Traditionally we look at food cravings and the drive to overeat as a problem, something to be fixed and overcome. What if we’ve misunderstood the message cravings are trying to send us? And what if they’re actually trying to help us?
- What our cravings are really pointing toward
- How we can begin to recognize the wisdom in cravings
- What happens as we see what food cravings have on offer for us
Transcript of this episode
Hello explorers and welcome to Q&A episode 32 of Unbroken. I’m Alexandra Amor.
Today our question has to do with the nature of symptoms and what they mean for us.
By symptoms, in this case, specifically, I want to talk about the drive to overeat or cravings for food. I just finished a recording a podcast with Rachel Singleton, which will be available on October 19, 2023. And as so often happens, when I have a guest that I’m talking to, I have insights throughout while I’m speaking to that person and see things slightly differently, from a slightly different angle. Or perhaps we could say a little deeper than I had seen them before.
Rachel is someone who struggled with physical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome for years, and did a lot to try to resolve that and fix what she felt was wrong with her body. And in that interview, she talks about how she began to see things in a completely different way and that was ended up that ended up being what resolved her health issues.
As we were speaking, and we were talking about the loving nature of symptoms, and in this specific example, I’m going to talk about the loving nature of cravings.
This metaphor occurred to me, so I want to highlight it, and then talk about what it’s pointing toward.
If you were cooking in your kitchen, and things started to go a little awry, you might notice a bit of a smell coming. Let’s say you spilled something onto the burner that you were using in the kitchen. And that would be the first, very minor signal that something was going awry with your cooking. And then if you didn’t take care of that whatever was happening, if you didn’t notice it, innocently, the burner might start to smoke. And then after a while that smoke might cause you to cough. But you still might be, let’s say distracted or just not paying attention.
Then what might happen, if there’s enough smoke created, the smoke alarm in your home or your apartment would start to go off. In my apartment, it’s kind of a beeping noise. That just alerts me that there’s smoke in the house. And then, metaphorically speaking, if we didn’t pay attention to that, flames might start to erupt, based on whatever’s going on on the stove and with your cooking.
As that situation grows worse than maybe the larger alarm in your, I live in a condo building, so there, there are those little red boxes that you can pull, or like a little red handle. And so someone might pull one of those. And then it’s a much more alarming sound. Pun intended. And we’ve all heard that when we’ve been in… I’m hearkening back to a school, or an office building; it’s really loud, really loud bell kind of sounds. Then the fire department shows up, and they might start spraying water around your kitchen, to try to fix the situation that’s going on in there.
So that’s the metaphor that came to me. And it points to a couple of different things when it comes to an unwanted overeating habit. And here’s what occurred to me.
The first is that when we come into this conversation with the three principles and the also known as the Inside Out understanding, and we’re exploring this paradigm of health, rather than the old paradigm that we’re used to, which was one of ill health, it can be a bit confusing. I think very often, at least looking back for me what I see is that it can be that when we’re exploring this understanding, we’re in that place where the people from the fire department are rushing around, there’s lots of noise, there’s lots of chaos, there’s water going everywhere, there’s flames that are trying to be extinguished in your kitchen.
What I mean by that is that you may have been struggling with your overeating habit for so long, and tried so many things as I did, that we’re kind of in crisis mode, essentially. It feels like a five alarm fire our overeating habit, and not least because perhaps we’ve gained a whole bunch of weight. And our physical health might be suffering, because of that, at that time. And our self-esteem has been perhaps, as mine was in the toilet for decades, and we’re feeling a lot of shame, and we’re feeling like we are broken, which of course we aren’t.
There’s a lot going on in that moment, or at that time, that we discover this understanding. What gradually begins to happen, as we turn our selves toward understanding of our innate well being, and our innate health, and that that can never be damaged. And that there, there is actually not a problem with us that this problem that we’ve been trying to fix has been simply a misunderstanding about where the signals from our bodies or cravings are pointing.
As we begin to explore that, and learn and understand, and really importantly, have our own insights about that, what begins to happen is that those signals from our body, so going back to the cooking metaphor, those signals from the stove, and from the kitchen, and from the alarms that are going off, don’t need to be as loud and as noisy, and as attention getting, as they have been in the past. Because what they’ve been trying to do, just as that smoke alarm in our home is trying to protect us, and help us and serve us. That’s exactly what our cravings and our drive to overeat are doing.
Cravings are not a problem. They are a signal.
When we begin to see that when we’re exploring this understanding, and we’re having our own insights, and we gradually, it starts to occur to us, we start to have those light bulb moments of oh, it’s not that. It’s not a problem. It’s this thing over here, it’s a solution. It’s a part of our innate, brilliant, divine design that is trying to signal to us that there’s something going on. And we’ve simply misunderstood that message.
That message, of course, is that we are always well, we are always whole. And when we feel an alarm going off, when we have a really deep craving or chronic cravings what that’s trying to alert us to and remind us of is our well-being. The smoke alarm is trying to let us know about the smoke that’s dangerous that’s in our homes. The craving is trying to remind us that we’ve forgotten who we are, or that we’ve never been aware of it that we’ve.
This is temporary and it’s always rectifiable But that we are unaware of our internal innate brilliance and well being.So then when we begin to grasp that, what can start to happen is that our cravings, the alarms going off within us, don’t need to be as loud or as attention getting as they have been in the past. We don’t need the fire brigade to show up and start spraying water around for us to recognize that we’re caught up in our thinking, in our busy, insecure, fearful thinking.
The signals that we get – those alarms – can start to back off.
Gradually, we’ll start to notice before the smoke alarm goes off, and then we’ll start to notice before the smoke starts to billow out from the burner on the stove. And eventually, we begin to notice when we’ve stepped, Rachel said it so beautifully today, when we were recording our interview, when we’ve stepped away from love, is essentially what it is. We noticed that more quickly, we feel ourselves that we’ve gone out of alignment much more quickly than we did in the past. So the need for those alarm signals those cravings, that drive to overeat on its own, it just drops away.
This, I think, is a really important distinction to make. I loved it when this metaphor came to me. Because so often in the old paradigm of ill health, the paradigm of pathology, as we say, what we’re trying to do is, is deal with those alarms. It’s like trying to smother the smoke alarm that’s in your house that’s going off, trying to cover it with a tea towel, or bash it with a hammer so that it stops squeaking and beeping. As though the smoke alarm itself is a problem, when really what it’s trying to do is convey a message to us.
I thought I’d share that metaphor with you here today, as always, in the hope that it would be a little bit helpful for you on your journey with the drive to overeat. And it felt like another way for me to point to the wisdom and the intelligence in our cravings and in our feelings about food, and also how natural and normal it is that they begin to fall away when we see what they are made of.
We don’t need to manage them, or control them, or try to get rid of them in any way, eradicate them from our being.
Cravings stop being necessary the more we see about their true nature.
I hope that’s been helpful. And if you remember that if you have any questions for me about the exploration of this understanding, please let me know you can go to Alexandra more.com forward slash question and submit the form there and I’ll be happy to answer. So take care and I will see you again next time. Bye.