Cravings! What do they mean?

Cravings!

We all get them, but why? What do they mean? How can you mange them?

Cravings can have a number of sources, from nutritional needs, to psychological or emotional urges, to physiological requirements.

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Here’s a few examples:

Chocolate - Likely reason: magnesium requirement.

  • What to do instead: Eat more magnesium rich foods like leafy greens, nuts, seeds. Consider a supplement. Or use dark chocolate (not sugary milk chocolates).

Salt -Likely reason: adrenal dysregulation/excess stress/NaCl requirements.

  • What to do instead: Implement relaxation and stress management strategies like diaphramatic breathing, meditation etc.

Sweets/sugar – Likely reason: blood sugar dysregulation.

  • What to do instead: Choose a protein containing snack. Decrease sugars and refined foods in the rest of your diet to minimize blood sugar fluctuations that lead to cravings.

Something at the end of the day, a reward, especially fatty foods (chips, nuts, cheese, alcohol) – Likely reason – Dopamine low.

  • What to do instead: other enjoyable activities, deep breathing and relaxation.

It’s common for cravings to not even be about food at all. When a craving hits, try to understand it. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Am I actually hungry? Am I thirsty? Am I bored? Am I stressed? What is going on around me?

You can then identify patterns and hopefully you can intervene appropriately.

And if you’re having a hard time connecting the dots, try this routine:

  • Drink a glass of water, do 10 jumping jacks, take a few deep breaths, eat a few cut veggie sticks.

  • Often that craving can pass. If you still have it after all that, then maybe you indulge this time. But keep digging into the “why” and you’ll be able to override these cravings with time.