Conquering your Cravings

Do you find yourself eating when you’re not actually hungry? When you reach for that block of chocolate, do you really know why?

Sometimes it’s important to pause and ask why. Cravings may be trying to deliver us important messages that need your enquiry.

The most basic reason we consume food is to provide our bodies with energy to fuel all our vital bodily functions that keep us alive. However, these days, the reasons we eat extend far beyond our basic need for survival. We eat and drink when we’re sad, bored, confused, hurt, because it’s 10am which means morning tea time, hanging out with friends, or because that muffin just looks so damn fine in the café cabinet, and the list goes on. The point is that emotions, beliefs, behaviours, expectations, social occasions, savvy marketing strategies and many other influences can rule our patterns of consumption. But through awareness of these reasons, you can bring a greater consciousness to your cravings, providing a solid foundation for conquering them.

Eating for reasons other than to get energy to fuel your body can lead to consumption of foods that may not provide optimum nutrition or nourishment. For example, when emotion strikes and leads you to the pantry or the stash in your bottom draw, a crisp apple is usually just not going to cut the mustard. It’s usually the choccy biscuit or chocolate bar that you feel you need. Therefore, emotional eating most likely results in consumption of poorer quality calories and foods outside of what is truly going to nourish and fuel our beautiful bodies.

Dehydration can lead to cravings. You can try having a glass of water when you experience a craving. However, excess water can also cause cravings so it’s important to find your balance. Imbalance in non-food nourishment may be causing you to crave foods. This includes, physical activity, spirituality, relationships and career; all of which can hugely impact our happiness and vitality if we don’t get what we need.  A lack of nutrients can also cause cravings so it’s important your diet supplies the nutrients your body needs to thrive. Cravings can also come and go with the seasons. Have you noticed in winter you don’t feel like salad? But a warm curry will hit the spot? Connections to familiar foods or foods you have recently eaten can also influence the foods we crave. Obviously, there are so many more reasons for cravings, but these reasons may provide you with a starting point for conquering your cravings.

A way we end up eating when we are not hungry is through the excessive portion sizes the food industry presents us every day. This includes the size of the muffins in today’s café cabinets but also the two for one or three for five dollar deals. Before you know it, the treat you thought you’d give yourself suddenly turned into a lot more than you actually needed or wanted. Creating consciousness and awareness around the portion sizes you consume and noting when you could be eating beyond your hunger will provide a perfect stage for change and the chance for you to re-calibrate your eating habits. There are things you can do to encourage change and re-calibration of your eating habits to conquer portion size dilemmas. One example includes making changes in your kitchen such as investing in a smaller dinner set. Don’t you feel hungry after eating that restaurant meal of what seems like a tiny portion drowning in shiny white plate? You’ll most likely eat less with a smaller dinner plate because of your brain’s perception of a full plate. Try it out! Check out the example below of how the same half a cup of muesli compares in two different bowls.

What is at the root of your cravings? When you experience a craving, be curious and investigate what your body is actually wanting and why. Consider if you are eating when you are not hungry and why you are doing this. There may be great reasoning for it, or it may be something you’d like to change. Your enquiry may lead you to make different choices and experience a different quality of health. All this said, there is an element of nourishing your soul occasionally which may include a few treats here and there. But it’s your balance to find. Happy exploring!

Wishing you a happy and healthy November.


Kim Brown