When you’re following a weight loss plan, or working to maintain your weight, cravings can be one of your biggest challenges. Most people can’t rely upon willpower forever.
However, in many cases a craving is actually a sign of something other than hunger. When you learn to decode your body’s signals, it can be easier to replace old habits (giving into cravings) with new ones (giving your body what it is actually asking for).
So, next time a craving strikes, analyze the following signs to figure out what’s really going on…
Do you also have a headache? You might actually be dehydrated. When this happens, a headache can be paired with a craving, and you might think you need to eat. If your urine has been scant or dark in color lately, then what your body needs is fluid. Try drinking a large glass of water (or two) and waiting for half an hour, before interpreting these signals as hunger.
Do you feel low on energy? It’s easy to interpret this signal as a need for fuel. But not only does inadequate sleep lead to confusion regarding hunger; it will actually disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite. Now you crave less nutritious foods, like simple carbs, and your metabolism is even slower than usual.
This is why anyone following a weight loss plan should also address their sleep habits. Get your routine in order, and all of your body processes will run more smoothly.
Are you craving sugar or “comfort foods”? This is a common response to stress, because these foods can temporarily boost serotonin. But food can’t actually offer a permanent solution to stress, depression, or anxiety… So within a few hours, you’re right back where you started.
Instead of giving in to cravings, learn to identify emotional triggers and work on ways to either avoid these situations, or deal with them in healthier ways.
Is your mind wandering from one thing, to the next, and now to food? Many of us associate food with happy times and fun, due to how we pair food with entertainment. Just think of all the parties you’ve attended, that centered around food and drink, or pairings like pizza and football or popcorn and movies. See what we mean? In this case you might actually be able to walk away from your “problem”. Instead of giving in to the craving, get up and go outside for a walk. Or, pick up a book, call a friend, or otherwise occupy your mind with healthier options.
Of course, all of these things are easier said than done. If you’re really struggling with cravings with regard to a weight loss plan, give us a call. We can schedule an appointment to discuss your nutrition regimen and other factors that can trigger cravings and impact your results.