Not all cravings are for food. Sure, chocolate chip cookies are important, but there are other things in life. And in learning to listen to what my body wants to eat, I am learning to broaden the question and listen to the other things my body wants.
At some point every day, my body craves rest. Especially since I am such an early riser, there comes a point where my body wants to just curl up somewhere under a nice blankie and get some sleep. And it feels so good! I love, love, love my jammies. In fact when my friend and super talented photographer Kelly Varner came over to take some pictures, we went through the closet to look for some clothes. When she saw my collection of PJs she laughed and said, “you have a lot of pajamas!” To which I replied, “of course! Jammies are awesome!” At some point in the evening, I’ve been known to shout out, “What time is it?” To which my husband has learned the Pavlovian retort, “It’s jammie time!” At which point I’ve been known to burst into my own version of “Jammie Time” which is based on “Suppertime” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. I’ve even got a special little song I sing when I slip into a bed made with clean sheets fresh out of the dryer.
Sometimes, I really just crave some time alone. I want to shut the door and shut out the world. I want to read or surf the net or display my wrath via computer games and I don’t want to talk to anybody or be with anybody. Sometimes I crave company. Sometimes I want to talk to somebody and sometimes, I just want to go to the coffee shop and sit in a room with a bunch of strangers–just to be somewhere other than my room all by myself.
Sometimes I feel the need to go out into the world and sing and dance and play with others. Sometimes I want to walk or bike or stretch or shake my groove thing. And sometimes I need to withdraw from the world and be outside and be with nature. Sometimes I want to shut off my phone and simply look at some clouds or some trees or the ocean.
My point is that there are many, many kinds of cravings in my life. Some of these cravings involve food. Many do not. But I find that when I am ignoring cravings in one area of my life, other cravings tend to intensify. If I’m craving alone time but find I can’t get it, I find myself craving more sleep. If I’m craving sleep, but can’t get it, I find myself craving sweet or starchy foods. When I’m feeling the need to go out and dance and shout and shake my groove thing and can’t do it, I crave shopping for new things. I have learned that there are many “displacements” for when I ignore the underlying cravings in my life. And I have learned that my life works better when I can find a way to satisfy the underlying cravings rather than the displacement cravings. Now life being what it is, I can’t always get whatever I want whenever I want it. And I’m a little old to flop down on the floor of the local grocery store to have a kicking and screaming tantrum. But even when I can’t have what I want, I find it helpful to know what it is. And I’ve found it helpful to make peace with the replacement cravings too. They are all part of me and it’s all good. It’s all good.
The Fat Chick