Ever felt food cravings? Maybe you are someone that feels like your cravings control the outcome of your nutrition?
Chances are your cravings are a direct result of something you are unconsciously are doing to your nutrition and appetite.
Cravings can teach us a lot, for example:
Inadequately supplied nutrition: A common cause of cravings is poorly timed or inadequate sources of fuel, particularly when it comes to cravings feeling compulsive. Often we blame this on willpower or lack of discipline when really it could be that you are unsatisfied and undernourished. Often we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates, but isn't it normally high carbohydrate treats that we end up craving and succumbing to? Checking up on your carbohydrate intake, as well as having a good balance of all three macronutrients is important.
Food insecurity: We typically associate food insecurity with people who don’t have access to enough food. While that’s true, it could also be self-inflicted through dieting or restrictive mindsets. When you feel like food isn’t going to be there tomorrow, it could absolutely affect your thoughts and behaviors today. Giving yourself unconditional permission to eat will decrease the power food has over you. Being in control by having food rules is actually an illusion because those rules are actually controlling you.
Emotional hunger: eating outside of hunger due to our emotions is a completely normal thing, and happens to all of us. Consistently using food as the only way to meet your needs is leaving the body confused and lacking in the confidence it needs to take care of you. Like all things we need (rest, connection, movement, love and variety) food is important, If you feel like something is lacking, it could be easier to distract or numb with food instead of leaning into what it is or how you’re feeling. In this case, working to become more emotionally aware would be worthwhile to you. This could be done through journaling, therapy or some other form of self-reflection.
Variety: Have you been eating the same thing over and over again? Our bodies want and need a wide variety of foods to function optimally. It’s physically and psychologically unsatisfying to eat the same foods day in and day out. Building more flexibility into your meals and snacks will likely help you feel less preoccupied with food.
Medical concerns: Some cravings — like salty foods, for example — may indicate a medical issue. If you find these cravings to be very intense and very frequent, it may be necessary to seek medical advice.
Lastly, be sure you aren’t confusing hunger, appetite or food preferences with cravings. It's normal to get hungry and want something satisfying to eat, which may vary from day to day. Remember to listen to your body. If you're craving pizza, then a salad may not do. If you want a treat, fruit may not cut it. While it's good to be aware, don’t waste too much of your time overthinking cravings. Most of the time it’s best just to honor it and move on.
To gain a greater understanding of nutrition for your individual needs and goals, contact us