Cravings and the Blame Game - Part 3: Five Ways to Gain Control of Your Food Cravings
SO NOW WHAT?
As you’ve learned through Part 1 and Part 2, the food choices we make are complex and a result of factors within and out of our control. From the diet your mom ate in the womb, to a genetic predisposition to see certain foods as bitter, to constant marketing triggering you to salivate and your pancreas to produce insulin – your cravings are justified and normal.
However, we don’t always want to be at the mercy of our cravings. Here are my favorite ways to gain control over my eating during the day by dialing into mindful practices and showing myself grace. With the knowledge you’ve learned through this series I hope you give these practices a try and take note on how you feel and your thinking around food shifts.
1.Practice Distraction Free Eating
I say practice, because the art of mindful eating is truly a practice in our distraction filled modern world. Put down the cellphone, turn off the tv, and close the laptop to just focus on the sensations of eating. What does your food taste like? Allow the flavors to fill your mouth and pay attention to each bite. Listen to when your body gives you the nudge that it is filling up and see if you leave the table feeling a greater sense of satiation.
2.Have Fun with Flavors and Textures
The more textures a meal possesses, the greater degree of satiation.(5) Cooking is an art and a form of expression. What new flavor combinations can you come up with? Instead of reaching for the same box of mac and cheese, maybe try to create your own playing with the ingredients to add more dimension to your meal to please the palate.
3.Fill up on the Trifecta
Foods filled with fat, fiber, and protein are more satiating than foods filled with sugar and salt.(2) Trail mix, turkey avocado roll ups, almond butter and apple slices are all delicious snacks that keep your belly happy and in the best state to make sound decisions on what foods you choose to eat.
4. Find the Appropriate Action for Dissatisfaction
We don’t always eat just to eat. Sometimes we eat because we are sad, sometimes when we’re bored. Look for another activity in these moments such as going for a walk, journaling, talking to a loved one, taking time to be creative, or drinking a soothing mug of tea. Sometimes all it takes is removing yourself from the situation to gain greater perspective and realize that grabbing that handful of chips was more about your stress over an upcoming project than a feeling of true hunger.
5. Believe in Your Body’s Innate Ability to be Your Guide
If you eat the pizza slice or the cake or the whatever it is you craved and ate, you have not failed. Life is meant to be filled with pleasure and enjoyment and if that food brings you nourishment on either a physical or emotional level then it serves a purpose in a balanced diet. When we cut through the noise and discover the root of why we are drawn to the foods we are eating, we can begin to hear our body’s gentle nudges to the foods it needs to survive. Trust your body, trust that you can eat and love a cupcake one day and a kale salad the next.
That about wraps it up, y’all! I hope you enjoyed learning more about the psychology behind why we feel hunger, satiation, and thirst. Leave a comment below and share your experience with identifying food cravings and if any of this research left you with an “aha” moment!
Note: These recommendations are not meant to serve as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your diet or health status please consult a licensed medical provider.
1. Hunger | Definition of Hunger by Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hunger. Accessed October 30, 2018.
2. Logue A. The Psychology of Eating and Drinking. Fourth. New York, NY: Routledge; 2015.
3. The Science of Appetite - The Science of Appetite - TIME. http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1626795_1627112_1626670,00.html. Accessed October 29, 2018.
4. Satiety | Definition of Satiety by Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/satiety. Accessed October 30, 2018.
5. White, W. Psychology of Eating: Taste and Smell. Presented at the: October 2, 2018; National University of Natural Medicine.
6. Gut–brain nutrient signaling. Appetition vs. satiation - ScienceDirect. https://www-sciencedirect-com.nunm.idm.oclc.org/science/article/pii/S0195666312001936. Accessed October 30, 2018.
7. Broussard JL, Kilkus JM, Delebecque F, et al. Elevated ghrelin predicts food intake during experimental sleep restriction: Sleep Restriction, Ghrelin, and Food Intake. Obesity. 2016;24(1):132-138. doi:10.1002/oby.21321
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9. Beckman M. Are you a superstar? Just stick out your tongue and say “yuck.” Scientific American. Accessed October 29, 2018.