30 Day Nutrition Challenge 5: Cravings
Let’s talk cravings, I know you get them because I certainly do.
What causes cravings and are they bad?
There’s a lot of BS that you can read about how the cravings you have are determined by certain nutrient deficiencies. These are mostly spread by crazy #eatclean exponents who probably have an eating disorder.
In a lot of cases if you crave something it’s just your body saying, give me that thing. For example, if you are cutting out carbs and you are getting cravings for carb dense foods, that’s your body saying “don’t be a silly bugger, just eat some carbs! That’s why we encourage flexibility.
Weight loss is all about energy balance and being in an energy deficit, so if you eat more of the foods you like and just ensure that they are in portion sizes that aren’t going to exceed your calorie needs for the day.
Sometimes, you get hunger pangs or sweet cravings because you are dehydrated, and your body is confusing the signals, so make sure you are drinking an adequate amount of water each day, 1.5l plus some other liquids is a good minimum.
However, stress can also lead to cravings. When you are stressed your mind wants something to make it feel better. It recognises that (let’s say) chocolate usually makes you feel a sense of mild elation so your mind says “GIVE ME CHOCOLATE” the trouble is, you become accustomed to this and then pretty soon chocolate becomes your go to for dealing with stress, not good.
This is where awareness comes in. When this happens you really ought to pause and think. What are your thoughts focussed on in that moment? What emotions are you feeling as a response to the movies or voices you are playing over in your head? What is it that you really need? Chocolate isn’t going to solve anything, it’s just tricking your mind into thinking it’s happy but if you address the root of the problem the craving for chocolate will go.
Of course, it might not be chocolate, it could be anything. But, basically, if you can be disciplined allow yourself a little of all the foods you like, learn to manage your stress, remain hydrated and get a good night’s sleep. This way you’ll get far less cravings, you’ll not feel restricted and your diet won’t be just another thing making your feel stressed.