We’ve all experienced that overwhelming urge to eat or drink something we know is bad for us. Whether you are just trying to be healthy, trying to lose weight, or have intolerances to certain foods, sometimes our bodies and minds work against us and we can’t help but give in!
Which foods we tend to crave:
Carbs (sugar) and fat are the primary culprits. They make us feel better when we are stressed, causing calming and feel good chemicals to be released. When we are hungry we are wired to go for the higher calorie options, which would make sense in times of food scarcity, but not so much in our modern lives where food is pretty abundant.
What triggers a craving?
The smell of a food, the crinkle of a wrapper, seeing a food that looks particularly good, anything that stimulates the senses can act as a trigger for a food craving. Your environment is your worst enemy (or your best friend) for food.
How long do cravings last?
Generally only a few minutes, and often if you can distract yourself, eat something healthy if it’s hunger you are fighting, or take yourself out of that environment that’s tempting you, you have the best chance of avoiding a binge.
To fight it?
If you keep your pantry clear of any foods that would tempt you, and instead have lots of different quick and easy things available, you will be far less likely to experience a food craving compared to having a cheesecake staring you in the face overtime you go to the fridge.
Avoiding situations where you know your environment will work against you, such as steering clear of the food court or the confectionary aisle can also be very helpful in warding off those cravings. If it’s a social function or something you can’t avoid, make sure you’ve filled up on a healthy snack or meal before you go, so you will be less tempted to overindulge.
The “one bite and walk away” trick can work, giving you just a taste but not the whole portion. An alternative is to only bring home a very small portion so it would be a whole lot of effort to go back out and get more. And of course, if your diet is on track 90% of the time, the occasional indulgence can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, so spoil yourself and enjoy!