Cravings… Where to begin, I feel that we must normalize having cravings and even be happy that we have them, many times I read articles where they dedicate entire pages making cravings appear as an enemy, and the truth is that I do not see it that way. Making the focus on how to combat them. We are not robots and food should not make it seem like we should be eating the same food every day. Life is magical and life is all about enjoying the little things, and food is a part of our social life, it transports us, evokes memories and emotions, right at this very moment, I am dreaming of being in Italy with a fabulous plate of pasta and a glass of wine (sidenote if you know me you know that I am not a huge fan of pasta so this craving is a unique one for sure, but food does wonders for everyone) or a hot coffee with cinnamon just like my mom makes. The problem that we have is that we worry about putting labels and blame things, cravings are normal.
Ok, I must clarify that everything you will read in this blog is based on my experience, but there are various documents that I have read articled, studies, explanations, theories, and watched videos on this subject. I prefer to speak from my experience and leave the professional issues to them, to suited professionals. We will be having a professional as a guest speaker that will do a deeper dive during Wellness Week! (Stay tuned for this).
Let’s get to it….
Over the years I have thought a lot about this topic (since it is undoubtedly one of the ones that generate the greatest interest) and I have met people who train hardcore and in a certain way take care of their diet but who do not see the results they seek, what is this about? To an infinity of possibilities, no doubt, but some of the ones that I have found more common are the following:
WHAT YOU RESIST, PERSISTS:
The golden phrase to save, why do you have so many cravings? The question could be, how restrictive are you being with your diet? As a general rule we always want what we do not have, if you follow a KETO diet you will start to miss carbohydrates and will experience days like this, but if you go to a low-fat diet, you will dream of avocados, chocolates, and nuts. If you never you allow yourself a bar of chocolate when you see a bag of chocolates you will not take one, you will finish the entire bag, but if you had a bag of chocolates that you know you can eat at any time, those cravings suddenly disappear, you no longer feel the need to finish them because you know that at the moment when that you want you can take one. Hence those famous images where a super strict diet is followed from Monday to Thursday and from Friday to Sunday the control is suddenly lost.
I feel like the first thing we should check with cravings is what's behind them, the why. It is one thing to have cravings, and another thing is to put it in automatic mode and eat, disconnecting mind and body, what I call emotional cravings, eating our feelings, or trying to cover them with food. I know that many people "clean" their junk food pantries and this is fine, but if the only reason why you do not consume these products is that you literally do not allow the slightest temptation in your house, then things change, that lion that is locked up, at some point will want to come out and will literally be eager to devour what it finds.
NURTURE YOUR BODY:
It is not about (like another image I saw on social networks) if you have a sweet craving, (eat X or Y sweet), if you have a salt craving (eat X or Y) it does not work like that ... I do not know about you but a sweet craving will simply not go away if I eat a pound of lettuce or 10 walnuts, I will probably eat the 10 walnuts and then later 5 bags of chocolate later. So, the point is ... what's behind those cravings? For example, the days when I am very busy and I eat really little I feel that the afternoon comes and I want to devour a cake, on the contrary, the days when I eat in a healthy way, which actually nourishes my body, eating all the food groups in healthy balanced proportions for my body, those days I really have no cravings. So, nurturing our bodies and giving them the necessary food DOES help us fight those emotional cravings.
SUGAR IS ADDICTIVE:
Once we identify the difference between cravings and "emotional" cravings, a fact that has been talked about a lot is sugar addiction. I am just going to base it on my own experience. If sugar is addictive, the more sugar we consume, the more addicted we become, so in my experience, this consumption should be quite limited (I don't like to talk about cutting permanently something out of my diet) because (what resists, persists), but it definitely helps a lot to limit it. And with limiting sugar you should not say goodbye to countless preparations, there are substitutes that are really healthy and in which you are able to prepare your favorite recipes. It is also good to start recovering the flavors in certain foods that were lost, for example, I before I drank coffee with stevia and almond milk, and now, I really enjoy drinking my coffee without any milk, sugar, stevia, or anything like it. I think of it that I was able to find the true taste of coffee or that I just turned out to be more and more Colombian :)
ZERO CALORIES SWEETENERS:
If you decided to limit the consumption of sugar and avoid the addiction that it generates, and you think that the perfect solution is to go to the small yellow envelopes of sweeteners without calories, it may be one of your biggest sabotages, being chemical and NOT natural, studies have shown them to be addictive in the same way as sugar, and the cravings could be more recurrent and in the long run be consuming a greater number of calories.
But so far ... all we have covered have been the sweet craving... but what about salty cravings? And who told you that eating healthy meant that you have to sacrifice a slice of pizza or a hamburger? Being creative in the kitchen will help you to really find a balance in your life, it is fine from time to time to eat pizza from your favorite place, and the rest of the time you can prepare your own pizza with fresh and natural ingredients. If you think that your diet should be chicken breast and broccoli every day, obviously pizza cravings will be present on a daily basis.
How am I able to achieve my physical goals, see results with my training, and control cravings at the same time?
With patience and love, it sounds cliché, but it is that sometimes we are our worst enablers. YOU CAN achieve that balance, you can feel happy and comfortable with your own body and at the same time not live in a bad mood due to lack of food, you can eat 1 or 2 chocolates and not the whole bag. You can achieve a lifestyle and finish diets every Monday! If you feel that you train in the correct way that you take care of your diet but "that you can't control cravings" it is time for you to train and take care of your thoughts and emotions, because although it is not a muscle that you will see marked, it is the foundation stone for your success.
If you want to know much more about this, do not miss our Wellness Week where we will be doing a challenge together and solving many doubts that you will surely have now.
For more information connect with us at @2fitbrands 🌱