I bet you’ve heard that if you are craving chocolate, you are low in magnesium? Right?
Wrong. That’s only part of the story.
Craving a food or flavour can be caused by many different factors, and simply assuming that you are craving chocolate because of one nutrient is far too simplistic.
There can be many reasons that one craves – from hormonal imbalances, to hunger, body composition (whether you are healthy or overweight), nutrient deficiencies as well as habits, self-discipline, the state of your gut health and even your psychological association with food.
Here’s a list of top 4 reasons you crave and how to get on top of them…
4 Reasons You Crave:
Understanding why you crave is the first step in being able to address and overcome them. Here’s 4 reasons you might be craving…
How many times have you sat on the couch in front of the TV and then on auto pilot you find yourself heading to the fridge or pantry to grab out some cheese and crackers? When we create a pattern of performing a certain action over and over again ie TV on = eat crackers, we solidify this pattern as a habit. It becomes second nature like brushing your teeth in the morning.
Ah yes, that ole chest nut. As women we can often get caught up in our roller coaster of emotions that often leads us straight to chocolate, chips, ice cream and yes, wine. A break up with a boy? A stressful day? An exhausting conversation with a friend? How many times do these moments end with the “reward” or action of seeking comfort from a food source?
- Lack of Sleep
When you get a bad nights sleep, your hormones are slightly out of whack in the morning. You are less sensitive to insulin which means increased need for energy and more food and you have increased level of appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin. And all of this means, increased energy requirements from food leading to poor food choices as your hormones tell you to get glucose and quick smart, so you end up reaching for refined carbs that will hit that sweet spot fast. Hormones win every time people.
- Poor Gut Health
When your gut is damaged, you fail to digest and assimilate nutrients properly meaning your body doesn’t get what it needs from the food you eat. Even if you are eating good quality food, with a damaged gut you might not be absorbing those nutrients. The key here is healing your gut. And as a double whammy, when your gut is damaged you also produce less of the neurotransmitter serotonin that is your feel good hormone, so you start reaching for food to help you feel better instead. AND…if all of that wasn’t enough, when your gut is damaged the environment of bacteria in your gut is imbalanced which can result in less energy from your food, again meaning…more cravings for refined carbs!
4 Ways To Beat Cravings:
Rather than fighting your craving, why not give the body what it wants but in a controlled manner. So rather than reaching for a packet of Tim Tams when you crave chocolate, buy 85% dark chocolate with limited sugar and satisfy your needs without causing the body suffering from overbearing restriction.
Increasing your water intake can certainly help thwart those cravings. Try to increase your water intake to at least 2L a day and see if it helps curb your cravings.
Yes, ok so you knew this was going to be in the list. Getting outside in the sunshine and going for a run will help distract you, stopping you from giving in to that craving. It will also produce endorphins that make you feel food, replacing the need to get that vibe from your food.
Distraction is a great way to stop cravings as you focus your mind other things. Clean the house, get busy, do some work, take the kids to the park. It helps to make sure you aren’t just eating due to emotion or boredom.
Nicole Dickmann is an outspoken Nutritional Therapist on a mission to help busy women and men activate their supreme health potential, unleashing productivity and high performance to multiply their impact, influence and income.