A food addiction is the most basic kind of addiction. It seems that even Adam and Eve had problems with food since right off the bat, they got disastrously caught up in eating inappropriately.

Some food addictions can require serious intervention and expert help when they have reached a certainIf I am trying to feed my hungry soul, no amount of food will help level of severity. But when it comes to less severe addictions or plain old unhealthy cravings, I’d like to suggest that there is actually a way to overcome them—and have an awesome time doing it, too.

Let’s say I was at a party (or just home alone) and feel like eating endlessly. But then, I ask myself this liberating question: Is it my body that’s hungry or my soul?

And here’s the way I know the answer: If my body was hungry, I’d be thrilled to eat a simple apple at that point. But if I am trying to feed my hungry soul, no amount of food will help.

With this awareness, I can experience eating something pleasurable, and then instead of trying to get that pleasure to never end, I can choose from an infinite number of other pleasures that will last a lot longer than an entire bag of potato chips. In other words, I can choose to fill what is truly hungry at that time: my soul.

How do I do this? I can be kind to someone who is lonely, compliment someone who needs a boost, go outside to enjoy nature, absorb some ancient wisdom, slowly count my blessings one by one, dance to music I love . . . whatever works. When I concentrate on filling my soul, then I’m filling the part of me that is genuinely hungry.

All I need to do is pause for one singular moment to ask myself if I am eating because my body is truly hungry or if I am eating to try and fill the deep hole in my soul. Then, with that awareness in my consciousness, I can think of something to do that would actually fill my soul wondrously.

Here’s another interesting thing. I don’t even have to engage in that soul-nourishing activity, although it’s delightful if I do. Just the awareness that there is something that fills the infinite hole is uplifting enough to raise my state of being so that I don’t need to keep trying to stuff it with food instead. There’s a feeling of fear of scarcity that results in bingeing. The possibility alone, front and center, of an abundance of ways to fill one’s soul has a calming, inspiring and energizing effect.

What I discovered is that the body’s cravings get larger and larger when we let them. But what they are trying to tell us is that the soul’s cravings are getting larger—and more and more desperate.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov taught: “The negative impulse is like someone who runs among people with his hand closed, and nobody knows what is in it. He tricks people and asks each one: ‘What am I holding?’ Each person assumes that the closed hand holds something he desires very much. So everyone runs after him. Eventually, he opens his hand and there is nothing there at all.”

That’s how the bag of potato chips can appear, like it holds something the person is desperately craving, but the true emptiness within the person only becomes starkly clear once that bag has been emptied. The recognition of the intrinsic need to feed our souls is vital Then more and more immediate pleasures are craved to cover up that unbearable pain of emptiness. Clarity about where the emptiness truly lies—and what is needed to fill it—puts a stop to this confusing and never-ending cycle of temporary distractions.

Current popular advice is to learn to listen to our bodies. That’s an important skill to develop. But an even more vital skill is to learn to listen to our souls, since we are, in fact, souls merely clothed in our bodies.

The recognition of the intrinsic need to feed our souls is vital. If we work on it, this acknowledgement can turn into a habit, and eating healthfully can become natural. It’s similar to what I imagine it may have been like to live in the Garden of Eden, when body and soul were aligned.

And here is the key takeaway: When we overeat, it’s our souls that are hungry. We need to feed that void. Is it possible to recover from food addictions joyfully and savor life’s greatest pleasures? Yes, that's what happens each time we fill our souls!