If you've ever struggled with your eating - whether it be your choices, your frequency, your portions, or a combination of all of them, then I have something that could help you. It's an online course called Craving Change. It changed my life so I felt I had to share it with you.
If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, it might surprise you to see a post about this craving change online course. It's about craving change in life and changing your relationship with food on a website full of casseroles, pasta dishes, and all manner of desserts, but here's the deal. The old saying "all things in moderation" is an old saying for a reason - it's true!
Why I Read Craving Change
I love to cook and I always have. From a young age, I remember wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen, and later, delicious flavors on the table. I always loved helping both my grandmothers and mother cook, and when I got older, I began doing a lot of cooking myself.
Never thinking how healthy something was when I was making it and I never thought about whether or not I was hungry when I was eating it. I just cooked delicious food and enjoyed it.
When I was young, that was no problem, but over the years, it caught up with me. As we age, everything slows down, and in my case, that slowing down is also coupled with MS. That means that I have to be more cognizant of what I'm eating and why. Don't worry, I'll still be sharing all my signature delicious recipes!
I was craving something life changing. I knew I needed help examining my relationship with food and looked to the Emotional Eating program at NutriproCan for help. They have Craving Change certified dietitians, and the program seemed to be just what I was in need of. Pairing the Craving Change workbook with a structured, weekly coaching session, allows for the program to be tailored to my eating influences.
Craving Change Shines a Light on Your Motivations
There's a lot to be learned from this program and workbook, and I've been giving it a lot of attention since I started. From the very beginning, Craving Change begins to unravel the thoughts, emotions, and motivations that lead us to make all of our food choices - ‘ good’ or ‘ bad’ (more on that later!).
How Eating is Influenced
The very first chapter of the workbook discusses the factors that influence our eating choices. It takes a look at our environment, our body, and our learned behaviors, diving into how each of these factors affects the choices we make every time we eat.
In the first few sessions, we learn about how the external influences around us cause us to make decisions, from the number of food-related commercials on television to the number of places to get food on the way to our destination, and even how the smells around us trigger eating. I have always thought of certain foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based on how these foods are portrayed in the media. This part of the program questions that mindset, as well as the choices we make based on how we think about certain foods.
We also addressed how we can have internal triggers to eat certain foods and the amount of food we eat, including internal triggers that are both physical and mental, or learned behaviors.
Building on the previous section, Craving Change goes further, discussing how the influences that cause us to make our food choices trigger us. For example, when addressing emotional triggers I learned about HALT, which stands for Hungry Angry Lonely Tired. These emotions are powerful driving forces for emotional eating, and when I'm reaching for food, I can stop and think about whether I'm hungry or simply feeling one of these emotions.
In this section, we also addressed types of hunger - stomach, mouth, or heart - and how these internal triggers influence my food choices. Stomach hunger is real hunger. Mouth hunger is simply wanting to eat something delicious. Heart hunger is emotional eating. My coach helped me to identify when I was eating according to these types of hunger. Makes sense, right?
Helping Make the Change
Finally, the rest of the program and last two sections of the workbook are devoted to helping us make the change. The workbook offers tools to help us identify our triggers, if they're external or internal, how they affect us, and how we can go about changing them. My coach helped me identify the tools that are most applicable to me and my circumstances.
Coupled with this section are handy prompts and workbook pages to help guide us toward understanding our individual eating habits, how they developed, if they're healthy or unhealthy, and how we can change them.
We covered topics such as managing stress, journaling, self-sabotage, changing our environment, and even recognizing thirst vs hunger and how to properly hydrate. It's - and pardon the pun - a real recipe for success as far as I'm concerned.
One of the most helpful parts of this program is the collection of exercises that help you hone in on why you make the decisions that you do when it comes to eating.
The emotions inventory helps you identify your heart hunger triggers - your emotional eating. By using the form all week, I was able to identify which emotions I was experiencing when I reached for food even though I wasn't hungry.
The inventory has a list of 100 emotions that I referred to all week. Then, at the end of the week, I took an inventory of what I'd selected on the checklist. It turns out I eat mostly when I'm emotionally drained or stressed.
The accompanying eating log has the time of day, the situations I found myself in, the emotions I was experiencing, what I ate, and even how I felt after eating. It's a huge help.
