So often when we make poor mealtime decisions, it comes down to an impulse or a craving we simply can’t resist in the moment. Cravings can make us feel hungry or thirsty to the point of near-insanity, so how can they be avoided?
The secret to curbing your cravings is understanding where they come from. Once you know the root of your cravings, you can start to combat them. Next time you get a powerful craving, a play this simple game of “Is it a craving or….”
- Is it a craving or am I lacking nutrients?
If you’re not feeding your body whole nutrient-rich foods, that inadequacy can manifest as odd cravings. If your mineral levels are low, you might crave salt. If you aren’t consuming enough energy-rich nutrients, you might crave sugar or caffeinated beverages. Make sure you’re eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
- Is it a craving or am I unsatisfied with my life?
Whether it’s a flailing romantic relationship, a frustrating friendship, or a lackluster job, our dissatisfaction in our everyday life can leave us wanting to augment that feeling with food. Practicing mindfulness exercises, like meditation, can help you stay in-tuned with your body’s actual needs and wants rather than quick fixes like snacks.
- Is it a craving or am I dehydrated?
Dehydration can trick our bodies into thinking we’re hungry. Next time you’re hungry, try drinking a big glass of water and wait 20 minutes. Don’t go overboard though– too much water can cause cravings as well, as our bodies seek balance.
- Is it a craving or is it hormones?
Anyone experiencing menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause will have fluctuating hormones like testosterone and estrogen coursing through their veins. These volatile imbalances can cause powerful or unique cravings. Keep in mind that the craving is temporary.
- Is it a craving or am I sabotaging myself?
If you eat when you’re bored or stressed, find the root causes of those emotions and tackle them with exercise, meditation, therapy, or other wellness practices. Satisfying a craving is like looking for a “quick fix.” It will feel good in the moment, but it won’t be a sustainable way to build a healthy future you.