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In most cases, food cravings are not true eating disorders, but instead are signs of hormonal or chemical imbalance inside your body and brain caused by a lack of healthy nutrition.When we have cravings and follow them we are not actually being bad, we are following what our brain and body are telling us to do. Craving is an effort of your body and brain to come back into balance. There are many reasons why we have cravings; lack of nutrition, dehydration, boredom, subconscious painful memories, and stress are a few examples.
Dehydration: The sensation of thirst can feel like a slight hunger feeling. Often people go for food instead of water when they are dehydrated.
Nutritional imbalance: When you diet is not balanced and your body and brain is in need of certain kinds of nutrients, your body and brain will urge you to eat more because their only chance to get the needed nutrients is by your eating.
Lack of nourishment from life: Food satisfies when the hunger is physical, and only then can it be considered nourishment. When aspects of life are not fulfilling we often reach for food to fill the void.
Stress: Historically, lack of food was one of the biggest threats and causes of stress. Our brains were programmed to tell our bodies to eat as much as we could so that we could store some nutrition, especially when we anticipated or were exposed to life-threatening stressors. This is how we developed the link between eating and stress.
To understand your craving patterns more clearly, it is recommended to keep a food journal. Keep track of how you felt after eating certain types of foods. Controlling your cravings won’t work, but do add plenty of healthy food into your food intake. You will find out which foods are the most energizing to your body, and you can choose what to eat more consciously based on your body’s feedback.
While checking in with your body, start checking in with your mind as well, because your craving may have something to do with your thought patterns, stress or lack of fulfillment in your life. When you pay close attention you can figure out what caused the pattern of your cravings. When you are emotionally stable, and your mind is more peaceful, you will have a clearer distinction between real need for nutrients and cravings coming from other causes.
When you crave something, ask, “What am I really hungry for?” Try to answer the question with anything but food. You may still want to eat the food you crave, but taking a moment to ask this question before you go for the food will lead you to introspection and insight about yourself, which eventually help you to balance your life with less craving.