- Sometimes it’s because we’ve been working hard and the glucose from our food has been depleted from carrying energy to our brains and muscles. When the glucose gets low, this type of craving occurs. We often feel sluggish, lose our concentration, experience headaches, get the shakes or have some serious hunger pangs. (Physical Cravings)
- The second reason is emotional. This type of craving occurs when we use food to mask our feelings. It’s easy to do and we don’t always recognize it. For example, it’s Saturday afternoon, you’re home alone with only household chores on your horizon. Yuck! Instead, you go to the kitchen and get a donut, cookie or ice cream and then a few minutes later you’re back in the kitchen looking for some chips. You’re bored and uninterested in what’s on the horizon so you choose something more pleasurable. (Emotional Cravings)
- When you’ve identified your craving as stress related, try going for a walk or to the gym for a good workout. Exercise has been proven to lower stress, so when you’re done you just might have beaten that craving! If you’re still hungry, at least you will have added to your energy-expended bank, and you’ve had time to think about what kind of healthy snack you’ll have instead of the junk food you almost picked up. (Emotional Cravings)
What to do? Stopping the donut/chip cycle is easier said than done, but a couple of things that will help you triumph over cravings are:
- Any type of craving or snacking behavior requires that you become aware of when it typically occurs and how you’re feeling at the time. Keeping a small notebook and tracking your food is incredibly helpful in this process. Looking back over it will give you strategies for when/how to implement the next tip.
- Be prepared for cravings or snack time by having healthy choices available and by limiting the availability of unhealthy ones.
Examples of healthy choices include:
- 1 oz. of nuts and a piece of fruit
- Healthy Trail Mix with a lot of nuts and small amount of dried fruit. I make my own from the bulk bins at Whole Foods to get the blend I want and it’s easy to carry with regardless of the outside temperature.
- Celery and peanut butter (no sugar added)
- Hummus & cucumber slices (or any fresh veggie you enjoy)
- 1 piece of Dark Chocolate (72% or higher, 70-100 calories) and fruit I like in-season peaches with mine. Out of season I go for organic berries.
- Larabar (nuts, fruit, dates … that’s it!) They are calorie rich, but when I’m out of Trail Mix and need something on the run, this is my favorite.
- PBJ … yep! A peanut butter and jelly sandwich; grown-up style! Whole grain bread, no-sugar-added organic peanut butter (or almond butter) and either fresh fruit or all-fruit jam.
Most people have cravings; they’re not always a bad thing. Sometimes a craving is your body’s way of getting what it needs whether it’s nutrition, comfort, release or the need to relax. Potato chips only give temporary comfort and almost no nutrition–Understanding what we really need is the key to resolving our seemingly out-of-control cravings.
As a Certified Health Coach I can help you figure out why you’re experiencing cravings and help you design a lifestyle that will eliminate or greatly reduce them. You will feel empowered when you understand where your cravings come from and you learn to take back control. I am your Personal Trainer for nutrition and health!
In order for you to find out if coaching is a good fit for you, I’m offering you one FREE LifeChanger Session! Just hover over ‘Change My Life’, go down to LifeChanger Forms, fill out the appropriate form, submit it and I will contact you to schedule an appointment. www.healthworkskc.com
(I will be teaching a class on Mood & Food at the Lone Jack (9/27) & Liberty (11/15) branches of the MidContinent Public Library System.)
Thanks! I hope to see you soon!