Cravings & You

This should be short and sweet (OK, maybe I do pun sometimes. What’s the pun? I craved picked beets, and not all sugar is made from cane. Some of it comes from beets).

Every once in a while, I’ll get a craving. Sometimes it’s real, and sometimes it isn’t.

So why are there real and unreal cravings?

Well, the answer to that involves a story from my life (really? Like I NEVER tell stories about me here – for those humor-challenged, yes, that was sarcasm).

During much of my childhood, adolescence, and young adult years my parents often blamed my weight on “sneaking food” or when I hit teen years, that I must have an eating disorder. (Yes, fat people can have eating disorders. And yes, even anorexia and bulimia).

At one point my father insisted I join an eating disorder support group. Well, less of a support group and more like group therapy.

While I didn’t get much out of it (when speaking up in group meant not only the therapist but also the other attendees could see by my answers that I did not have an eating disorder), I DID learn one VERY IMPORTANT fact.

There are two kinds of cravings, and only one is physical.

If you are craving something in specific, then it is your body telling you something. For example, if I’m iron deficient, I often crave rare beef or spinach or something else high in iron. And, in fact, if I’m craving those things AND fatigued, I’m likely anemic. Why do I know that? Because while I was still menstruating, the excessive amount I expelled every month severely depleted my iron. Now that I’m no longer doing so, my iron levels are fine.

On the other hand, if you are craving something amorphous or non-specific, it is very likely a psychological craving.

Often these cravings are particularly strong if there is an emotion attached to the type of thing craved. Because, yes, it is like an addiction (and yes, there are poor souls who are addicted to food) the body response to what is craved is often a cessation of whatever difficult emotion you don’t want to face.

If I’m craving generic chocolate — no specific kind, just in general — it is a fairly clear sign I’m in deep, deep depression. Luckily, when the depression becomes more manageable, my need — and yes, interest in general chocolate — disappears. I may occasional crave a KitKat or Twix, but it is specific and far more rare (in fact, no matter the “fat stereotype” if I’m not at that rock bottom, I tend to crave fruit, raw preferred).

Pickled beets are a particular craving in late winter/early spring for me. I know much about the vitamin content (available ad nauseum around the internet), but nothing gives me that &ldqou;ah ha” moment. And it was rare as a child, so it doesn’t have “comfort food” connotations. So, I’m going to simply chock it up to “I don’t know” and sit here enjoying my picked beets.

Categories: Body Health | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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