It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and things are going along as usual, when suddenly it hits you…YOU MUST HAVE CHIPS NOW!
You are under attack from the dreaded food craving.
Whether it lurks under you desk at work or behind the couch in your living room…it is there and will sneak up on you when you least expect it.
So, how can you control that little beast rather than letting it control you?
Here are a few ideas about how to fight food cravings…
If you are having an intense craving for sweets (carbs), it may actually be because you are tired or haven’t gotten enough sleep. Your body often craves sweets as a way to boost energy.
Solution: If your energy is starting to crash, it can really help to get up and get moving. This doesn’t have to be intense exercise, just get up and take a quick walk to get your blood flowing. Other options are to drink some tea (a calorie free energy boost) or to snack on some fruit (sweet, but much better than a candy bar).
Salty food is a pretty typical craving and it may just be the desire for intense flavor. However, the craving for salty food can stem from poor nutrition and is often intensified by dehydration or adrenal fatigue (stress).
Solution: Before you go buy a bag of salty snacks, try drinking a glass or two of water. If you still feel the craving it may be stress that is the culprit. Stop what you’re doing and take a series of 7-10 deep breaths…this will often take the edge off a craving.
This may be a sign that you are feeling angry, frustrated, or irritable. Unfortunately, the seemingly satisfying crunch from that bag of chips will only leave you feeling worse in the long run.
Solution: Consider an endorphin-boosting workout to expend that energy and soothe your nerves, or keep healthy crunchy snack options on hand like peanut butter celery sticks or baby carrots. Another trick is to put on some relaxing music to help calm your stress.
If comfort foods are your weakness (ice cream, mac n’ cheese, mashed potatoes), this is usually a sign that you are seeking out the good “comforting” feeling that you associate with them. Often this kind of craving comes from depression, loneliness, or boredom.
Solution: One way to handle comfort food cravings is to distract yourself. Make a cup of tea (Wu-Long, of course), pick up a good book, take a bath, get outside, clean your house, or call a friend and catch up. Often you will find that the craving passes and it wasn’t actually about hunger at all.