Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Why do we get cravings?

Today's Workout:
5.5 mile run

Good afternoon friends! Today I want to talk about why we get cravings and how we can teach ourselves to curb those cravings. When you think of a "craving food" what do you imagine?

Decadent Chocolate?
A Succulent Burger?
Mouth-watering Fries?
Crispy and Crunchy Chips?
Or perhaps a Luscious Candy Bar?
Getting hungry yet?
Have you ever wondered why we get these sudden urges to eat certain foods? Sometimes the desire to eat a certain food is so great that we just cave in and satisfy our urge. This may leave us feeling guilty and remorseful afterwards. Psychologists and scientists have suggested that food cravings may result from different situations. These may be some of the reasons why we crave food:
1. We associate good memories with certain foods and/or meals. For example, we may associate a piece of cake to a birthday celebration.
2. Not enough variety in our diet. When we eat a whole balanced diet, we tend to have less cravings because our nutritional needs are being met. A whole balanced diet includes, complex carbs, veggies, meat, nuts, good fats, fruits, grains, legumes, etc.
3. A hormonal imbalance. When we feel stressed or anxious we get cravings because fatty and sugary foods boost our serotonin levels, which has a calming effect. This calming effect lowers our stress and anxiety.
4. Restricting foods. When we restrict certain foods from our diet we tend to crave them because we are lacking variety in what we eat. This usually leads to bingeing.
5. Unhealthy food is highly accessible and promoted. Marketing tools utilized by companies have a savvy way of enticing us to eat the bad foods, such as burgers, buttery popcorn, candy bars, beer, etc. These foods are highly marketed and can be attained easily and for a very cheap price.
6. We reward ourselves with unhealthy food. For example, a parent may reward good grades with a Happy Meal at McDonald's or one may reward oneself with a box of pizza for getting a promotion.
So what can we do to resist the temptation of eating all these heavenly-tasting foods?
1. Eat healthy food. When you eat a balanced and nutritional diet your body won't ask you for bad foods because you're giving it what it needs.
2. Add nutritional supplements to your diet. We may be lacking certain vitamins in our diet, so this would be a great way to fulfill the recommended dosage.  These may include omega-6, a multi-vitamin, Vitamin D, etc.
3. Exercise.
4. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep raises our cortisol levels which make us feel hungry and thus makes us crave food.
5. Pick a low calorie option. If you want a certain bad food, substitute it for a healthier option. For example, if you're craving chips opt for pretzels instead.
6. Distract yourself. When you get an urge to eat something unhealthy do something else that will get your mind off of it. For example, you could go for a walk or call a friend.
7. Eat a variety of food. Don't place too many limits on what you can or cannot eat. It's important to eat with moderation so that you don't binge later on the foods that you restrict.
8. Get the trigger foods out of the house. Everyone has different foods that make them fall into temptation. For some people this may be chocolate and for others it may be tortilla chips. If you know that you can't control your portions with these foods, then eliminate them from your household.
9. Give in every now and then. Don't be too strict with yourself. If you enjoy eating chocolate chip cookies, then have a cookie once a week. Don't eliminate the bad foods from your life because this leads to cravings.
10. Reward yourself with different things. Instead of going out for a 3 course meal because you passed a test or got promoted at work, treat yourself to a massage.
So relax a little and don't be too hard on yourself. Have a cookie like me =)!!!
What foods do you crave?
P.S. I crave tortilla chips =)~
I'm grateful for my pen-pal/friend Melissa
from Massachusetts. Besides being a great
friend, she also gave me my first baby book.



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  1. Interesting post! I think #1 and #6 are huge factors in my cravings. And exercise is definitely the best for resisting temptation!

    1. I think we all experience cravings, we just have to know when we are truly hungry versus craving something not so healthy. I think that when we know the difference, we could control the cravings a bit more.

  2. I've been craving lots of hamburgers since I've been pregnant. Maybe it's my body's way of saying it needs more iron? I'm embarrassed to admit I was eating them three times a week in the first trimester! I was able to return to my normal eating habits the second trimester, but I'll still have a burger once a week as my indulgence for the week. Great tips on how to resist temptations!

    1. Yes, you were probably needing iron in your diet, but eating a burger once a week is not a bad thing. It becomes excessive when one is eating bad all the time.