Understanding and Controlling Food Cravings
Almost everyone experiences food cravings sometimes but unfortunately, they’re often for fatty or sugary foods rather than healthy ones. Cravings for chocolate, crisps and pizza are among the most common. These cravings can happen when you’re not even hungry and it can be very difficult to resist them. However, learning more about cravings and following a few key tips can help you overcome them.
What is a Food Craving?
The most important thing to understand about food cravings is that they come from your brain, not your stomach. This is why you can experience them despite not being hungry. A craving is not a hunger but simply a strong desire for a particular food.
For many people, this desire is often linked to mood. Food cravings can be strongly associated with misery and the need for comfort food. Indulging in high-fat or high-sugar foods is an enjoyable experience for many people, and gives them a short boost of happiness that helps to temporarily distract them from unhappy feelings.
Food cravings can also be a result of a lack of energy. High-calorie foods give people a fast burst of energy that helps to keep them going.
Fighting Food Cravings
There’s no easy way to free yourself from food cravings, but following these tips will help you curb them.
- Be Prepared
You can help yourself resist food cravings by making the foods you typically crave less easily accessible. Keeping them in the house will only make it too easy for you to give in to temptation. Instead keep your kitchen well-stocked with healthy foods you can snack on when cravings strike, like fruit or carrot sticks.
- Find Distractions
When you feel a food craving creeping up, it’s best to do something unrelated to food to take your mind off it. Have a bath, read a book, go for a run – whatever it takes to keep yourself occupied and steer your thoughts away from snacking. Do something you enjoy, which will allow you to get that happy feeling you’re craving from something other than food.
- Think About Where the Craving is Coming From
Ask yourself why you want to eat the specific food you’re craving. If you’re not hungry, focus on the fact that you don’t actually need to eat. If you want food because you’re unhappy, think of other things that cheer you up. Keep telling yourself that every time you resist a food craving, it will become a little bit easier to do it next time.
- Plan When to Give In
It can be helpful to decide on specific times to eat the foods you crave. For example, if you decide that you’ll indulge in a sugary treat on Friday evenings, you can focus on looking forward to that, rather than simply eating sugary snacks whenever you feel like it. Planning this way is also a great way to enjoy those foods without feeling guilty for doing so.
Some people only experience cravings occasionally, but if you experience them regularly, it’s important to do what you can to combat them. Overcoming food cravings can be very difficult, but if you make a plan and stick to it, you’ll find your willpower improving over time.