Are you hungry for food or something else?
Do you have cravings for food? It's chocolate for me, but I also get hit with a salt craving. So I was interested to learn that our cravings for certain foods are about more than with hunger.
Food cravings can have a lot more to do with your emotions than with actual hunger.
Think about a time when you were happy. You felt relaxed and confident, you looked forward to each day and food was an afterthought.
How about when you felt sad, depressed or low in self-esteem? No matter how much you ate, you never felt satisfied.
When you're genuinely hungry, you're not that fussy about what you eat - your body wants fuel, and it wants it now!
When you start to crave certain foods, you may be using food as a comfort. Often we eat rather than expressing our emotions.
Research shows that when people can identify the emotions they're experiencing and have strategies to deal with them, they're far less likely to binge eat.
The more we understand our emotions, the healthier our bodies, hearts and minds will be.
So what do the foods that we crave tell us?
Pastries, cakes, lollies, desserts and all the sweet things
Working long hours and jumping straight from one to-do to the next on your list leaves you feeling exhausted and drained. Sweet things are quick energy and a feel good food boost. But unfortunately it doesn't last for long, and then you feel worse.
Solution: Find an activity you enjoy and indulge for 15 minutes or more each day. Try taking a walk in the park, reading a good book or treating yourself to a foot massage. Once you begin to let yourself have joy in your life, you won't be looking for sweet foods for comfort.
If you're craving spicy, eye-watering food, this may mean that you're craving some more spice and action in your life!
You love to be on the go, whether it be social events, travelling or exploring exciting new things. When you're not making the time to do the things you love, spicy food can be the zing that you're missing!
Solution: Try a dance or fitness class you haven't tried before (Salsa?), see the latest blockbuster movie or even explore a new neighbourhood.
Salt moves the water in our bodies - it's a magnet for movement and flow, which is essential for helping people to "go with the flow" of life and relax.
Solution: Find ways that you can sink into the moment and reflect. Try deep breathing, running, meditating or anything that taps into your creative flow!
Caffeine gives the false impression of keeping it all together and being mentally sharp, but it has the opposite effect!
Solution: If you give your mind a rest with meditation and some quality sleep, you'll be able to focus and concentrate.
Who would've thought that craving food of a particular texture could also signify an emotional state? A crunchy food craving indicates stress, anger and frustration. It provides something to crunch and snap down on.
Solution: Try writing your frustrations in a journal instead of bottling them up till you explode!
Those of us who crave chocolate are most likely also craving intimacy. Chocolate contains compounds that change our brain activity, giving us that 'in love' feel good feeling.
Solution: Try giving or getting a hug the next time the chocolate craving hits. Nutrition (food) is a secondary source of energy.
Primary foods, or non-food sources of nourishment, are what fuel us.
As children, we all thrived on primary food. Lovers thrive on the pure bliss and peace they are experiencing. The excitement and rapture of daily life can feed us more thoroughly than any food.
So next time the cravings hit, stop and ask yourself how you are feeling.
Are you hungry? Or do you need something else?
Think about what you're craving and try one of the solutions above before you reach for the snacks.