To know how to curb cravings for certain foods, it helps to understand why we get them. Researchers remain divided but there are many theories. For example, cravings arise in an attempt to supply the body with the nutrients it lacks. Also, foods with pleasurable tastes used as rewards when we’re younger, can become ‘comfort’ foods that we rely on to make us feel better when we’re adults.
Diets, tiredness and hormones can also affect our desire for certain foods, and a small number of cravings can be the result of food sensitivities — we crave the very food we react to.
So how do you know which one of these theories is driving your chocolate or bread obsession?
The general consensus among professionals is that it’s a combination of factors, but being more aware of your body will help you identify your dominant triggers. For instance, if you feel nauseous, bloated, or have a skin irritation after you satisfy your cravings, it could be the result of a food sensitivity.
Identifying when you’re depressed, stressed or hung over will also stop you from reaching for that giant tub of ice cream because you’ll notice you’re eating to soothe an emotion. Instead use healthy habits like exercise, socialising or a hobby to perk you up. I find reading a book on positivity can help; such as any of Andrew Mathews or the beautiful Louise Hay.
Here are some simple ways to curb cravings:
- Use your willpower – saying “I will – I can – I must” can help change your bad habits. Remember it’s always easier to give in than resist temptation, so challenge yourself and take the high road. You’ll look and feel better for it too!
- Don’t wait too long between meals – this is why it’s important to incorporate healthy snacks as well as meals in your daily menu plan. Choose low-GI fruits such as apples, pears and cherries, and make high-fibre snack choices to keep your hunger at bay.
- Don’t cut out an entire food group from your diet – a balanced diet is the only way to give your body all the nutrients it needs. Forget the crazy diets that you know won’t give you long-term success.
- Forget about snacking when you’re bored – get active, take up a new hobby, exercise! Don’t use food to fill in the gaps in your day and stay out of the kitchen.
- Stock your kitchen with only healthy and nutritious foods – throw out or don’t bring home any food that won’t support you when you feel vulnerable.
With a change of habits, and by nourishing your body with the right foods throughout the day, you’ll find that your cravings will lessen and gradually disappear over time. Now that’s definitely food for thought.
Excerpt from Symply Too Good To Be True book 6 Masterclass.