Also known as selective hunger or free-time hunger, a food craving refers to the sudden psychological temptation that tells us of our love for a specific food. It is at its strongest phase when we are low on energy, have enough time to spare, is bored, or when we are stressed.
This surge of food-centric emotions often manifests itself in different ways because it is way different from a specific hunger for a particular food at a particular time.
One may even have enough desire or temptation to eat a chocolate or a pastry even when one is not hungry, but one’s love for the two indulgent delicacies may lead to the stop named ‘food craving.’ Tempting as it may be, it can quickly derail your efforts to get a fitter and leaner body in a unit time and can even affect your fitness badly.
A food craving is our instinct to eat a certain type of food or to have a certain type of drink at unusual times. One usually picks up cakes, pastries, patties, deep-fried foods, junk foods, packaged chips, and chocolates in the list and then tops them faithfully with soda or aerated drinks. The worst thing is that it is difficult to hold oneself back during the process.
Here’s what you can do instead: you can try these healthy foods and eat them as snacks!
These foods do seem to pump up our excitement momentarily but they do not come without health risks. These packaged junk foods contain unprocessed salts and sugars that may wreak havoc on our digestive system. Aerated cola drinks can simply flush out all the calcium from our bodies and eating too many sweets or chocolates can ruin our dental health, and may even make us diabetic.
It’s a difficult question to answer. However, a part of the answer finds itself rooted in our physical hormones. One should reasonably expect that low serotonin levels do trigger certain parts of our brain that are responsible for hunger. You can also use these tips to set your diet right.
These hormones may also tell our body that we are running low on fats and carbs (alternative sources of energy), and we need to make a quick call on what we are supposed to be eating next to mitigate the difference. The later we decide on it, the worse it becomes.
It becomes a natural response for us to go for foods that have higher levels of sugar. It is so because the foods and beverages rich in sugar and/or unprocessed salts like deep-fried chips, cola drinks, chocolates, and sweets offer us an easy way out to compensate for the falling (or apparently falling) levels of sugar in our bodies. This practice is worse when we are under stress and are in depression.
Since they are different from our usual diet and taste very tangy, we fall for them every single time. The worse happens when these foods and beverages trigger a chain reaction in a circular manner. It is usually very tempting to have just a few potato chips, a sip of cola, and a slice of pizza but we don’t stop at one. This often leads to being indulgent and lowers our fitness levels.
The person eating some chocolate or a sweet would not stop at eating one piece alone, nor would a person drinking a cola drink would stop at first serving. When we take the first serving of these indulgent eating or drinking options, their constituent materials start interacting with a certain part of our brain (called the opioid receptor system) to bring on an addictive effect.
This is similar to filling the air in a bicycle with a manual air pump. When someone fills the air for the first time, he also regularly checks if the tire is good enough before pumping air in it again. When we eat a sweet or chocolate, we also feel hungry for more. The more we eat, the more we feel like having all of it. This makes us indulgent.
As mentioned above, we crave more for only certain types of foods and beverages because of their unique composition. They do contain some ingredients that we perhaps cannot say no to and we often start rolling with them once we have had the first serving.
Yes, being a chocoholic is never easy!
Chocolate is that one high-energy food that is available across the world in several different forms and tastes. Mostly preferred by women, it marks itself as the number one craved food in the world and is preferred by menstruating women at different times of the day.
Eating one small piece of chocolate after each of the three meals every day keeps us focused, happier, and more energetic. Chocoholics disregard this advice because they find themselves more at ease with eating one piece now and then, and this often seems like a natural way out for most of us.
In case you too are one of them, you may treat your chocolate cravings by smelling fresh flowers of jasmine for a few minutes. It would help!
Pregnancy is an important phase in a woman’s life. It is the time when she is busy spinning dreams for her child and is focused on experiencing his/her touch on her lap. It is indeed a wonderful feeling and we can only have a lot of respect for it.
But there is a craving for sour foods during this period and it is usually irresistible. It is highest in the first few weeks of the period and the third week is usually hard. Women do crave sour foods during their pregnancy, even during seemingly impossible times to begin with. It may be due to reasons like a loss of nutrients early morning or physical changes.
Also read: Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
The temptation to eat sour foods during pregnancy can accentuate during social functions and get-togethers. These are the times when a woman finds herself among her relatives and friends, thus pumping the “happy hormone” again. Who knows if this isn’t a cause to indulge all over again?
There could be a psychological reason too. Women may get more mood swings and thus they may crave these foods to subconsciously tell others that they are pregnant. They would also expect more assistance and attention during the change.
The desire to eat anything can trigger anywhere, anytime, and play on your vulnerabilities, and sometimes the impulse to have a particular food item is so compelling that you just can’t say no to it. Once you munch the things you were craving for, you feel guilty and sad. This is a never-ending circle which leads to a delay in weight loss desires.
So, the next time you have a temptation to have something just before lunch or after dinner, we recommend you follow these simple tips to stay strong:
Consuming a hot beverage is a great and low-calorie option to handle sweet cravings. A tasteful cup of coffee will not only relax you but will also fill you up with liquids. You can simply go for those flavored options which are low in calories like peach, apple, cinnamon, or berry for your sweet fix. Topping your favorite cup of coffee with a little sweetened milk is also a great way to handle midday hunger cues.
Sometimes you just have to eat it and get indulged to handle the temptation to eat. Go for it but be smart and choose an item that does not exceed more than 200 calories. The best option to handle sweet cravings includes a protein-packed nut bar, Greek yogurt with berries, or a cappuccino. For salty options, you may choose from mixed nuts, cottage cheese, or sesame crackers.
If you want to eat something salty, maybe you should just have a pickle. Yes, we know that this food item is high in sodium but it is also really low in calories. One or two spears will do the trick without adding to your waistline. Just remember to gulp down some water to flush out that piece of sodium later!
Halt before you engage yourself in mindless noshing. If you already had something high in calories and want to grab the next thing, don’t forget to ask yourself if you are really hungry. It’s time to say no to mindless munching which is more or less out of boredom, tiredness, or loneliness. Try to identify if you are actually hungry or you just want to speak to a friend or take a nap.
Your pantry will be the best place to stick to the list of things you have to do. This will help in diverging your interest and reducing the chances of mindless eating and will also handle unhealthy eating habits. All temptations are beatable and so is it.
Yes, it is all possible. You can power on the show with a lot more discipline than you have shown so far. Temptations lead to food cravings, and whether you are (or could be) pregnant or not, you can always take a step upwards to stop being indulgent or an emotional eater.
You will surely have to make few changes in your diet until you can find a satiating, sustainable set of patterns that works best. Just in case you slip or overindulge, don’t worry but think about what you can do next to not repeat the mistake. Don’t let the guilt or temptation overpower you, but rather use it as a motivator to make better choices in the future!
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