Food Cravings – Talk to Me Tuesday
Thank you to everyone that reached out to me with their ideas for this Talk to Me Tuesday! There were lots of great ideas, but the one that I heard most often was relating to nutrition, specifically how to deal with stress induced food cravings and stay healthy during a global pandemic. Let’s face it, rarely does someone get food cravings for something that we label as healthy. Unfortunately, it is the foods that don’t promote good health that are on our list of go to comfort foods. The reason for that is biology – when we are stressed, it taxes our adrenal glands (remember the fight or flight talk yesterday?) and creates a desire for more sodium. And what about those sweet cravings? Those can be intense, right? That is because sugar releases the same feel good hormones as cocaine, making it highly addictive. The downside of ingesting sugar? Besides leaving you with a sugar “hangover” and not feeling too good, it also significantly lowers your immune function!
What Can I Do About It?
One of the worst things you can do is to cut out foods and label them as forbidden. All you’re doing is increasing your desire for them as well as denying yourself the full enjoyment of them when you do finally breakdown and have it. When we give ourselves permission with parameters, not only are we more successful, but we also get so much more enjoyment from our food! Isn’t that what we ultimately want? When you find yourself getting a food craving, get curious about it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I had enough to eat today?
- What am I craving exactly? Is it the crunch? The flavor? Or the comfort?
- When is the last time I drank water?
- Am I getting enough sleep?
- Did something stressful happen just before I felt this craving come on?
Be honest here – what is the root of your craving? Let me know. It won’t change whether or not you allow yourself the food, so just be honest with yourself. That honest answer will help you develop better coping mechanisms down the road. Making sure you get enough sleep, get enough nutrients in throughout your day, and drink plenty of water are all ways to prevent cravings and also boost health. The stress piece…well that is another topic. Are you following our Mindful Mondays? Maybe that will help you develop strategies to better manage that stress without self sabotage.
Looking at what food it is that you are craving will also help you come up with a list of alternatives to have on hand that will satisfy that craving. I like salty, crunchy foods when I am stressed. So I find healthy alternatives to the typical chips that I think I want. Maybe your craving is for sweets? What can you reach for instead of the candy, cookies, and cake? Let’s brainstorm in the comments!! You didn’t think I was going to do all the work for you, did you? This is supposed to be a conversation, not a lecture.
But if you do want to hear me talk more about this, head on over to our Youtube channel (have you subscribed to that yet?) and listen up!
When All Else Fails
When all else fails, give yourself permission to have the damn treat! And focus fully on it. Really truly enjoy it, savor every bite. It is amazing how satisfied we can feel on a small amount if we are fully present in moments of enjoyment. The typical, unsatisfying way is to deny ourselves the pleasure until we cave, and then mindlessly eat it as fast as we can to avoid guilt only to feel awful afterwards. I promise those couple bites of whatever you are craving will not hurt you if you are doing all the other things necessary to promote good health. And if you are going to have it, you really ought to enjoy it!
Keep the conversation going!
With Love and Gratitude,