Let's get honest for a second: who among us hasn't felt that undeniable urge for a sugary treat or salty snack?
Yes, I'm talking about cravings - the powerful and often misunderstood message our bodies send us.
Just like your last team meeting that left you craving a new job (just joking, maybe), our bodies have a way of telling us what they need. But are cravings something to dread or an invitation to dig a bit deeper?
A food craving is not just hunger - it's a state of heightened motivation directed at a specific food! Researchers have discovered that the brain is wired to be motivated by key goals like sex, water and food. It's these motivations that are triggered by the release of a powerful molecule called dopamine!
When we eat calorie-rich foods like pizza, our brains associate its sensory cues with dopamine release, creating cravings.
But WHY do we crave?
Cravings aren't just sudden, impulsive desires; they signal what the body needs. There's a theory that high-intensity artificial sweeteners could potentially recalibrate our taste buds over time, making us crave even sweeter flavours.
In a limited study conducted in 2015, experts monitored the sweet cravings among a 20-person group who abstained from all types of sweeteners, both calorie-containing and calorie-free.
After 2 weeks, nearly 87% of participants indicated that their sugar cravings had vanished.
Artificial sweeteners might be one piece of the puzzle, but emotional eating completes the picture.
Emotional eating Is the act of turning to food to fulfil a need. It's your body's way of seeking temporary relief and it often involved cravings for sugary or fatty foods.
The key here is awareness. Being able to distinguish between eating because you're emotionally unsettled and eating because you're actually hungry, can be a game-changer.
I want to emphasise that my focus isn't on quick fixes like taking a stroll, staying hydrated or stretching! It goes deeper than that - it delves deep into the underlying reasons behind cravings, addressing the core issue is essential for long-lasting solutions.
>Change the way you view food Changing your perception involves educating yourself on the nutritional aspects of food, the science of cravings, and the long-term impact on your body. This shift in perspective serves as the cornerstone for understanding and ultimately controlling your cravings.
>Understand you're not giving anything up The real change comes when you see that you aren't sacrificing anything meaningful. Instead, you're trading it for a higher quality of life. Adopting this mindset is vital for making the process of reducing cravings more manageable and could potentially diminish those cravings to near irrelevance.
>Remember all cravings pass It's crucial to understand that cravings don't last for more than 90 seconds so even if you do have one, it will eventually fade. Over time, they will occur less frequently, with less intensity, and they'll be easier to manage. Establishing the right foundation for avoiding sweet things significantly reduces the frequency of cravings, if they happen at all.
So you see, understanding your cravings is a deeply personal journey that allows you to learn more about your body's unique language. Cravings aren't your enemy; they're like a blinking red light on your dashboard, signalling that it's time for a check-up.
So, the next time your mind is buzzing with the insistent call for a midnight snack, remember these tips. Pause, reflect, and make choices that nourish not just your body, but also your soul.
If this conversation has sparked your curiosity and you're hungry for more (sorry!), let's continue the conversation on Instagram. Follow me at Life Begins at Menopause for daily insights, tips and a community that understands the journey you're on.