how to change food cravings?
Fighting food cravings can seem an impossible task sometimes, in this article Simon Brown discusses why we get these cravings and how best to combat them. We might experience very strong urges for some of our old favourites when changing to a more healthy diet of natural foods.
To a greater or lesser extent we all have addictive personalities, and it is easy to find ourselves enslaved to needing certain foods or following particular habits. Learning simple methods for fighting food cravings gives us greater freedom and choice.
There tend to be 3 types of cravings. Those that come about from a nutritional need, habits, and emotional associations built up with certain foods.
are my food cravings due to nutritional deficiencies?
Some cravings can come about from an imbalance in our diet. Our body has an amazing capacity to guide us to the foods we most need. It is partly through this mechanism that we can intuitively know what to eat. We have stored information on all the meals we have eaten and can subconsciously correlate the smells, tastes and textures this with the way we feel after eating.
All of us will get messages in the form of food cravings to address deficiencies. These kinds of food cravings are important and help us work out what we might be missing and what to eat more of. Often we can find healthy alternatives. A good starting point is to eat in a way that we are most likely to get all the nutrition we need. For example we could try a macrobiotic diet.
does salt create food cravings for sweets?
If our diet becomes too sodium rich we will get cravings for more liquids, fruits and deserts as our body tries to maintain its proper balance of sodium, potassium and hydration. If we are trying to loose weight or maintain stable blood sugar levels by avoiding foods with a high sugar content, it is important to keep sodium rich foods to a minimum. This reduces cravings for sugar.
why do I have such strong food cravings for sugar?
Eating carbohydrate rich foods that are high in the GI will lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. This sugar rush often leads to an over secretion of insulin, resulting in a blood sugar low. At this point our body will give us cravings for sugary foods, to bring our blood sugar back up again. Eating foods that are low in the GI will help reduce these cravings.
When we crave a food we no longer want to eat we can find another food with similar nutritional qualities. For example we could substitute tea for coffee, fruit for sweets, tahini for butter, whole grains instead of processed grains, roasted nuts for chocolate, fish for meat or fried tofu for cheese. Each of these can satisfy our cravings on a nutritional level.
We are less likely to get physical cravings if we eat a wide variety of foods prepared using a range of cooking styles. Most food cravings come from eating a too narrow restrictive diet. A restrictive diet risks deficiencies and being less satisfying.
- Changing habits is a powerful way to create new healthy routines in a day. Habits could support healthy living, such as a morning meditation, or get in the way of making healthy changes, such as the office coffee and biscuit break.
- It generally takes 30 days to create a new habit. So if you are to support your health with a morning tea, make sure you implement your new habit for at least 30 days or one lunar cycle.
- You may find it is easier and more effective to change one habit at a time.
- Write down the change you are going to make and why. Keep it somewhere you can read it.
- Create a film in your head of you enjoying the new habit and be able to make the change. Keep playing the film in your head, especially as you go to sleep. For example it could be saying “No thank you,” to chocolate and enjoying an apple instead.
- Develop a method to reset your mind when you have strong urges to follow old patterns. This could be a very short meditation. Just consciously feel several breaths.
- Create a feedback system so that you know for yourself the benefits you experience through changing a habit. So if you replace coffee with tea, be aware of how this effects your sleep, thinking and emotions over time.
- Experiment with simple methods to strengthen your intention like EFT.
emotional food cravings
Emotional cravings come from eating certain foods and experiencing certain emotions with them over a long term. For example if you were given ice cream as a reward or treat you might find you can relive those happy emotions by eating ice cream. This becomes self-perpetuating as every time after you eat ice cream you will re-live those feelings increasing the strength of the association.
The easiest way to combat this is to make sure that whenever you eat your new healthy foods you create a happy environment. Put on your favourite music, watch a DVD that makes you laugh, eat with people who help you feel good, place fresh flowers on the table, do whatever it takes to really feel good whilst you are eating your new healthy foods.
As time goes by you will slowly create new positive associations with your new foods. This will lead to point where the thought of a tea, juice, soup, salads, nuts or fruit dish is enough to give you an emotional lift.
If you would like to change your eating patterns consider an online or in person session with Simon who will help you create a new balanced, natural, healthy diet and reduce cravings using EFT, meditation, positive imagery, creating new associations and greater self awareness.
freedom from food cravings
For expert help on changing food cravings and enjoying more healthy food call Simon on 07543663227 or email. You can arrange session in London or by Skype or FaceTime. The fee is £60 per hour.