We all have moments when all we can think about is a piece of chocolate cake or a bag of chips. And in fact, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally giving in to temptation. If you’re regularly getting food cravings though, it’s worth trying to figure out what’s going on. There are several possibilities:
Your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs
If you aren’t eating healthy meals that give your body all the nutrients it needs, it’s probably low on fuel. The brain can then interpret that as a need for your junk food of choice.
Fast food is a habit
If you’ve been eating badly for years, it may simply be a habit that you start thinking about junk food the moment you’re hungry.
You actually need something else
When you’re really tired, what you need is sleep, and if you’ve been working hard for a while, you probably need time out to play. Instead, it often seems easier to grab something to eat.
You don’t want to deal with your feelings
If something big is going on and you’re not sure how to deal with it, eating whatever you’re craving can seem like a good way to soothe your emotions.
The bottom line: When you know you need something, but don’t take the time to think about what that might be, the easy option is to grab whatever food pops into your mind, which may well be junk food. After all, that’s the whole point of advertising campaigns.
How to counteract cravings
Try these ideas:
- Have healthy food on hand, so it’s quicker and easier to grab some of that than to go out and buy something else
- Prepare yourself regular meals that include all the major food groups (note: sugar is not a food group!)
- If you are going to eat junk food, have some veggies with it
- Aim for balance in your life by scheduling time for work, exercise, rest and play
- Surround yourself with supportive people with whom you feel safe to talk things through
The upside of cravings
The body is an amazing thing, and if you’re taking care of the other aspects above, it can actually start giving you useful information. Got a craving for salad, a steak or veggies? These are healthy signs that your body needs specific nutrients, in which case, go ahead – it’s only going to do you good.