Ok let’s face it, we all have cravings. Some of us are die-hards for chocolates and sweets while others of us crave those salty and fatty foods. And still others of us love to gnosh out on empty carbs. Whatever your craving, there are ways to deal with it and actually win the battle. But before we learn about ways to deal with our cravings, Â we should dissect what a craving is and the causes.
According to the dictionary, a craving is an intense desire to consume a specific food, stronger than just simply hunger. Most people experience cravings at one time or another and there are several reasons for this. The most common causes of cravings include:
1. Dieting – Whenever we restrict or eliminate a certain food or food group from our diet, the desire for that particular banned food becomes stronger.
2. Bodily Needs – Listen Up! Your body may be really telling you something, ie. you are lacking a certain nutrient or mineral. In addition, low blood sugar will trigger a strong bodily response for carbohydrates and don’t forget about your brain chemistry. Low serotonin levels Â sends triggers to body for pleasure foods.
3. Lifestyle- This all comes down to how you eat and with whom you eat and the habits that have been formed. Family or social settings can trigger stronger than average cravings. If dessert was normally served after dinner then this will become a trigger for sweet cravings after meals. Or if watching TV was associated with popcorn or other crunchy foods then again this will lead to craving.
4. Comfort Eating- Reaching for “comfort” foods Â to fill a void or out of boredom or to just feel better can lead to an association between foods and moods.
5. Evolution- The human brain may be programmed to crave high fat and high caloric foods from our early ancestors and thus lead to cravings for the fatty high calorie foods.
6. Seasons- Changes in the seasons can also lead to an increase in cravings, especially around holiday times.
Now that the basics are covered, the next part is how do we deal with our cravings. Â Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Make sure to eat regularly. By doing so, you will maintain a constant blood sugar level and also keep your hormones in check.
2. Keep healthy snacks around, not the ones that lead down the slippery slope of overeating. Try nuts, veggies and fruits.
3. Refocus yourself with a task that will keep your mind preoccuppied and off the cravings path.
4. Drink up…water that is. Most cravings can be squelched with a large glass of water.
5. Avoid sugary snacks and fake foods. Try eating foods that in are their most natural state.
6. Eat your favorite foods in moderation and never ban yourself from a food.
7. Be forgiving….know that you and (everyone else) slips up from time to time. When you do, be aware of the reason and then move back on the path of clean eating.
I hope these tips help but I would love to hear any other ideas that you may use when dealing with your cravings. In the meantime, be fit!