What a week of calm taught me about food cravings…

What a week of calm taught me about food cravings…

You may have heard me mention that I went away on holiday last week with my family.

Every year we have a family holiday renting a cottage for a week somewhere in the British countryside. This year we went to Devon which is a beautiful part of the UK with green rolling hills, farms, ancient woodland, quaint seaside towns, tiny local pubs and thatched cottages!

My family are pretty relaxed; we can get up reasonably late, there’s never a strict schedule for the day and some days we just stay in potter around the cottage all morning. So there’s no rush or drama to leave at a set time… This in itself is an amazing luxury for me when we live in a world of constant ‘doing’ and busy-ness!

It often takes me a day or two to wind down from the fast pace of my life in London. I don’t even realise I’m that way until I get out of London and visit family or friends who operate at a slower pace!

One of the things I noticed on this trip was how my food cravings changed.

Although I love creating these online interview series, they do require A LOT of hard work.

My vice or comfort when feeling overwhelmed and stressed is sugar, but as I’m in the health and fitness world no surprises I do try to make sure that I choose a good quality organic dark chocolate!

Whilst putting this last series together, I was aware it was actually getting a little out of hand when I was having at least half a large 100g bar in one go…occasionally even the whole bar over the course of the day! At the time, I thought to myself, if the chocolate helps you get through this, then so be it! Of course I know how bad sugar is for the body, yet I knew I would get a handle on it after the intense work period was over.

I was actually planning to take a bar of this chocolate to Devon with me but I forgot to pack it. On the first day there I really craved the chocolate. My Step Mum had packed some dark chocolate covered rice cakes (not my fav) I tried one, it was okay but it didn’t really satisfy the craving.

I was also having a desert most nights when we ate out for dinner but as the week went on my craving or taste for sugar reduced to the point where I stopped wanting anything sweet.

I realised that as my system calmed down and I came off this hyper ‘way of being’, so did my need for stimulants or an emotional sugar fix.

I was surprised to find that by the end of the trip I didn’t crave sugar at all! Even more surprising was that when I arrived home in London and ate some of the chocolate bar that I had forgotten to take – it actually tasted quite different and I didn’t even like it very much!

This experience got me thinking… I realised how living a busy fast-paced lifestyle is stressful to our bodies and nervous system even if you don’t feel particularly ‘stressed’, which can lead to cravings for stimulants such as chocolate, sugar, coffee.

So I decided to think about the ways I can reduce the sense of busy-ness in my life, to help keep my system and energy in a state of calm…

Here’s the list I’ve come up with, in no particular order:

1. Giving myself plenty of time to get everywhere, aiming to arrive at least 15mins early.
2. Packing my bag the night before.
3. Planning my outfit the night before.
4. Making decisions more quickly.
5. Scheduling my week more efficiently, not leaving things to chance.
6. Setting aside certain points during the day to check emails and texts.
7. Listening to calming music (I’m trying some classical at the moment!).
8. Making time to exercise on regular basis – cardio and mind-body.
9. Not rushing my food.
10. Not eating too late.
11. Eating a decent filling breakfast.
12. Start getting ready for bed 15mins earlier.
13. Meditating for 5mins first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
14. Doing the most important thing on my list first – I love the phrase ‘Eat the frog first’!
15. Blocking out time in my schedule for lunch and treating it as I would a meeting or appointment.
16. Leaving time in my schedule for relaxation time – doing nothing!
17. Going for a walk in nature when I can, even if it’s a 5min lap around the park at lunchtime.
18. Checking in with my body and making sure I’m breathing deeply enough (- we often take short, shallow breaths when tense!)
19. Taking an afternoon nap when I can.

If you resonate with my experience, struggle with cravings, needs stimulants on a daily basis or simply just want to make your life less hectic and more calm, have a think about whether you could try any of the suggestions above.

As always, I love hearing from you so if you want to share what works for you or have questions please hop over to our facebook group – as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved!

Or if you’re concerned about how the pace of your life is affecting your health you can also email me if you’d prefer to share privately – I’m happy to help!

Let me know how you get on with the suggestions above!

Kate x

Kate Horwood
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