Four Culprits of Your Cravings
Cravings. We all get them. That intense desire to indulge in random foods that can hit you anytime of the day. Sometimes they are the driving force behind what’s for dinner!
But what do they mean? …if anything at all? The majority of cravings are mental. There is an outside factor that is wanting something from that food… a memory, comfort, a nutrient.
While cravings can be brought on by many things, it’s easier to pin point who the culprit is, if you do a little reverse engineering.
Culprit #1: Stress
We ALL know it well. Stress tends to rule people’s lives – That is NO WAY to live, people! Here are some (horrifying) stats on stress…
- 3 out of 4 hospital visits are stress related ailments
- Stress increases your risk of stroke by 50%
- 44% of people lose sleep every time due to being over stressed
- 40% of stressed people overeat or eat unhealthy foods
Wow, guys. That’s a lot of stressed out people with stressed out problems! So how can we nail our stress down so we can stop craving unhealthy foods?
There are many options, but first and foremost: find what the underline stressor is and work on that. Too many people try to only numb the results of stress and don’t look for root cause for it as well!
While you’re doing that, take the edge off and try some natural stress relievers like Peppermint and Licorice.
Culprit #2: Emotions
We’ve all been here. Emotions can drive us to jump into that pint (or two) of ice cream, inhale an entire tray of chocolates or eat the entire “party-sized” bad of potato chips before we even notice what happened.
Our emotions can totally control what we put into our mouths. To change this, we just have to be stronger than the emotions running through us.
Whether it is regret, anger, loneliness, sadness, devastation, or even sheer joy, eating based on our emotions is a formula for disaster!
So how do you conquer those emotions?
You are not a dog. You don’t need to reward yourself with food. Learn to control your cravings for certain foods while you’re experiencing such strong emotions by doing a couple things.
First, ask yourself if you are actually hungry. It will surprise you how often we reach for comforting foods when we are not actually hungry at all. Next, do a “trade”.
If you crave ice cream when you are sad, trade it for a lighter but still satisfying treat, like frozen yogurt. If you crave salty potato chips, you can trade those guys out for veggie chips or pita bread and hummus!
Another way to help stop yourself from indulging in junk food when you’re emotional is to not buy tempting foods! Out of sight – out of mind!
Instead of buying the entire bag of candy bars, just buy a single “fun size” candy. Eliminate the option of “I’ll just have one more…”
Culprit #3: Restricted Diet
Ever notice that your cravings for certain foods are only on level INSANE when you are severely restricting your diet? This is common with anyone who has ever been on a diet or cut foods out of their diet.
The best thing to do, especially when dieting or eating clean, is to allow yourself a “cheat meal”. Once or twice a week, let yourself indulge a little bit on whatever food you choose.
Now, don’t fall off the wagon and go nuts, losing your motivation and all your hard work. Keeping serving sizes in mind, have that slice of cake or piece of pizza (we suggest taking some Digestion… belch with it, too) and enjoy every second of it!
It will be enough to get the cravings off your back but not enough to derail you from all your hard work!
Culprit #4: Imbalance
Believe it or not, your body tells you when things are not right. Pain, for instance, is simply an indicator from your brain that something is wrong with the area that is hurting. Our awesome bodies do the same when we crave foods.
Hormone imbalances, like being pregnant or menstruating, also dictate what you crave. Usually it also ties into a chemical or nutrient imbalance.
This happens in both sexes. Typically a chemical or nutrient imbalance points straight at what you are not getting in your diet.
Craving red meat, for example, like steak or a hamburger signals that your body is low in iron. Craving chocolate typically paints a picture of your body being low in magnesium – which is found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, beans and fish.
When your body craves salty foods – especially after a workout – points to dehydration.
Our bodies are truly our temple. If we listen to what it is trying to tell us, we can typically figure out what the problem is.
The next time you have an insane desire to indulge in that chocolate cake, take a second and think about WHY you want it so badly. After you identify the culprit, you will know exactly what to do from there!