When you’re following a weight loss plan, cravings for less healthful foods can serve as one of your most annoying obstacles. But do cravings simply mean you’re hungry and need more calories? Or could they signal a need for specific nutrients, or perhaps something else you could adjust with regard to your routine?
Actually, yes. In many cases a craving is a sign of something more than simple hunger (or really enjoying a certain food). Learn what the most common cravings truly mean, and you can solve them by addressing your body’s needs.
Ice cream. High-fat dairy products contain tryptophan, which can help you feel calm, happy, and sleepy. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, and consider a power nap early in the afternoon if needed.
Potato chips. Your body is probably lacking sodium, but that doesn’t mean you should snack on chips. Healthier sources include leafy greens and beets.
Baked goods and sweets. Consuming sugar triggers a dopamine release, which combats anxiety and stress. But of course, the benefits don’t last long and then you’re right back where you started. Avoid the cycle of consuming artificially sweet foods, and work to combat your stress with strategies like exercise, yoga, a hot bath, sunlight exposure, or breathing exercises. When you do indulge in a sweet treat, opt for naturally sweet foods like fruit.
Peanut butter. You’re likely just craving healthy fats, which are good for the brain and nervous system. But you do want to be mindful of your serving sizes, since fatty foods do pack more calories. Opt for a serving of fish like salmon, or half of an avocado.
Spicy food. Perhaps you’re simply craving variety in your diet. Luckily, spices won’t interfere with a weight loss plan, so have fun experimenting with exotic recipes!
Anything and everything. If you find yourself craving random foods when you’re not really hungry, thirst might actually be the problem. For some reason, our brains often confuse hunger and thirst signals. So start off with a full glass of refreshing water, wait about twenty minutes, and then see how you feel.
If you have any other questions about managing your weight loss diet, give us a call. We can help you troubleshoot obstacles and find healthy ways to overcome them.