Hey Angels and Alphas,
If you’ve found yourself daydreaming thoughts such as “I would really love a burger right now”… you’re not alone. There are both psychological and physiological reasons why those cravings pop up throughout your day.
And when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s very easy to start feeling like giving up those foods you crave so much could be the secret to your success.
But we all know this can backfire, causing more unhealthy behaviors and overeating.
That’s why today, we’re here to look at the science behind food cravings, and why sometimes, giving in to them could actually be the SMART thing to do.
Why do we get food cravings, and do they stop us from achieving weight loss?
Food cravings can happen for countless reasons. Some people experience them because of stress, boredom, or other emotional reasons. For others, it’s just habit. Psychological factors could also be the cause, with hormones, blood sugar levels, and hydration becoming in the top three.
And let’s be clear here – everyone experiences cravings. Some people are just more vulnerable to them.
We’ve seen a lot of clients who are actively restricting calories or intake of certain nutrients, end up using food as their main way of coping with stress. That’s why if you’re trying to lose weight right now, or you consider yourself someone who eats in response to certain feelings… it’s time to take a look at how you’re feeling when those cravings arise.
How do we manage our cravings and not let them sabotage our weight loss efforts?
From a psychological standpoint, restricting something and pushing it down into our psyche, or making it “off-limits” is never a good idea because it sets us up for temptation. And you know what that means – binge eating later on!
And while this doesn’t happen to everyone, just think about it – how many times have you thought to yourself you can’t have something only to end up wanting it even more?
That’s why you should never swear off certain foods altogether. Instead, allow yourself small indulgences along the way to your specific, measured goal. When you do this, you’re ensuring that your eating plan is enjoyable… which is key to keeping it sustainable.
If you love pizza, allow yourself to have it. Learn to satisfy the craving without going overboard, and you’ll have a much easier time maintaining your physical and emotional health. Learn how to incorporate the foods you desire into your diet so you can actually enjoy them and still make progress. Yes, it IS possible.
Learn to indulge… the smart way.
If you indulge in your favorite cravings once in a while, and not every single time they strike, is the smart thing to do. It won’t stall your goals, you’ll get to enjoy the foods you want, and guess what, you’ll actually enjoy them even more!
Here’s a list of 3 go-to strategies you can start using today to make these indulgences work for you:
- LEARN HOW YOUR HUNGER WORKS
You need to learn how to make a difference between real hunger and emotional hunger. Next time a craving strikes, just mentally clock out for a second and evaluate how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally. Here’s how you can distinguish between the two types of hunger:
- Emotional hunger comes on suddenly, and it’s often related to a very specific food. It’s like an alarm clock that goes “I need to eat this now!” and leaves you feeling guilty.
- Real, physiological hunger is something that comes on gradually. It doesn’t attain to a specific food and leaves you feeling like you can wait a little bit before you start munching.
When you actually take a step back and evaluate how you’re feeling, you’ll start to differentiate between the two types of hunger.
- PLAN YOUR INDULGENCES. WHAT GETS PLANNED GETS MANAGED.
Next time you’re feeling like you’re dying for a burger, plan a meet out with a friend at your favorite burger joint and make it something you look forward to.
When you plan ahead, you’ll also get the extra time you need to reevaluate whether or not you really want that specific food or not.
Don’t just get seduced by the fast-food joint you pass by on your way to work… plan it out! Make the indulgence feel special and enjoy it slowly instead of making it a last-minute binge that you don’t really tend to think much about.
- INDULGE IN THE HEALTHIEST WAY POSSIBLE
This means that, if you want to indulge correctly, be mindful and take the time to truly enjoy the experience. If you find yourself craving a cookie, just take a break and go get that one favorite cookie you always love instead of just mindlessly rushing to get the first cookie you can get your hands on.
The cookie is a metaphor for a specific food, by the way.
And guess what – chances are, you can make a cookie that’s actually healthy! Granted, it won’t be as delicious as your favorite sugar-packed sweetness bomb, but it can still get the job done if you do it right.