How to Beat Food Cravings
Do you ever have a sudden need for ice cream, french fries, or some other decadent food that you feel you must satisfy or you’ll go crazy? We’ve all been there. Food cravings happen for many different reasons. Next time you feel like you just have to have that piece of chocolate cake, ask yourself these questions:
Am I stressed out, angry, upset, or worried?
Negative emotions take such a toll on our bodies. Stress leads to the production of cortisol, which is put back into its place by eating fatty and comforting foods. Your brain is telling you to reach for whatever is going to reset your body into the rest and repair phase, contributing to your increased cravings for junk food.
Better Response: Figure out the source of your stress and do something that will help you in that area. For example, if you are struggling with stress, take a 10 minute walk while listening to music that you love. If you are struggling with loneliness or boredom, a solo walk might not do... so instead, call a friend up or write a sweet letter to someone you miss. Figure out what you are really craving, instead of how your body might be interpreting it. **Phoning your favorite Nutritionist is always a good option :)
Am I craving this because I told myself I couldn’t have it?
Restriction is the death of dieting. When we create restrictions for anything in life, (think about in the dating world how well “playing hard to get” works) we always want what we can’t have. This leads to both negative feelings about the food you are restricting, and then feelings of guilt or shame when we give into that craving.
Better Response: Instead of telling yourself you can’t have something, tell yourself how you are choosing to nourish and support your body in becoming the best it can be. When you do eat something more on the unhealthy side, never punish yourself or speak negatively to yourself. This creates more restriction and failure. Simply say to yourself that your next decision will be one step in the right direction, and applaud yourself when you do take that next step. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. Tell yourself that every meal is an opportunity to provide your body with the fuel it needs to support you in everything you want to do. When you do have a craving for a certain food, allow yourself to have a few bites of the food and tell yourself you are satisfied. Try to fill up on healthy things, such as whole fruits, vegetables, and good proteins alongside your decadent food so that it becomes just a tasting, or side item.
Am I Tired or Thirsty?
When you are lacking sleep, the body naturally reaches for energy. This comes often in the form of carbohydrates, our quickest source of energy. Thirst works similarly. When you are craving sweet things, chances are that you are actually craving water (water is found in naturally sweet things like fruit, so our bodies are programmed this way).
Better Response: When cravings hit, drink a full glass of water. This will eliminate the dehydration factor behind your cravings. If tiredness is your issue, eat something that has good energy paired with protein and fiber so that your blood sugar doesn’t rise and then fall. This would look like pairing an apple with peanut butter or beef jerky and a handful of nuts or seeds.
There are many underlying factors to why you might be craving the things you’re craving. If you would like more individualized help with figuring out what your body might be telling you, schedule an appointment with me or email me at any time!