This topic is so interesting and something I’ve been hyper focused on for the last few months and it’s made a big difference in how I eat and when I eat and what I eat… and I think it will be for you too.
We are going to break down the actual difference between hunger and cravings and figure out the balance of how we feel full and satisfied…. Without overeating or overindulging to where we don’t feel great… in the short term and in the long term.
By being able to identify… is this hunger that I’m feeling or is this a craving… we can make the best decisions for our overall nutrition and our happiness in the moment.
Our relationship with food and nutrition is just so important and thinking about it this way can really simplify it and help you make the best decisions that make you feel your very best.
**Cravings are so strong that you will take action - more than hunger.
Hunger we can bypass- but cravings get us to go get that thing.
We need to know how to control our cravings.
First… what is hunger and what are cravings?
Hunger: Hunger is a physiological sensation that arises from the body's need for nourishment. It is primarily driven by biological factors such as low blood sugar levels, an empty stomach, or hormonal imbalances. When you experience hunger, your body is signaling that it requires sustenance to maintain energy levels and perform essential functions. Hunger is often accompanied by physical symptoms like stomach contractions, growling, lightheadedness, and a general feeling of emptiness.
Cravings: Cravings, on the other hand, refer to an intense desire for a specific type of food or a particular taste. Unlike hunger, cravings are often psychological in nature and can be triggered by various factors such as emotions, memories, environmental cues, or even cultural influences. Cravings tend to be more specific and focused, such as a strong urge for chocolate, pizza, or salty snacks. They may arise even when you're not physically hungry, and they can persist even after you've eaten enough to satisfy your hunger.
Tips to manage cravings
Identify triggers: Pay attention to what triggers your cravings. Is it certain emotions, situations, or environments? By identifying your triggers, you can develop strategies to avoid or cope with them more effectively.
Distract yourself: When a craving strikes, try distracting yourself with an engaging activity. Engage in a hobby, go for a walk, listen to music, or call a friend. Shifting your focus away from the craving can help diminish its intensity.
Practice mindful eating: Mindful eating involves paying close attention to your food, savoring each bite, and being fully present during meals. By eating mindfully, you can enhance your satisfaction from the food you consume and reduce the likelihood of experiencing intense cravings afterward.
Choose healthier alternatives: If you're craving a particular food, try to find healthier alternatives that satisfy your cravings to some extent. For example, if you're craving something sweet, opt for a piece of fruit or a small serving of dark chocolate instead of reaching for a sugary dessert.
Plan your meals and snacks: Having a well-balanced meal plan and incorporating regular, nutritious snacks can help prevent extreme hunger, which can intensify cravings. When you keep your body adequately fueled throughout the day, you're less likely to experience intense food cravings.
Practice portion control: Allow yourself to indulge in your favorite foods occasionally, but in moderation. Instead of completely depriving yourself, enjoy a small portion of the food you're craving. This can help satisfy your craving without derailing your overall healthy eating habits.
Manage stress: Stress can contribute to cravings, particularly for comfort foods. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in physical activity, getting enough sleep, or seeking support from friends and family.
Stay hydrated: Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger or cravings. Ensure you're adequately hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. When a craving strikes, try having a glass of water and waiting a few minutes to see if it subsides.
This is a LONG game experience… our relationship with food.
Let’s not label things as “good” or “bad” but listen to our bodies and make the best decisions we can each day.
Learning and growing as we go… keeping a journal of how we feel so we can look back and make even better decisions.
CHEERS to fueling our body and feeling satisfied everyday by asking ourselves… am I hungry or is this a craving?