Do you ever feel like you're a slave to your cravings? Sometimes it's coffee you can't live without, other times nothing can get between you and a chocolate croissant, and still other times it seems like all you can think about is bread and pasta. You do your best to stay strong, clench your teeth and distract yourself, but more often than you'd like, you find yourself succumbing.
The most frustrating part of dealing with food cravings is often feeling totally out of control. It's like your body is working against you, sabotaging your best intentions with it's own devious agenda.
Thankfully, there's a method to the madness of your cravings. There are some root causes that, once addressed, can liberate you from that feeling of powerlessness.
Some are obvious — hunger, low blood sugar, too few hours of sleep, certain hormonal fluctuations.
But there are some other surprising causes of cravings that you might not know about, which, if ignored, are going to wreak havoc on whatever's left of that willpower.
1. Your sensible lunch salad.
You may think you're making the healthiest choice possible with that nice green salad for lunch, but the truth is, a salad is only going to fill you up for about 3-4 hours. Come 4 pm, your energy levels totally crash and you start craving cookies, coffee and other simple sugars.
When you experience that 4 pm crash, the odds that you'll make healthy food choices are pretty slim. Your body is in a state of panic and will lead you to whatever energy source is closest, diet be damned.
Instead, try having a bigger lunch with some whole grains, protein and tons of veggies instead of your typical fare, and see how much more energy you have throughout the day!
2. Your boss's mood.
A stressful work environment or tyrannical management style can leave you running for the nearest chocolate bar. Stressors like getting chewed out by your boss, dealing with impending deadlines, having too much on your plate, or a generally intense office culture raises your cortisol levels, which in turn cause you to feel hungry, crave sugar and gain weight, especially in your midsection.
So the next time things get a little heated at the office, take a five minute break and go for a walk around the block to take some deep breaths and clear your head before reaching for those comfort foods. Getting a little distance from the source of your stress can give you much-needed perspective and a clearer picture of what's really going on.
3. You're not getting enough action.
When we're lacking crucial fulfillment, intimacy and fun in our lives, we tend to compensate with food. If you're getting enough sweetness in your life through your relationships, self-care and fun experiences, you become a lot less dependent on food as a source of excitement, comfort and joy.
Even if you're not in a relationship, having regular orgasms (even just solo!) will go a long way toward keeping you away from sugar, carbs and other comfort foods. So schedule some lovin' into your week and notice how much less power food has over you!
4. Your fear of fats.
In our low-fat-everything culture, we can be a little too diligent in avoiding fatty foods. Newsflash: there are healthy fats out there that your body needs for energy, weight loss and focus.
When we deprive ourselves of healthy fats, our bodies start to send signals that we absolutely must get our hands on those unhealthy fats like those found in foods like ice cream, cheese or french fries. Instead of succumbing to those cravings, make healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds, olive and coconut oils, and even the occasional 2% fat greek yogurt or kefir a part of your daily eating and watch those fatty food cravings disappear!
5. Your water intake.
Dehydration is a major cause of food cravings that is seldom addressed. Our bodies are made up of roughly 70% water, which needs to be replenished and rehydrated throughout the day. If you're not drinking those eight glasses of water, your body gets majorly dehydrated which manifests itself as a feeling of hunger, not thirst.
So before reaching for a snack, drink a tall glass of water, wait a couple of minutes and then check in with yourself to see if you're still hungry. More often than not, the craving will be gone!
Mastering the root causes of your cravings is so important in understanding your body's needs and healing your relationship with eating. Give these five tips a shot and see how much more empowered you feel in the face of food.