Indulging Your Cravings: Good or Bad? 6 Tips to Deconstruct Your Cravings and Celebrate Your Indulgences


What do you think of when I say “indulge your cravings”?

Is indulging your cravings a good thing?

Or is it a bad thing?

Not long ago, I heard someone talking about how to recover after indulging your cravings.

How to recover.

If you need to recover from indulging your cravings, that, to me, would indicate that indulging your cravings is a bad thing.

But why?

To indulge is defined in a few ways:

  1. Allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of
  2. Satisfy or yield freely to (a desire or interest).
  3. Allow (someone) to enjoy a desired pleasure.

If indulging is allowing yourself to enjoy the pleasure of something that you desire, wouldn’t indulging a craving be considered a good thing?

Isn’t giving yourself something that you want usually a good thing?

It depends.

It depends on how you think about your cravings.

If you think of cravings as bad things– as signs of weakness or a lack of willpower, then indulging a craving would mean failing.

Failing to stick with your plan. Your cravings drew you away from your diet plan, and you indulged (satisfied) those cravings, thus you failed your plan.

BUT cravings aren’t a sign of weakness.

They’re also not a lack of willpower.

Cravings are your body’s way of asking you for something. 

If you think of cravings as your body’s way of communicating with you, then indulging your cravings would mean giving your body what it’s asking for…which is basically intuitive eating.

In this case, indulging your cravings is something to be celebrated: it indicates that you’re in tune with your inner body cues, and that you’re able to deconstruct your cravings and decipher what you really want.

Here are 5 tips to deconstruct your cravings and celebrate your indulgences:

  1. Stop and tune in. Take a moment to breathe: acknowledge that you’re craving something.
  2. What sensation are you craving? Listen to your inner body cues. Are you physically hungry or emotionally hungry? Are you craving crunchy, sweet, chewy or salty? Think about what sensation you’re craving.
  3. Consider a nutrient dense option. Is there a nutrient dense food that will satisfy your craving? Some dark chocolate or crunchy roasted nuts? Once you have an idea of what you’re craving try to find a nutrient dense food that might satisfy it.
  4. Consider the non-food options. If it feels like there’s no nutrient dense food that will satisfy your craving, ask yourself if you’re getting all of the nourishment from your life that you need? Or are you craving something non-food? Like a hug or some mental stimulation?
  5. Consciously indulge. If you can’t find a nutrient dense option or a non-food option to satisfy your craving, make the conscious choice to indulge your craving. The important thing here is that you’re making a conscious choice: you’re not mindlessly eating M&Ms, you’re consciously choosing to treat give your body that it needs and wants.
  6. Celebrate. Enjoy your indulgence! At this point you’ve been mindful of your cravings– you’ve listened to your body and considered your options– you know that you’re giving your body something that it really wants. Savor and enjoy it.

Deconstructing your cravings can take time.

There are still times when I know I want something, but I have NO idea what I want.

Just like with intuitive eating, deconstructing your cravings takes time, patience and forgiveness.

If you feel like you need support deconstructing your cravings and consciously indulging, that’s what I’m here for. As a health counselor I support people just like you to work through cravings and to start listening to their inner body cues.

Sound interesting?

Let’s talk about it.

Sign up for a Nutrition Discovery Session and we’ll start creating your new food routine.

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5 Responses to Indulging Your Cravings: Good or Bad? 6 Tips to Deconstruct Your Cravings and Celebrate Your Indulgences

  1. Abbey January 16, 2014 at 10:28 AM #

    Being pregnant I find that I crave anything sweet upon waking. Typically a sweet carb-baked good. 80% of the time I don’t indulge the craving and instead I’ll have a breakfast of eggs, meat and sometimes a carb like toast with cream cheese. Usually shortly after eating the craving subsides which tells me my body is just seeking to get my blood sugar up. Sometimes I’ll indulge with a small piece of a sweet treat while I cook my breakfast, but I always make sure to eat a good meal so as to keep my blood sugar from plunging shortly after indulging.

    • Allison January 20, 2014 at 9:31 AM #

      Thanks for sharing, Abbey! I recently heard (at a Chris Kresser talk) that one of the reasons pregnant women crave sugar more than anything else is because the baby uses a lot of the glucose that mom would usually have all for herself– so you crave more sugar to get the same amount of glucose. I think that being pregnant is a great time to really tune in to your body and listen to your cravings– the signals seem to be much louder when you’re nourishing two humans instead of one 😉

  2. Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica October 27, 2018 at 2:55 PM #

    What a super post! We are on the same wavelength here. I teach my clients, whenever possible, that conscious choices are key and to be celebrated for sure! I also use some herbs to help curb specific cravings..but cultivating ‘awareness’ is definitely the beginning of it all! Thanks for sharing!


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