In the past, I have heard a lot of people talking about “learning to be connected with your body” and I must confess that every time I’d probably be standing there with a dummy face. Of course, I’m connected to my body. I live in this same body, so for sure there is a connection, right?!
However, during my challenge, I finally understood that connection that people talk about.
It’s not just a link, but rather a communication through which you get to understand how your body works and what it needs.
Talking to people, I also learned that each body is different and what is good for someone is not necessarily the best for someone else. Also, with the passing of the years, our body changes and we must be able to notice those changes and adapt our lifestyle to them.
For this reason, it is important to learn to communicate with our body, to experiment, to listen to it, and to understand what it’s trying to tell us.
For example, I’ve learned that being tired makes me feel terrible. I get very moody. I’m not productive at all and, in addition, I get cravings and a desire for junk food.
Why we usually have cravings
According to my experience, and that of other people with whom I have been able to talk to about the subject, these are the most common situations for which we usually have cravings:
- We’re bored and we have nothing to do.
- We’re tired because we’ve been sleeping fewer hours and/or had bad quality of sleep.
- We’re stressed.
- We need to relax after a long day.
- We’re dehydrated.
- We need a distraction from what we are doing.
- We’re offered free food.
- We’re continually surrounded by temptation: vending machines, supermarket, people around us who consume those types of foods.
- We have imposed on ourselves strict meal schedules.
- We wait too long to eat.
- We didn’t like what we just ate and we have a desire for something more delicious.
Does any of this resonate with you?
Solutions to eliminate food cravings
Starting with the list of most common reasons, I came up with a total of 15 reasons why we could have cravings and here I propose a solution for each one of them. Write down the ones that resonate with you and consider if the solution is within your reach:
1. Identify those moments in which you eat because you are bored:
What can you do to NOT be bored? Find yourself a hobby, go for a walk, read, meet someone, volunteer, write, play sports. Can you think of anything else?
2. If you notice that you are tired:
Take a nap and do your best to rest more and better.
3. If you notice that stress causes cravings:
Can you identify what the reason is for that stress? Can you do something to change that situation? If you cannot find a solution yourself, can you ask for help?
4. If you get cravings because you need to relax after a long day:
Make a gratitude exercise. You can do it simply mentally or write it down if you prefer. The idea is that you find all the situations of your day for which you are grateful. This exercise is even more effective if you manage to be grateful for something bad that has happened to you during the day in which, nevertheless, you can find something positive. For example: I am grateful that my boss wasn’t happy when I went to eat when I felt hungry, because this means that I am taking control over my health.
5. If you have a feeling of hunger, make sure it’s not thirst:
When you notice the signs of hunger, drink a glass of water. If, after a while, you’re still hungry, then you really are hungry!
6. If what you need is just a distraction from what you are doing:
Take the opportunity to drink a glass of water and go for a walk or make some kind of physical exercise.
7. Free food:
Great if it’s healthy, bad if it’s junk. Try to visualize yourself eating that junk food and do the same, thinking about eating a healthy meal that you love and have within your reach because you are an organized person. Your mind has the power to convince you that what you most want is healthy food.
8. Learn to read the labels and do not make the food industry choose for you:
Keep in mind that the food industry invests tons of money trying to sell you products that have been created in a laboratory to be highly addictive for you. Also, they invest another large amount of money to make it so that kind of food is always within your reach. Finally, another tactic they usually use is to convince you that it is a healthy meal although, in reality, it is not. Luckily, we are smart enough not to fall into those traps, right? The first rule about labels is to read the list of ingredients. The first ingredient that appears on the list is the one that is present in larger quantity. If the first or the second one is sugar, in any of its forms, you do not want to eat that food.
9. Eat when you START to be hungry:
Do not wait to eat at a specific time or when, suddenly, you realize that you cannot wait any longer. When you reach that extreme point, it is very easy to lose control. You may eat faster, more quantity and especially unhealthy food. The way you eat is as important as what you eat. Eating before starving makes you eat slower and makes you enjoy more of the food.
10. Eat only what you really like:
If you eat something just because you have heard that it is good for your health, but its taste does not please you at all, it is very likely that, after a while, you will want to eat something that has a flavor that you recognize as delicious. Unfortunately, there is a high chance that may be junk food.
11. Identify a food that you love and have it always within reach:
You probably have a favorite fruit, or maybe a vegetable, or some nuts, or some easy recipe like these energy balls, a healthy Nutella or a hummus. Organize yourself so that you can always have it at your fingertips.
12. Do not have junk food at home:
In general, do not have those foods at home that you know you do not want to consume but that you would yield in times of weakness.
13. Do not leave home without healthy food and water:
If you know that you will be away from home for a long time, take one of your favorite foods and do not forget to keep hydrated.
14. Chocolate after eating:
Chocolate is not bad, but it depends on the type and quantity you consume. Change your milk chocolate bars with black chocolate bars of the highest percentage. You can start with 70% and go up. You could even try to write down on the package the date when you opened it and challenge yourself to always have it last longer.
15. Eat enough food until you are satisfied:
We definitely shouldn’t eat too much, but it’s not good to lack enough food and still feel hungry after eating. It’s highly possible that after a while you will get cravings.
What to do when you are not able to control your cravings
No one is perfect and there is always the possibility of falling into temptation the first step in these cases is to understand that IT’S NOTHING SERIOUS. Unless this doesn’t happen frequently, falling into temptation will not erase the results you have achieved in the last week in which you have eaten healthy. Plus, feeling guilty will lead you to stress and, consequently, to have more cravings. Yes, it is a vicious cycle that only YOU have the power to break.
In mid-March, about two weeks before taking the pictures of my challenge for the month of April, I noticed in my body that “something was not right”. It was a Saturday and I had to go to the supermarket, but before I went, I decided to eat a good snack to avoid the temptation to buy food that I didn’t want to consume. I was able to behave very well and I bought only the items that I had on my list. However, on my way back home, I couldn’t control myself and I stopped to buy a chocolate bar and, for dinner, I went back out again to buy comfort food, even if I had already made food at home. I tried to use all my willpower to avoid it but it was not enough, so the only thing I had left was to accept it. However, I took the time to think about why I had the need of junk food and what I discovered were emotions of fear, stress, and insecurity.
Perfect, one more proof that I am still human and there is nothing to worry about it.
I accepted my emotions and I gave myself some answers. I enjoyed the banquet and I went to bed thinking that tomorrow will be a new day and I will feel a little better.
Did you have some episode when you were not able to control your cravings in any way?
If it happens again, my suggestion is to stop for a moment and analyze what is really happening. Identify the cause and look for a solution so that it does not happen again. Connect with your body and learn to understand what it’s trying to tell you. Of course, if you have those cravings very often, and most of the time you can’t control them, then there is a basic problem and you should start working on it seriously, possibly with the help of someone.
Do you identify with what you just read?
Do you consider that you have a good connection with your body?
Have you identified the reasons why you usually have cravings?
Do you think you could apply any of the proposed solutions?
I would love to read about your experience and would like to invite you to leave a comment below.
As always, do not hesitate to share this post if you think it might be interesting for someone you know. The bar that you see below with the symbols of social networks allows you to share this post on many social networks, even WhatsApp 😉
Finally, if you liked the content of this post, I invite you to read My Solutions In The Kitchen To Always Eat Healthy And Delicious Food, where I give you some tips to organize yourself in the kitchen and always have healthy food at hand to avoid, or accept your cravings.
Thanks a lot for stopping by!
A big hug and Happy Healthy Life,
Claudia Canu is a former junk and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life and achieve big goals.