Anyone who has experienced food cravings before knows that when they hit, they hit hard. It becomes an intense desire to satisfy your hunger even when you eat something else.
Food cravings are caused by issues such as vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, stress, and emotions or even low sugar levels.
While indulging in a food craving here and there is harmless, there are times you need to keep these urges in check.
It can be due to switching to a much healthier lifestyle, doctor mandated dietary changes or simply to reduce your expenses. It is not the easiest task but here are some tips you should try out when the cravings come calling:
1. Plan your meals beforehand
If you can, plan your meals a day or two ahead. You can even make a weekly meal plan. When you know what you are eating, it takes away any chances of spontaneity. Additionally, if you are flexible, prep some of your meals and put them in the fridge. This way, if you end up being also busy to make dinner, you already have a meal waiting for you. The need to find a quick fix especially when you are busy can lead you straight to your cravings.
2. Find productive ways to deal with stress
Most people indulge their cravings when they are at the lowest. Stress is known to induce cravings and in extreme cases can be linked to eating disorders. It is completely normal to feel sad or angry, find other ways to cope with your emotions. You can talk to a friend, go for a run, meditate or go swimming. Substitute the need to binge eat junk food with an activity you love just as much. Your brain then becomes also preoccupied to obsess about your cravings anymore.
3. Create boundaries
Identify your recurring cravings and actively avoid places where you can easily access them. This is not always possible depending on our lifestyles but when you can help it, avoid it. You cannot fault your brain for craving a burger when you walk into a burger house. You can reduce eating out and invest in making meals in the comfort of your home.
4. Substitute the cravings
If your cravings are more general as opposed to specific meals, look for alternatives. If it is sugar you crave, forgo the candy and indulge in some fruit. At the end of the day, you get to enjoy sugar but in a healthier manner. However, it is not about duping your mind. It is about making a conscious effort to stay away from unhealthy cravings. If you make a habit out of it, you may just find you enjoy the substitute more than you do what you craved before.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Most of the problems we have with our bodies can more often than not be solved with getting quality sleep. Living in a fast-paced world can often times cause one to underestimate the power of rest. When you are not well rested, your body suffers in one way or another. Sleep deprivation affects your appetite which eventually affects your hormones. Hormonal imbalances can cause your cravings to stir up. So maybe all you need is beauty rest and when you wake up, you might just be craving free.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé