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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’s 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!

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By Sarasuperid
on March 14th, 2012 @ 11:37 am

I think our bodies are designed to like things that were scarce so that we would choose the most needed morsels among the choices. Now that we have an over abundance of salt, fat and sweets that our body is designed to crave. We get overweight. People who for some reason don’t have as powerful of an instinctual drive towards those things seem so cool and awesome.

Think about it, animals crave salt so much they will lick it off the ground. It is instinctual to them. I believe the same is instinctual to us.

I think the best thing we can do is satisfy the instinct in the most efficient way possible. When our bodies scream for chocolate, have a dark chocolate square full of anti-oxidents, rather than a huge candy bar with a bit of chocolate mixed with tons of milk, sugar and is processed the anti oxidents right out of it.

I really don’t believe that wanting these things is emotional, I think its instinctual and when we are emotional perhaps our body needs more of certain chemicals to help it recover from the stress and hormone rushes. Be kind to yourself :)

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#2 
Written By A.J. Morrigan
on March 16th, 2012 @ 9:02 am

Over the years I have come to realize that I am an emotional eater; when I am excited or depressed, food has become my cure all. I am on the road to a better understanding of how I can deal with it. But it is not easy.
I have a friend that will have a piece of dark chocolate after every meal, which I tried, didn’t work for me. I still wanted something salty and sweet. I try and stay away from chocolate as much as possible because it is a trigger for me. Once I start I go crazy to find more. I find for those moments when the desire is overwhelming and walking or meditation does not work, a small bowl of organic sweet cereal helps. I get the crunch and the mouth feel I need to satisfy the craving.

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#3 
Written By Kat
on April 1st, 2012 @ 8:49 am

Folks, it has come to my attention that because we have to discuss emotional eating AT ALL–SOMETHING is horribly wrong with the cultural movie we’re living in!

Something’s got to give. In this society we are taught to be driven, powerful, organized, etc. These are not necessarily bad qualities, really. But when they are taken to the extreme and forever laced with the old Puritanical maxim of “idle hands are the devil’s playground”, and other punctiliously high-horse bullcrap, we are tired, we are overworked with compensation that does not match what we truly are worth–thus creating financial anxiety, and other negative-thinking cycles.

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are the worst offenders concerning our food supply and the increased weight gain across the U.S. and U.K.: studies have shown that while it has no “calories” (thus supposedly people don’t gain weight), aspartame is still a neurotoxin that tricks the brain into thinking the body is hungry–and can even cause cravings for sweets beyond what is normal in humans.

On top of all this, we humans have a longstanding issue concerning negative feelings of self-worth. We’re not worthy of love because of this, this or that reason. Or, on the opposite extreme, in many families, food = love. Go home for holiday break and what is the first thing out of a family elder’s mouth (usually female, but I’m including the men here because I refuse to play the gender-role game) upon your entrance into the house, suitcase in hand (and have barely begun to wind down)? “Are ya hungry, dear?” It’s a nice setup for epic healthy weight-reduction failure because we’re drawn into those old childhood patterns of being comforted with food when coming in from the cold, or whatever.

Now, I’m no goody-goody-two-shoes concerning food. I have a weakness for sweet stuff–especially chocolate and Coca-cola. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be sweet. It can be savory or spicy and I will have a craving for it (it’s been jalapeno poppers lately! I must be desiring some spice in my life or something!).

But like many of you I have begun to seriously revisit my eating habits–why I eat what I eat, and when. And frankly, my rough analysis is what’s brought me to the conclusion about the way we’ve manipulated–and been the victims of emotional, financial and temporal (time-oriented) manipulation concerning our consumption of food. In other words–we’ve played each other, and we’ve been played! And frankly, my dears, it’s having been played that concerns me the most right now.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Blessings,
Kat ^.^

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