Food Cravings and How to Beat Them - Part Two
By Claudia Jones
Achieving the Right Balance
It is important to pay attention to your diet as cravings for sweets foods may suggest that you are not eating the appropriate amounts of proteins, fats and carbohydrates for your body’s needs.
Finding your personal balance of each of the food groups is essential which means taking the time to research your individual dietary needs, planning what to eat and when . As you make changes in your diet it is important to regularly observe yourself, your mood and energy levels and make amendments accordingly. When the balance is right, meals will feel satisfying, the urge to snack in between meals will diminish, you will move towards your natural weight and you will experience improved overall health and wellbeing.
One thing you may notice from self –observation is that the body will crave its most recent source of a particular food group, for example, if fish is the most regular form of protein in your diet then you may find that you crave fish when your body needs protein. Likewise if your regular protein source is a deep fried hamburger, you may find that a hamburger is the food your body craves when it needs protein. What does that tell us? Well, we need to educate ourselves on healthy sources of each food group and train ourselves to choose the healthy option until it becomes our natural choice, the one we ‘crave’.
Are You an Emotional Eater?
Emotional issues are often the driving force behind food cravings. Among the many reasons people overeat are depression, anxiety, boredom, sadness, stress, anger and the need for distraction and relaxation. Emotions can lead people to eat when they are not hungry and to eat harmful foods. An emotional eater may use food and eating to suppress their emotions and cope with uncomfortable feelings. Powerful emotions can cause strong food cravings in order to cover up the (often childhood) beliefs that lie at the core of the problem. By dealing with the central belief and the resulting emotion, food cravings can be eliminated. There are a number of ways to deal with emotional issues, some of the most helpful are; consulting a therapist such as an acupuncturist, Emotional Freedom Technique therapist or a chartered psychologist.
Detoxing May Help
Many of us are led by our senses rather than our body’s intelligence when it comes to making food choices. By detoxing the body we can help to eradicate desires and cravings for unhealthful foods. While it is common to experience cravings for foods that are restricted, particularly in the first few days of a detox, these cravings usually fall away after a few days bringing a sense of peace. An important aspect of a detox program is colon cleansing; by taking colon hydrotherapy sessions the unhealthy bacteria is removed from the bowel and care is taken to replenish the healthy bacteria. This assists the body to reach its optimal acid-alkaline balance which reduces cravings and boosts overall health. By fulfilling the body’s nutritional requirements and avoiding crash dieting, a balanced detox program will help you to drop your sensual engagement with food and replace it with a healthier approach to food and eating . When the senses cease their pull, there is an opening into stillness and much mental energy is freed up so one can focus on other things or even on nothing at all. Many detoxers report a deepening in their yoga and meditation practices as the lure of sensory pleasure drops away.
Some Simple Tips
We are exposed to so many sensory stimuli , the sights and smells of foods and drinks as we go about our day to day lives that if we do not regularly check in with ourselves and our true needs we can easily make unhealthful choices or overeat. Food cravings are often habitual patterns that need to be broken and here, self awareness is the key. Next time you experience a food craving, just check in with yourself to see if it is a genuine need of your body, an old habit or merely your senses being stimulated.
Below are some simple tips that may help you to deal with your cravings:
- A good way to check if you are genuinely hungry or just experiencing a habitual craving for food is to drink a glass of water and then wait a few minutes, if the hunger is still there then you can make a healthful meal choice. Interrupting the pattern by drinking a glass of water gives you time to evaluate the craving and to correct the negative habitual behavior too.
- Try taking two, brisk fifteen minute walks per day. This will help to reduce cravings both during the exercise period and for some time after.
- Don’t miss meals as this only causes cravings for high calorie foods because the body has been deprived of the calories and nutrients it requires.
- If your inability to resist food cravings is affecting your weight, try substituting foods that taste similar but contain less calories