Photo: pumpkin pies
How do you deal with 'cravings'? Sometimes I crave sugar, other times bread, and sometimes just any food. Any ideas? (Irene.Serrat)
There’s something about the idea of ‘forbidden’ or ‘can’t have any’ that only exaggerates our desire for the exact thing we are not supposed to have! Let me also introduce you to a very scientific term I use all the time:
Crappy Carbs: incorporates pastry, white bread, sugary rubbish and anything else that tantalises the tastebuds. This is the stuff I crave – toast, plain biscuits, buns, pies, anything with pastry – pizza, for example. And chocolate goes without saying really. Oh and chips. Hot chips. With vinegar.
I crave crappy carbs at certain times:
- When I’m pre-menstrual
- When I’m tired
- If I haven’t eaten enough protein
- If I didn’t eat enough breakfast
Usually cravings are telling me something about myself other than just the immediate “I want crappy carbs now” message. So when I find myself craving crappy carbs I mentally run through my checklist: Am I premenstrual? Am I tired and looking for a quick-fix energy boost? Have I eaten enough protein/breakfast?
That’s not to say I never give in to the cravings. I do. I’m only human. But I like being aware of my emotions and cravings and why they may be happening. This awareness brings a sense of mindfulness to my actions so that if I choose to indulge – whether that’s:
- a lot
- a bit, or
- not at all
then it is my choice to do so, and not a mindless reaction of stuffing crappy carbs into my face without knowing why.
Ultimately it’s about me being in control of me. The idea is to be aware of my eating habits, to know my own responses to food, and eat when I’m hungry, stop when comfortably full, and eat food that is both pleasing and nourishing.
Tips about cravings:
- Eating crappy carbs stimulates more and more cravings for the same
- Cravings pass usually in about 10 minutes
- Cravings are normal
- Allowing unfinished platters of food to sit on the table while table-talk continues only extends the likelihood of overeating because the food is there looking at me
I have a loose plan to deal with my own cravings. If I am premenstrual, I will allow limited indulgences to cravings. If I am tired I will eat more often, but try to choose healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, vegetable sticks and cheese. If cravings seem untimely, I will review my protein intake. If staring at food on the table that is calling to me, either move the food or move away from the table.
So what do you crave and how do you manage the cravings? Are you satisfied with your current cravings-management-plan? Anyone?