We all get those pesky things we call cravings.  Daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonally they affect us.  Sometimes we indulge them, and yet other times we resist.  When indulging, we often end up feeling guilty for it and swing like a pendulum the other way again in a continuous back and forth, or just plain give up (and eat all the candy). You know what I am talking about.

How about we drop the guilt that might come along with them too and figure out what root cause is triggering cravings.  Let’s improve the pattern and end the unhealthy cycle so we can be more balanced, find happiness, and not worry about enjoying a treat now and then, asking for help, and just feel better all around.

First, what are some causes of cravings?

  • Dehydration
  • Hormones
  • Lack of nutrients or imbalances
  • Emotional eating due to stress, lack of sleep, unhappy in work/relations, boredom, etc…
  • Restrictive dieting

What are you really craving?  Are you craving a food or non-food item?  Why? Identify it, write it down, and then ask what needs to be done to fix or improve the situation.  Easier said than done sometimes but identifying it and writing it down is a good tool to start with.

What do you know about yourself, or notice during your cravings?  Be honest.  Take a step back and look at what is triggering you to feel the need for sugar, salt, alcohol, entertainment, or other cravings at certain times and see if there is a recurring event, feeling, habit, or mood that goes along with it.  Are you looking for friendship, stress relief, or nutrition, but finding a temporary fix in something else that is not benefiting you ultimately?  Write it down.

We are wired to want to feel good and go after what makes that happen, even if the quick fix isn’t the best for us, we can fall prey to bad habits that don’t serve us. 

Maybe you are feeling stressed and finding solace in the ice cream when you just need an exercise routine to relieve stress better. Or, maybe you have been exercising more, and not getting enough water and electrolytes, so your body is triggering salty cravings because you truly need water and electrolytes to fix an imbalance.  Another common trigger is you are feeling bored and then eating mindlessly (suddenly eating the whole bag of chips is devoured) helps fill the cup… instead crowd out the food with something like a hobby, game, walk, or a chat with friends to fix the boredom.  Do something positive for yourself and change a poor habit for a better one.  Guilt will melt away.

Looking at why you are feeling certain cravings, truly, can help you fix imbalances, find better coping strategies, change daily patterns, and improve your relationship with yourself and those cravings (and lose the guilt – it has no benefits to you other than showing you a problem needs fixing).  In general, if you have identified causes, you can install a fix.  Sometimes you will need outside assistance with this process to identify causes and make a plan of action.  Please know that it is OKAY to ask for help.  In fact, it is highly beneficial. 

Writing down and addressing cause, triggers, and what you are really feeling is an important tool to addressing and fixing negative habits, cravings, and feelings.  There is so often a root cause and good fix that will satisfy it in a healthy way.  Working on this will lead to ideas and planning on fixes, enjoying occasional safe indulgences guilt free, or finding and changing behaviors that suit you and your health better.

Keep marching forward in your health journey day by day, with help if needed.  Just don’t stop going forward in a positive way. Feel free to reach out if you are feeling you could use some help here.