How to finally get cravings under control

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How to finally get cravings under control

Sometimes it just has to be a burger with fries. Or an unreasonable amount of chocolate. Everyone has probably had a food craving at some point. Sometimes it’s because you missed lunch, but sometimes it’s grief or stress that makes you binge eat. This urge to eat can get you in a pretty bad mood if not satisfied quickly. But why is that? And – even more important: Can you get a grip on a food craving without eating a whole pizza? Or can it even be prevented?

Basically, hunger is necessary for survival. However, you have to differentiate between appetite and cravings. “Ravages arise when the body lacks nutrients,” explains nutritionist Matthias Riedl . This is the case, for example, if you have missed a main meal or if you have a lack of carbohydrates. The blood sugar level drops rapidly, and this causes a strong feeling of hunger – cravings.

Why am I getting cravings?
Depending on which nutrient your body is lacking, when you have a craving, you have a strong craving for something sweet or savory, explains dietitian Lars Selig . If you have frequent cravings or if the attacks get stronger, it is best to have this clarified by a doctor. Because behind it can be, for example, hormonal diseases, metabolic diseases or an eating disorder.

According to Riedl, if food cravings occur, you should first drink something and wait. “Many confuse hunger with thirst,” says the nutritionist, and therefore advises drinking regularly. “If drinking doesn’t help, I should first ask myself: Have I eaten enough? What am I eating now?” Most of the time, that’s when you eat the wrong thing. For example, according to the nutritionist, too much sugar only gives short-term satisfaction. In addition, the body releases a lot of insulin, which in turn leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar – and after one to two hours to cravings again.

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Someone who is full will not have cravings
In addition to thirst, appetite is often confused with hunger, says dietitian Selig. For example, if you always feel like eating something sweet while watching TV or in stressful situations, this is a feeling or a habit and, accordingly, an appetite. Selig therefore advises eating regularly. “Someone who is full will not have cravings,” he explains. “A main meal is best made with legumes, dairy products and vegetables,” explains Riedl. Then you are full for four to five hours and there are no cravings at all.

If you do get an attack, you can give in – but in moderation. “Two or three pieces of chocolate are enough,” says Selig. According to Riedl, nuts also help. About 10 to 15 grams is usually sufficient.

The psychologist Tilmann Habermas explains in his book “cravings” that this often occurs during a diet. But you can also have an attack after exercising. Some people try to stop the cravings with tricks – such as drinking hot water or soup or brushing their teeth. According to Riedl, these methods only distract. Real ravenous hunger, i.e. a lack of important nutrients, is not compensated for by this, but at most postponed in the brain for a short time.

Overall, dietician Riedl advises eating slowly and signaling your body that it’s about to get food. Not only does it fill you up faster, it also keeps it longer.

5 ways to satisfy your sweet tooth
1. Alternate Rewards

Have yourselves lucky. And not in the form of sugar , but alternative rewards. A professional massage, shopping, an exclusive beauty cream, a bouquet of freshly cut flowers or whatever else makes you happy. You deserve it!

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2. Movement makes you happy

It has long been known that sport causes the release of happiness hormones . So what are you waiting for? Next time you get cravings, literally run away from them. A quick walk in the fresh air or a relaxed jog is enough to banish the craving. You just have to get up!

3. Sniff luck

The limbic system in the brain, which is responsible for our emotional mood, can be tricked. Instead of eating something sweet, it is also stimulated when we smell something sweet. The aroma of vanilla or caramel has been proven to provide a feeling of comfort and reduced cravings. Therefore: Simply drizzle some aromatic oil on a cloth and sniff it from time to time.

4. Sleep makes you happy

Sugar gives a quick boost of energy. That’s why we often have cravings for sweets even when we actually feel tired. Sufficient sleep therefore prevents cravings. In acute cases, a small power nap of around 20 minutes can also help.

5. Heat works wonders

Chocolate is a selenium flatterer and a good comforter. Even better than this caloric sin, however, is heat. Whether with a hot bath, a hot-water bottle or with a thick blanket on the sofa: Make yourself cozy when you get ravenously hungry again. If you are comfortably warm, you don’t need sugar!

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