A craving is not a weakness. - it is a critical piece of information that tells you what your body needs.
Ever heard that before? It's all over the internet - just google "Deconstructing Cravings" and nearly every article uses that exact phrase. They all have most of the same information, too, and nearly all are missing the essential information that you need (they want you to buy something to get that info). So, I've studied several theories and come up with a plan that works well for me, so I'm sharing it with you!
First, it's important to understand why the craving is there. It's usually an imbalance that your body wants you to correct, so it sends you a message in the form of a craving. Here are some common reasons for the imbalance:
- Diet is too strict or is nutrient-deficient
- Lifestyle is too boring or stressful
The way to cure the craving is to find out what each one means so that you can find the proper balance. A craving for sweets might mean that your diet is lacking protein or water, or you need more exercise. Maybe it means that you're lonely or depressed.
The problem that most people face is that they misunderstand the craving, and they consume processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine or drugs. This confuses the body and causes a more intense imbalance, resulting in a stronger craving while your body is still seeking harmony.
When those health magazines are telling you to take a walk when you have a craving, this is what they're referring to. If you're like me, you would read that and think, "Yeah, like taking a walk is going to satisfy my chocolate craving." But in reality, if your body is craving more exercise then this is exactly what you need to do. However, if it has been over 2 hours since you last finished eating then you may actually be craving some nutrients. Try having some whole food such as fresh fruit or veggies. If that doesn't work, drink a glass of water. If you're still craving a snack, seek out a friend or coworker to see if loneliness is the culprit. If you're still having an unhealthy snack craving, try a healthier version - such as, Fiber One Bars for chocolate cravings or Kashi TLC bars for salt cravings.
It's also good to keep track of these cravings, what time they happen, what day of the week, what you craved, what you tried, what worked and what didn't.
There is one article by Wellness Workers that had a lot of really good information. One of the things that really struck me was "Radical change to daily diet initiates food cravings."
I'd suggest checking out their site here: www.wellnessworkers.org/