Many of us, myself included, eat to either avoid or put a bandaid on problems. In addition to touching on the emotional aspect of eating, the problem solving activity I was able to use helped me find different ways to solve problems.
The activity breaks down problem solving into 7 sections:
- The problem
- Possible solutions
- The one solution I'll try
- What I did
- What happened
- What's next? Continue with the same solution or try another approach if it didn't work.
- Repeat the process if I need to re-determine the real issue.
I found this section of Craving Change to be very helpful because it dials in on how we all sabotage ourselves with our thoughts and beliefs.
In this section, I learned to consider if my self-imposed ‘eating rules’ were true beliefs or if I was using them as an excuse. Were those ‘eating rules’ moving me in a healthy direction? Would others consider these rules to be helpful or hurtful if they were using them?
By asking these questions, I was able to identify excuses that I disguised as rules to allow myself to avoid making a change.
One of the last exercise sections that I want to highlight is the self-talk portion of the program. Like many people, I can be very hard on myself, and that self-criticism has often led me to make unhealthy choices.
It may seem like something so simple, but positive self-talk can drastically change the way you approach life and eating. Since working on this section I've learned that in order to be my best self, I have to change the way I interact with myself.
By following the tips in this section, I've become my own cheerleader rather than my own critic, and that has made me feel so much lighter.
What I've Learned From Craving Change
I could tell you all about how great Craving Change is and how you should complete the program for yourself - and both of those are very true. However, I feel the best way to illustrate what Craving Change can do for you is to tell you what it's done for me.
I'm still in the process of going through this program and its worksheets, but it's already shone a very bright light on some areas of my life that have vastly affected my eating choices.
For example, I am very motivated by nostalgia and flavor. Some of my favorite recipes are either directly from my grandmothers and mother or variations of their recipes. When I make them, I can almost feel my grandmother in the room with me, and the aromas from these flavors and recipes always make me feel so warm and cozy inside.
Stress and Boredom
I'm also motivated by stress and boredom. Living with MS keeps me in my motorized chair most of the time. While I've come to accept my diagnosis and make the most of my life, there are times when I just wish I could get up and reach something more easily or simply go outside and walk around.
That frustration also comes with boredom. Being tied to a chair and having to be careful about my physical activity can leave me having days that are so mundane. Even though I'm busy with my blog and my family, boredom can set in.
In both of those cases, I've found that the nostalgia of eating helps offset the boredom and frustration that I'm feeling. However, that eating is NOT doing my physical or mental health any favors.
The more I dig into my motivations, the more I see how I can change them and make healthier choices, and that mainly revolves around moderation, such as having some of my favorite nostalgia foods, and balancing these with foods that help to nourish my body.
Craving Change Can Be Your Change
Whether you're an emotional eater, an externally triggered eater, or you make food choices based on a combination of factors, Craving Change gives you the tools to actually make the change.
Thus far, this program has been an incredible help to me, allowing me to make greater strides in understanding my eating habits than I ever have before, and I think it can help anyone out there who's reading this and wanting to change.
If that's you, do Craving Change.
Meet Lisa. She is a Registered Dietitian and Co-Owner of NutriProCan, a company of registered dietitians. Throughout her undergraduate and postgraduate studies, Lisa studied biochemistry and genetics, nutraceutical sciences, and nutrition and dietetics. She works in clinics and teaches nutrition sciences at College.
She is smart and knows everything about the science behind getting healthy. Her advice has been so valuable. She helped me change my life and I just had to share her and this program with you just in case you're interested. I do not make a penny from sharing this information with you. That's how much this program means to me.
I also urge you to check out my green smoothie for weight loss recipe. I have a smoothie every morning and feel great. Lisa has included so many options that I refer to it regularly when I want to change it up. Also, my slow cooker vegetarian chili or weight loss chili recipe is worth having a look at. I always have some in my freezer, eat it regularly and love how it makes me feel.
Take a moment and meet Lisa. I hope you enjoy her as much as I still do. ❤️ If you're interested in working with her check out her Craving Change page. If you decide to work with her on nutrition courses you can save $10 by using referral code KARIN or save 10% on the Craving Change program by using the referral code KITCHENDIVAS. I hope she helps you as much as she has helped me, if you decide to give the program a try. Regardless, all the best.