Why do these cravings happen?
If your blood glucose level dips, there’s two ways your body will try to increase it. You could start craving various foods especially sugary foods, or your stress hormones can increase, causing your cortisol and adrenalin to drop. In order to increase cortisol and adrenalin you tend to consume a stimulant such as tea, coffee, chocolate or cigarettes. This causes you to react stressfully. Due to the excessive sugar, stress and stimulants you lose your blood sugar control and wake up in a morning with low blood sugar levels and not enough adrenalin to kick start your day. And so the cycle continues…
However cravings often occur due to force of habit e.g. at a certain time of day we say “we must eat something now look at the time” even though we are not hungry.
Other times we eat for the wrong reasons e.g. everyone is eating so I need to eat something as well so I don’t seem rude.
We often make excuses or try to come up with a reason as to why we “deserve” to eat this certain food item e.g. I exercised today therefore I deserve to eat a little extra today or we try to respond to an emotional need by filling it with a physical food item.
Why is it dangerous to give in to every food craving we have?
By giving in to cravings we often end up overeating and feeling guilty. The more often we give into cravings, the greater the likelihood of us gaining weight. The extra weight puts the body under strain and can lead to diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The extra weight causes you to feel tired and unmotivated to exercise due to joint and muscle pain. This can lead to a drop in confidence as you no longer feel confident in your own skin. Sometimes in order to lose the extra weight, the person may start eating very restrictively or resort to diet pills. However the deprivation felt from cutting out so many foods can result in binge eating and so the cycle may continue. An unhealthy relationship with food is dangerous. It can affect not only you, but your family and friends as you turn to food as a remedy and not as a fuel.
How can I manage my cravings?
It is important to first establish the nature of these cravings. Ask yourself:
- When do these cravings happen? E.g. are they happening when I am home alone? When I’m doing a certain activity e.g. watching TV? When I have nothing to do?
- How am I feeling when I get these cravings? Bored? Sad? Angry? Confused?
- What foods am I craving?
- Why am I craving this food? Is this a food that I associate a positive memory or event with? Is it a food that was previously forbidden as a child or a food that was considered a treat?
- Where am I when these cravings happen? Are you at home in your bedroom or kitchen? Are you hiding and giving in to your craving?
By answering these questions, you get a greater sense of what your craving is really about. Is it a physical drop in your blood glucose level that’s causing it, or is it an underlying emotional need that you are trying to meet with food. Leave a comment below if you have any questions on cravings or would like some assistance dealing with a food craving