By Holly Zoccolan
You do not have food cravings because you are “bad” or missing some gene for willpower or discipline. Cravings are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.
If we learn to listen and understand our cravings, we are then able to act on the feeling and therefore lead ourselves to a happier, less stressful and more mindful life. We are not immune to cravings. In fact, they are around us all day every day.
The donut in the café at 9 am, the pizza in the restaurant we walk by at lunch. We are always being shown foods which trigger cravings and are left constantly fighting the temptation to avoid giving into them. When we do, we can plunge into a world of guilt and it’s common for us to think ‘well I had the donut, so I may as well just eat the whole pizza now.’
This leads us to feel weak and unworthy and is a downward spiral which can lead to self-loathing. I’m here to tell you that you are not weak or unworthy. These cravings are caused by something underlying within us; the body’s way of telling us that something is missing. Once you start to realize this and act on the underlying issue then these cravings will fade away and our bodies will be brought back into balance.
The next time you have a sudden urge to eat something, pause, take a minute and try to figure out exactly what and why you are craving this particular food in this exact moment.
Why Do I Feel These Cravings?
There are several reasons why we experience sudden urges to eat specific foods and why these cravings seem to appear from nowhere. In general, these cravings are due to:
For our bodies to function at their best we need to ensure we are giving it all the essential nutrients that it needs. If our body isn’t getting enough of these nutrients, then it will let us know by sending messages and signals to our brains in the form of cravings. In general, inadequate nutrient content leads to sugar and caffeine cravings, and insufficient mineral levels produces salt cravings.
We know that we are meant to be drinking two liters of water a day, yet we tend to let this slide and it doesn’t stay a priority as we go about our day-to-day lives. However, ensuring you are drinking enough water is essential for your overall wellbeing and reducing cravings.
Our bodies are made up of around 70% water so when we aren’t drinking enough water it makes our body believe we are dehydrating. Dehydration manifests itself as hunger so gives a signal to our brains that we are hungry and triggers the cravings. Next time you feel a craving drink a large glass of water and notice if you feel any different.
It is most common for cravings to appear due to an underlying emotional problem which isn’t being addressed. Emotional Eating is used as a way of dealing with certain emotions, rather than allowing oneself to feel those emotions.
At the core of every emotional eating trigger is a feeling. These vary between boredom, stress, exhaustion, anger, sadness or loneliness. We associate these types of feelings as being negative and although we would prefer not to have to deal with them, they’re important. They are your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite as it should be. If we learn to listen and understand these cravings, we are then able to act on the feeling and in turn, lead ourselves towards a more mindful life.
It’s important to look at all aspects of your life and be aware that often, it isn’t the food that we desire, it is an emotional form of nourishment such as love, friendship, fulfilling career or hobby, self-love or inspiration. Upon reflection, you may be surprised it isn’t the food talking but your emotions.
Holly Zoccolan is a nutritional health coach and herbalist, specializing in skin health, weight loss, energy and hormonal imbalances. Holly helps people achieve optimum health and reach their goals to live a happier and more fulfilled life.