Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Your life circumstances largely result from your unconscious thinking patterns and behaviors. If you want change, stop running the same old script and decide to write a new one. That’s what I did when I decided to do my first Whole30 and then adopt a Paleo lifestyle and the Paleo Diet.
In the past, I allowed my cravings and nutritional ignorance guide my life. I ate whatever I was hungry for with no regard to its nutritional value or any detrimental effects on my body. I was eating myself to death. After taking a long, hard look at the state of my health and contemplating my impending mortality, I decided to tackle my ignorance and take charge of my health. No longer was I reacting to cravings and calling them subconscious messages for what my body is hungry for. I no longer answered cravings blindly by stuffing my face. I began to think about where these cravings were coming from, what they were the result of, and what they could be telling me.
First, they were the result of a sugar addiction. The cravings came as a result of my body wanting me to put more sugar into it. And not just foods with carbs, but foods with easily soluble sugar: sodas, candies, and anything with refined sugar. The bad part is that this is the worst kind of sugar, and is very quickly turned into fat by the liver and pancreas.
Second, they only perpetuated the cycle of sugar addiction. Until I got free of it, it was going to continue to run my life through my stomach (and ultimately end it).
Third, they were sometimes the result of boredom. When I was bored, I often heard the “Call” of a craving and answered it by eating even if I wasn’t hungry. This was like stoking a fire that was already burning; it just made the cravings stronger next time.
Many people feel like cravings are natural. They are not. Hunger is natural, and should only happen when your body needs nutrients, not for specific foods. Ask yourself the next time you get a craving: When is the last time I ate? Is what I’m craving food, or something specific? Am I hungry, or just bored?
I do a few things if I feel hungry to make sure it’s a real signal and not my brain playing tricks on me. I drink some tea, water, or coffee. I find something to do, whether it’s a task at work or a project at home. If I’m still hungry afterward, chances are that I had a light meal previously, or it’s getting close to meal time.
Cravings are a lot like fate: not real. Consider why you make the decisions you do in your eating, and really think about where those decisions are coming from. You might be shocked to find that sugar is in the driver’s seat in many of the decisions you make.