Are Cravings Making you Crazy

Diet Woman Kicking Donut Snacks on White

Cravings making you CRAZY?

So it’s the New Year and you are already struggling to maintain your resolution of avoiding “bad” foods, but the cravings are driving you crazy! Here are common causes of cravings and what you can do about them.  You’ll see that it isn’t just your will-power that causes you to munch.

  1. Hydration: When your body feels it could be on the verge of dehydration, it sends out signals to restore water balance, this could be in the form of thirst or hunger.  You get water from the food you eat, so your body could be crying out for water.
    • Solution: When a craving comes on, drink a big glass of water!
  2. Hormone Imbalance: Fluctuating hormones due to a menstrual cycle or a hormone imbalance such as an adrenal dysfunction can cause unique cravings.  Hormones are communication messengers that control many things, including the balance of blood sugar.  When there is a disruption, signals can get crossed.
  3. Lack of Nutrients: Our bodies are designed with controls that regulate a homeostatic condition (balance), when we are lacking a certain nutrient, our body signals us to eat foods containing that nutrient.  For example, a salty food craving may indicate inadequate mineral levels.
    • Solution: Make sure your diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, many found in leafy greens and vegetables.  If you aren’t sure you’re getting enough, try a multi-vitamin & mineral supplement or add a powder greens supplement to your protein or meal replacement shakes.
  4. Improper Sleep: While we sleep our hormones are at work restoring us for the day, two hormones in particular work together to manage our hunger and satiety cycles: Leptin and Ghrelin.  Leptin says you are full and Ghrelin says go eat (think of a hungry gremlin!).  When we do not sleep well or get around 7 hours of sleep, Ghrelin production increases causing us to want to hit the cupboard.
    • Solution: Make sure you are getting 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol if you are having sleep issues.
  5. Emotional Imbalance or Excess Stress: This is a no brainer, when we don’t feel our best, we tend to go for the junk food.  This could be an attempt for energy or in some cases a situation of self-sabotage.
    • Solution: Meditation is a great method for reducing stress and anxiety (both can lead to depression).  Also have an accountability partner or a health coach to help you through those mental tough times.
  6. Seasons: Our bodies are designed to align with our environment, ever crave squash in the fall? I bet, these are great things to pay attention to and give your body a break.  Sometimes we need to think outside of the box with our food choices, just make healthy ones.
    • Solution: Check your local farmers’ association for seasonal foods, this can be a fun way to incorporate new healthy foods into your diet.

Failing on a diet is not always your fault, having a holistic approach is what allows practitioners like me to look at and treat the whole person.  If losing weight or being healthy was as easy as measuring food and following a diet, we’d all be doing it.  There is more to the picture than just the right diet and your ability to stick to it.  The best way to start listening to your body is by journaling.  Take note of cravings, sleep patterns, stress, food choices, and water intake throughout your day, it could tell you a lot.

Need help?  Just ask!

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