Food cravings don’t just happen to pregnant women and are no laughing matter, they are very real, and they can be the cause of derailing many a diet and fitness plan!
There can be many reasons for food cravings. In my practice as a lifestyle and nutrition coach, I have come to find that most cravings however, are caused by 8 common factors.
Once you understand these, and realize that there could be a valid biological reason for craving certain foods, we can work with those cravings, instead of having them work against you!
8 Common Cravings to Look Out For:
- Hormones – In the opening of this blog, I alluded to the fact that most people associate “cravings,” with pregnancy. That is because fluctuating hormones do the foods your crave. Pregnancy, menstrual cycles, and menopause all can and do effect food cravings in women. Men are not immune to hormonal influence on food cravings. Men with low testosterone have been known to have crave sugar, which is particularly bad for such men, as there is already a link between low testosterone and diabetes and obesity.
- Emotional Eating – Being dissatisfied with a relationship or being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a connection with a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill these other voids in your life.
- Water – Thirst, or dehydration can sometimes send the message that instead of being thirsty you are hungry. So the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. That may cause the craving to subside. Like everything else, water intake is about balance; drinking too much water can also cause cravings.
- “Yin/Yang” – Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive), while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vice versa.
- A Blast from the Past – Often times,what we crave come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy our craving for “comfort foods” is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.
- Seasonal Cravings – Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods, and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions, and nuts. During winter,
many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil, and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog, or sweets.
- Lack of Nutrition – If your body is lacking certain nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.
- Being Your Own Worst Enemy – When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar, and may result in strong mood swings.
Your DNA and Cravings
Did you know that your body may be predisposed to crave certain foods?
Here at HealthGAINS we have made genetic screening one of the cornerstones of our lifestyle and fitness programs.
With the results of your My HealthGAINS Genetic Profile I receive a detailed report that tells me many things about the foods you should eat, what exercises will offer the best results for your make-up and metabolism, even why you may be craving certain foods!
A lot of diet and fitness programs merely dismiss these as a kind of weakness. But, when you realize that usually a craving is your body’s way of trying to tell you something, together, we can figure out what that message is.