When you crave foods that you know aren’t good for you, you might not take time to question what’s behind the craving. You might just automatically blame the craving on being tired, having PMS or having a bad day. Or maybe you tell yourself you deserve whatever you’re craving because you had a workout.
Being pregnant, I’m finding that yes, I tend to be craving certain “bad” foods more often. And I definitely want to know what’s behind it. Is it hormones? Yes, definitely. Do I think I’m eating for two? Hmmm, not in my case, but this excuse is used all the time in pregnancy. Boredom? Absolutely not.
So why am I craving different foods? I think it’s because my body is lacking in a nutrient or two which, in turn, may make me more tired or irritable.
Your brain is talking to you
Even before I knew I was pregnant, I was craving bread and butter! Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never really liked butter and yet that’s all my body wanted – carbs and fat in their “finest” form.
My brain was telling me something (of course that didn’t mean my hands and mouth had to listen to it and eat the bread and butter). My brain was telling me that I needed MORE carbs and MORE fat because, yes, I was pregnant and probably wasn’t getting enough of these in my diet at the time.
Now I’m not saying this is true in everyone’s case, but it’s worth thinking about. So the next time you find yourself with a craving, take a moment and think about what your body truly wants. Does it really want bread and butter or does it want carbs and fat? Does it really want French fries or does it want carbs, fat and salt? Does it really want a chocolate bar or does it want sugar? All of those elements can be found in natural, healthy forms. It’s up to you to make a healthy choice rather than a crappy one.
What will you choose?
It’s time to get in tune with your body; to listen and understand what your body really wants and is asking for. Then you can make healthier choices. For example, instead of bread and butter, I could have had an apple with nut butter. Or maybe I could have added avocado slices to my salad. There is always a healthy option.
Listen to your body
Keeping a food diary is the #1 way to discover what your body is missing. Also make note of how you’re feeling. You may be able to relate certain foods to the ups and downs in your day, such as when you feel more tired or when you have energy to spare.
You can share your food diary with a fitness instructor or other health professional for feedback and suggestions.
This article originally appeared on the Chic Boxing blog at http://chicboxing.com/blog/2012/01/a-bit-of-psychology-behind-food-cravings/ and was adapted and reprinted with permission.
Sara Walton, BSc, PTS, FIS, RYT 200, is the creator of ChicBoxing. She has had a lifelong love for health and nutrition but it wasn’t until she completed her BSc in Nutrition and Nutraceuticals that she decided to make it her mission to help others become passionate about their health and love for fitness. Once an overweight university grad, she now uses nutrition and exercise to live and love life and to help others feel the same way!