I have been asked about craving a lot this week. And if my clients are asking about one thing consistently, there must be many people out there struggling with the same issues! So here is some help for all of you who get cravings.
WHY DO WE GET CRAVINGS?
Your body is a biocomputer. Your lungs breath without you thinking about it. You get a signal when you are thirsty. You maintain a temperature of 98.6 F (seriously impressive how precise you keep that, Body). You sleep when you are tired. Your body knows when it need something - and cravings are no different. Craving are a sign we NEED something.
Let’s look at some underlying causes of cravings and what to do about them :
1) Lack of hydration - When our body is super dehydrated it can manifest as feeling like hunger. Be sure your water intake is consistent during the day.
Solution: Drink a big glass of water when you start to feel a craving.
2) Lack of nutrients - If the body has a lack of nutrients, it will produce cravings. Craving salty things? There is probably a mineral imbalance in your system. Craving caffeine? Your body probably needs energy due to an overall nutrient deficiency.
Solution: When you get a craving, first eat some nutrient dense food. Try some carrots dipped in guacamole or baked beet chips dipped in humous. After you fill up with some healthy nutrients, see if the craving is gone.
3) Lack of primary food - This is often the #1 reason people have cravings.
First, what is primary food? At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my health coaching certification, we were taught the difference between primary and secondary food. Secondary food is what you put on your plate (the broccoli, chicken, and rice). Primary food is what nourishes us in our life. This is our relationships, career, social life, physical activity, and self care. You can eat the healthiest diet, but if you are lacking in primary food, you wont feel nourished.
In respect to cravings, if you are craving treats late at night after a long day at work, your body is mostly likely feeling a need for rest and relaxation. So you reach for a treat because ‘you deserve it’ to help you relax. Give your body the rest and relaxation response in another way. For example, brew a cup of calming herbal tea and do 5-10 minutes of deep breathing exercises. After the sips and breaths, your body will feel what it needs without the treats.
Solution: Check in with yourself. Take 5 deep breath and check in with what you really need. Is it a chat with a friend? A hug from your significant other?
Your body is so smart. I knows when something is off balance and needs to be corrected. Your body has cravings when it feels like it is lacking something. So next time you get a craving, try one of these proven options for moving past the craving in a healthy way.
Let me know how it goes for you! When do you get the most cravings?