Cravings – Why we get them & how to handle them?
This guest blog post comes from Adam Smith over at Vouchers Codes Pro, who has done extensive research into cravings, and how men and women in the UK respond to them. The topic of cravings and how to handle them, is something I address with my clients on an almost daily basis, and I’m yet to come across someone who NEVER experiences or struggles with them to some extent! Whether it be a daily struggle resisting a mid-afternoon chocolate bar or packet of crisps from the vending machine, or those biscuits sitting calling your name crying to be eaten on a central desk, or a more infrequent night time craving for “something sweet”, this is a topic I am sure will speak to everyone and Adam is here to bring some great tips to help!
Are food cravings the bane of your life? Would you like to see them banished from your diet completely?
After a recent survey that was conducted by Voucher Codes Pro into the eating habits of the UK adult population, I looked for ways to combat my unwanted calls for junk food and to limit my overeating.
So why is it we get these impulsive cravings for food?? And how can we handle them?
A lot of us misread our craving signals for being hungry. Surprisingly, it’s a very common mistake that’s made, but by being able to distinguish the differences between the two, we can make healthier food choices as a result.
If you were to look-up the definition of ‘crave’ in the dictionary, you will see that it is ‘to have an intense desire for’. This ‘intense desire’ usually vanishes after a small amount of time, whereas hunger will gradually worsen.
Cravings often come out of nowhere, but behind the scenes, they are commonly triggered by emotions.
For example, if we are bored, we usually look for ways to stimulate our brains and more often than not, eating is our way of doing so! Likewise, if we are sad and down in the dumps, we usually call on food to cheer us up. This is commonly referred to as “comfort eating”.
A lot of the time, we yearn for foods that are high in fat, calories and sugar, but since we are not physically hungry, by turning down the temptation, we will be able to maintain our weight provigil more effectively, feeling healthier on the inside, as well as out!
As I mentioned earlier, hunger and cravings are often mistaken for one another. And by definition, hunger is ‘the discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food’. This is the body’s way of warning you that food is required for energy, thus for, allowing us to function properly throughout the day. Of course, there are plenty of physical signs to look out for. The stomach may start to rumble and growl, feel empty or undergo ‘hunger pangs’. The brain on the other hand, may send a number of different signals, like headaches, irritability, agitation or fatigue.
But is there a way to curb our cravings completely?
Well, in the survey conducted by Voucher Codes Pro, one of the reasons disclosed as to why individuals would most likely give in to their cravings, was that they are unaware of healthier choices. Due to this shocking revelation, they decided to produce an impressive infographic that highlights some of the most popular types of food cravings and healthier alternatives.
As you can see, it displays that although we believe our body is calling for chocolate, in fact, what it is actually calling out for is one of its most essential nutrients; magnesium. And so, a perfect replacement would be a handful of raw nuts and seeds, which are low in fat, carbs and calories, but high in protein, fibre and of course, magnesium. Becoming familiar with the nutrients within these types of foods, and aware of the healthier choices available, is a really effective way of conquering junk food cravings.
Of course, realistically I understand that kicking these out of our diets completely is a lot tougher done than it is said. But putting the info in the infographic into practice, is definitely worth doing! It will go a long way in helping us feel better about ourselves, as well as changing our eating habits for the better… for good!
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