Remember that day you were eating just right, feeling so good about yourself? And then, boom! Before you can say cheese dip, you’re inhaling those potato chips you hid so high up in your pantry, you could get a nose bleed just retrieving them. And those chocolate chip cookies even your kids don’t want? Down the hatch! Lets not forget the leftover candy from that Bar Mitzvah your son went to the night before! Poof!
We try our best to stay strong…. but more often than not, we find ourselves succumbing.
Fear no more! It’s time we stop viewing cravings as a weakness and start seeing them as important messages from our body to help us maintain balance.
There are some important root causes to cravings, so the next time we experience one, we need to analyze it and – once addressed – we can dominate it. We simply have to ask ourselves: what does my body want… and why?
Of course there are the obvious reasons we suddenly crave something: hunger, low blood sugar, lack of sleep, and hormones are the common ones. But there are other, not so obvious causes – and I’ve listed them below. When we learn what they are, this knowledge will aid us in regaining the power to control them!
Water, Water, Water
Our body is made up of mostly water and we need to be keeping it well hydrated throughout the day. If we’re not drinking at least 8-10 glasses of water a day, the body can interpret that dehydration as hunger. So the first thing we need to do when we get a craving is drink a full glass of water! Then wait a couple of minutes and suddenly that Krispy Kreme doesn’t look so appealing anymore – we just needed to be hydrated.
Lets Do Lunch
Eating that healthy leafy salad at lunch is the smartest choice, right? Think again. A green salad for lunch will only fill you up for a few hours, so by 4PM (the Witching Hour as I call it), we start losing energy and focus – and we begin crashing. Nine times out of ten, that’s exactly when we’ll reach for those sugary snacks versus a healthy one.
Next time, try eating a bit more for lunch – and add protein, whole grains and lots of veggies. Take note of how you feel for the rest of the day. I promise you’ll have more energy and those afternoon cravings will abate.
Stressed at work? Bad break-up? Unfriended on Facebook? Any one of these emotions can lead us straight to a pound Swedish Fish. Food cravings don’t last a long time, so – before you reach for the Ben and Jerry’s – take a couple of deep breaths. If you can stop what you’re doing, next choose an activity that will boost your mood, like taking a walk to get some fresh air. This will help alleviate the stress occurring in your body and mind and provide satisfaction, as the cravings pass.
If we don’t fuel our body with important macronutrients – protein, fat. whole grains, and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) – we may experience some strange cravings. For example, low mineral levels can make us yearn for salty foods. And not enough healthy fats in our diet can lead us to reach for those unhealthy fats found in cheese, French fries, and ice cream. BTW, “good” fats are essential to keeping us healthy, lucid, and energetic – in addition to helping us lose weight! So next time you get a craving for a fatty food, choose foods loaded with good fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconut oils. Plus, if dairy isn’t an issue for you, choose a Greek yogurt containing at least 2% fat!
The bottom line is this: we need to listen to our body! Joshua Rosenthal from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition says that our body doesn’t make mistakes: it is a super computer.
The more knowledgeable we are about our cravings, the less often they’ll occur – and, if they do, the less often we’ll give into them! I’m not saying we can’t indulge every so often – we gotta live a little – but the key here is to indulge in them less often.
Having the tools to understand why we get our cravings leads to our ability to control them. And this is wonderfully beneficial to our health and wellbeing in the long run!
Let me know how you are doing. I would love to here from you.