Decoding Cravings: What Your Body Is Trying to Tell You
You’re going about your day when suddenly, you’re hit with an intense urge for a big bag of salty, crunchy chips or you might not make it through the rest of your day. Sound familiar? Almost everyone has experienced this exact scenario. Whether it’s pizza or chocolate, cravings are extremely common and impact nearly everyone.
“We’re not robots, and our cravings may symbolize real emotional, physical and nutritional voids that have to be fulfilled,” says Taylor Rickrode, MS, RDN. “So, the question is, what are our real needs and what is a healthy way to respond to them?”
There are several strategies you can take to reduce unwanted food cravings, including decreasing stress, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and eating enough protein. If you are craving something even though you just ate, you may just need water. Sometimes dehydration masks as hunger, so try drinking 1-2 cups and wait an hour to see if you’re still hungry.
Cravings can also be triggered by long-term habits, such as stopping by a bagel shop every morning before work. Creating new habits like calling a friend during your morning commute can help break this pattern by distracting you from giving into the craving.
Our emotions also play a role in cravings. Many people find themselves yearning for high calorie comfort foods after a difficult day. In these situations, Rickrode encourages her patients to walk and talk it out by “confiding to a trusted friend or family member while walking to work out the adrenaline and stress that can accumulate during a long day,” said Rickrode.
If the craving still doesn’t pass after several attempts to ignore it, your body could be telling you that it’s lacking a specific nutrient. It’s quite common for cravings to manifest as unhealthy processed foods high in sugar and fat, making it difficult to maintain nutritional goals. Before you reach for those French fries or candy bar, consider the healthier alternatives to common cravings below and what your body might be trying to tell you.
To learn more about what the Wellness Center can offer you, call (714) 578-8770.
Join Us for a Free Webinar
EXPLORE MINDFUL EATING ON A DEEPER LEVEL.
Wednesday, March 9, 6 – 7 p.m.
Join registered Dietitian Taylor Rickrode, MS, who specializes in mindful eating, hormone and gut health for a free webinar through Providence St. Jude’s Wellness Center. She will share healthy eating habits and provide helpful tips and tricks to curb cravings and keep your nutrition goals on track. To register for this online class, please call 844-925-0944 or click here.