Consider yourself informed! Although, I’m betting I¬†am not the first to try to dress up my sneaky naughties. I say “sneaky naughties” because I don’t generally keep candy around. I simply can’t be trusted with it. If there is more than one of something, my mind won’t shut up about the fact that there’s still more I could be enjoying. It’s there, it’s right over there, you could have more, it would be sweet and satisfying, imagine the happiness of more, more, more, more! That crazy voice doesn’t stop until I’ve eaten every last bit of those cookies, candies, or ice cream bars. In fact, when I was a kid, my parents knew this well and had to hide whatever they intended to be a long-term and sporadic treat. When those cravings kicked in, though, I became a little lioness on the prowl, determined and most times, successful.

I know, it's mean of me to even post this pic, it looks so yummy. Race you to the chocolate stash!

Cupboards above the fridge, jacket closet tucked behind the winter hats and gloves, garage, underwear drawers, basement¬†…they got pretty creative. Still,¬†as my husband has also now discovered, I can always find a sugar stash when the craving call comes around.

So because of all this, I try to withhold from buying anything that exceeds the count of one. If I get a craving, I’ll bop out to the store for a single candy bar. I’ll head over to an ice-cream shop for a scoop. Or when I am absolutely desperate, I may go back to my¬†scavenging, but I never ever keep a full bag of mini bars for myself anywhere.

Pretty sure this is what you'd see if you came across me in an indulged craving moment.

Today my scavenging radar was on without me even knowing it. I happened to pass by someone‚Äôs office and noticed the delectable overflowing bowl of mini candy bars that sweetly called to me in soothing song and realized I was intensely craving the chocolate and sugar.¬†I looked left, I looked right, I swiped a couple, and I moved on like the guilty little pigtailed sugar-monger that still hides in me somewhere. Maybe to bring an adult respectability to my evil-doing, I grabbed my bottle of yummy almond butter and added it to my snack. I’ve got to say, the added flavor (not to mention fiber, protein, calcium, and iron) did make me feel better about it all. Well, at least a little.

Sometimes what we crave is a sign of what we need. Maybe my blood sugar was low. Maybe I needed the iron or some other nutrient that came along with the chocolate. Other times cravings are an expression of boredome, sadness, or other internal battles that are going on. I’m not normally an emotional eater, but I have caught myself at it once in a while; I notice it when the food is hitting my stomach fast and hard without me really tasting anything. It’s my motion of stuffing the emotions down, from my heart and into my stomach where it’s harder to feel. In those moments of realization I have always taken it as a warning bell and started dealing with whatever emotional upheaval that was triggering the reaction. In that way I’ve been able to cut things off before they spiraled into far worse physical and emotional consequences.

By paying attention to your scavenging and craving habits you may be able to uncover deeper issues that are hiding just under the surface. Or, you might just be hungry! Without paying attention, you’ll never really know.

How do you handle cravings or scanvening moments when they roll around? Have your habits revealed deeper emotional hungers? Or if it’s simply physical hunger, what are some tricks you’ve come up with that make your indulgent moments even more rewarding or healthful? Share your tips and tricks with the rest of us!

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