Fall is in full effect here on the West Coast which means crisp days and cool nights. I don’t know about you but I find that as the leaves start to change so do my cravings. Gone are the evenings when what I craved was a nice big crisp salad. Instead my body seems to be asking for warm comfort foods: stews, chili, curries, soups – really anything that is warm and makes my body feel cozy and full. There are lots of reasons for this, one being that if we listen our body will naturally crave what is in season. It is also because with the cool weather approaching our bodies historically want to protect itself by increasing insulation. Then of course there are the emotional reasons: comfort food can make us feel cozy and safe, we can crave quieter, calmer nights and nothing says that mroe than a pot full of simmering stew. Unfortunately however for a lot of people this can cause anxiety. For some it is the fear of gaining weight, and for others it is the fear of overeating on foods that tend to cause them to gain weight.
Here is where I want everyone to take a minute to stop and really listen to their bodies. What is it asking for? Don’t listen to your mind and what you think you are craving. Listen to your body. How is it feeling?
Ok now come back. Autumn is a time when we do crave heavier foods, whether that be pasta, stew, bread or chili. This isn’t a bad thing. There is a reason your body is asking for that and it will provide you not only with much greater pleasure but also better health if you take a moment to really listen. I am not suggesting that eating fettuccine alfredo every night is a healthy choice. Instead listen to what your body is craving and find healthy options without letting your head determine first if you like it or not. If it is pasta you are craving then maybe make a whole wheat pasta with a bunch of vegetables in it. Or, try using spaghetti squash as the noodles and see how you like it (personally I made this last night and it was delicious – way better than I expected). If you want stew, try making your own instead of buying it at the store. The internet is filled with hundreds of ideas for making healthy versions of your favorite foods.
I know it can be anxiety provoking but if you don’t make room to listen to your body it will be hard to overcome whatever struggle you have with food. Start somewhere. If you don’t trust yourself with bread for example than maybe find a way to start. Purchase a bun for each person instead of loaf. That way you are challenging yourself to eat it (if you restrict) but don’t put yourself in a position where you will eat the whole loaf (if you emotionally eat). Doing this will allow you to have your cake and eat it too.
There are many tricks of the trade with finding a healthy relationship to food. Let me know below in the comment section the areas you find most tricky and I will do my best to come up with some suggestions that might make it easier.