You know them, those little gnawing feelings inside your stomach, the feeling you 'need' something to eat. I take this opportunity to ask some questions and throw out some answers that may very well mean the end to your cravings.
- Do not starve yourself. Studies have shown that when going on a diet that is too low in calories, people tend to get worse food cravings and to become preuccupied with food.
- Drink water. Dehydration is often confused with hunger.
- Don't be too hard on yourself. By eating your favorite treats from time to time, you can control those big cravings that arise when you deny yourself those favorite foods.
- Keep track of what you eat, like a food diary. This will help you identify your eating patterns and cravings. If, for example, you have sugar cravings every day around 10 a.m., this might mean you have not had a proper breakfast or that you just need a light snack to satisfy your nutritional needs.
- Identify your cravings. Is it your mind or your body? Emotional eating is very common, and can be controlled. Pay attention to the cravings you are having.....are they actually feelings of hunger in your stomach?
- Are you bored or stressed? Give yourself something to do. Try to meditate and relieve stress. Do you feel lonely or neglected? Draw a nice bath, pamper yourself. When you are an emotional eater, this usually means you have emotional issues. To get to the bottom of your eating issues, you must find the root of the emotional issues, and work on those.
- Distract yourself. Keep busy with something you enjoy doing or that has to be done (homework, a project, housework, etc.). Keep busy for an hour; if you still feel cravings then, have something small that will take the edge off of your cravings.
- Are you a sugar addict? Certain foods can actually make you addicted, and sugar is one of them. Sugar cravings can be caused by high rises and rapid drops in your blood sugar, which occur when you eat any refined carbohydrates, not just sugar. Try eliminating all flour products (bread, pasta and pastry) and other refined grains (white rice and refined corn products like tortillas) and cereals made with refined grains. Eat whole grains at breakfast, lunch and dinner (and snacks when you are truly hungry). Whole grains give you the nutrients that you need and keep you full and satisfied for a long time, without those sharp rises and drops in blood sugar.
When you have made sure it is not thirst or boredom, a chemical dependency or perhaps an emotional need for eating, there is no reason for not answering an obvious craving. When your body sends out signals, it is important to listen.
The most important way to curb your cravings is to have a well-balanced diet that meets all your nutritonal needs and to eat regularly and mindfully.