Ever feel like you’ll scream if you don’t get a candy bar?
It’s easy to blame it on your sweet tooth or stress. But food cravings may actually be a clue that you’re longing for something not found in a grocery store. Learn what your hunger pangs may be trying to tell you so you can find other ways to satisfy your true cravings –and avoid unnecessary calories.
When you’re jonesing for chocolate, stop and evaluate how your sleep has been lately. When you’re tired, many people crave carbohydrates for a quick energy boost. Simple carbs, such as sugar and white bread, are digested quicker than complex ones such as whole grains and beans, so the energy kicks in sooner.
Unfortunately that sugar “high” doesn’t last long and it leads to an inevitable crash—but few people can fit a nap into their day. As an alternative, go take a walk. In a University of Georgia study, people who worked out at a low-intensity for 20 minutes reported a 65 percent drop in feelings of fatigue.
A handful of nuts a day can be a healthy snack, but it can also hint to an inner frustration and irritation. The act of chewing and cracking the food in your mouth can momentarily release that angst, but the problem is the second that the crunching stops, the frustration will return. So many people go back to eating more and can end up polishing off an entire bag of chips.”
A better way to release that tension is to punch a punching bag or do any kind of exercise, which will release endorphins to boost your mood. Or put in your earbuds: Several studies have shown that relaxing music really does relieve stress.
Dishes such as ice cream, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese are called “comfort foods” for a reason. Craving them possibly points to worrisome thoughts.
Many ‘comfort-foods’are also high-carb, high-fat foods. Carbs boost the ‘feel-good’ hormone serotonin, and when you eat something high in both carbs and fat, it can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure and reward.
While a bowl of butter pecan may make you feel better in the moment usually the worries return once you realize how many calories you consumed, and then guilt sets in. So instead of reaching for these fattening fixes, try a warm bath, a foot massage, or just enveloping yourself in soft, cozy clothing for instant calming.
You may feel discouraged or dissatisfied with your job and reach for these ‘quick fixes’ to perk you up and get you through the day. But anytime the coffee shop or a soda machine calls your name, you’re likely more than just thirsty.
Not drinking enough water leads to a lack of energy. So instead of a latte, you may just need some H2O.
While cravings for pasta, bread, and other carbohydrates can come from a number of physiological reasons, including a high insulin level or low blood sugar. It’s more likely that you’re depriving yourself. Typically, when someone is on a strict eating plan or has declared certain foods ‘off-limits,’ they will want them that much more.”
So remember that all foods—in moderation—fit into a healthy eating plan, and you’ll be less likely to need to overindulge in them to feel like you are letting loose or doing something fun.