Cravings! We all have them, but there are ways to minimize them and eventually kick them completely to the curb. Let’s dig in (for lack of better words). There could be several reasons why these urges come across our mind. Understanding the potential causes, both physiologically and psychologically, can help us understand why they happen and how we can navigate them better.
Some more common physical causes may be:
Imbalances in hormones: This could be related to a woman’s cycle because of shifts in estrogen and progesterone right before a cycle. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about these shifts. Too little sleep can also disturb hormones responsible for regulating hunger and fullness.
Gut flora imbalance: Our brain and our gut talk, a lot! If one is dysregulated, it will send a signal to the other that something must be done to correct or reverse this.
Too few calories/nutrition
Not enough water intake
Too much processed food intake.
Pregnancy: While it is not recommended to engage in the Pure 21 Wellness Challenge while pregnant, it’s helpful to know for other and/or in a future stage of life!
If we’re digging more psychologically or socially, here are other things that could cause cravings:
Suppressed thoughts or associations of guilt
When we can’t have something, we want it more, right?? When we view foods as forbidden or ‘bad,’ our desire to eat them often grows. Navigate this with positive affirmations. Validate that while this food might not be the best thing for me in this very moment, it is not off the table or out of the picture forever.
In other words, craving popcorn at the movies or a frozen drink at the pool is very natural and very tied with our culture! Instead, see if you can redirect or associate a new pairing. Pack your own snacks or allow for a home prepared version that may allow for a more nutritious option in the long-term.
Who wouldn’t want mashed potatoes around thanksgiving?? It’s natural to ‘crave’ these holiday-specific or time-sensitive items. One of the first steps at re-routing or decreasing this hunger is acknowledging why it might be presenting itself in the first place.
If you are commonly experiencing cravings, consider the following…
Are you skipping meals or not getting enough water? If so, it might be advisable to avoid going 3-4 hours without a meal and making sure you get your fluids early and often.
Try stress reduction techniques! It’s not uncommon to crave more comfort foods in the time of stress or transitionary periods in our lives. Fueling your mind with time away from screens, working on your breathing, and/or exercising can have a multi-faceted result!
Consume adequate fiber and protein (+healthy fats!!). All of these nutrients will ensure that you’re providing your body with ample fullness to get from one meal to another. If you’re frequently experiencing a pit of hunger, your body will seek those higher calorie/processed foods that it knows will ‘curb’ what it’s experiencing.
I say this a lot, but I truly mean it – you crave more of what you eat consistently. Even if broccoli or cauliflower seems to be the last thing you’d ever request at a dinner or for a snack, try making it a more regular part of your intake and you may be surprised how your taste buds adjust.