Carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and sweet foods are common in today’s society. Often they run out of control due to additives which further increase our cravings. It is therefore important to be educated about what you are eating in order to stay on track and in control.
Many people say that cravings happen mostly in the evening when sitting in front of the TV or computer after a hard day. Often without even thinking you head for the fridge. There, you can grab the left over bowl of pasta and the junk foods that are stored in our cupboards. The result is to put on weight, have night reflux and other digestive problems due to eating so late. People often wonder why they get these cravings and it could be that there is a nutritional deficiency but most of the time it’s just a bad habit to satisfy emotional needs.
How to avoid cravings
The first way to avoid these craving is to just go cold turkey. Empty your kitchen cupboards, fridge or any other place where you keep food and throw out all the junk foods. They are better off in the bin than your stomach. It is important to be conscious in the supermarket to not even buy the products at all. Cut chips, chocolate and biscuits off your grocery list. Even some of the yummy gluten free ones. If they are not there you can’t eat them. Instead keep some fruit and yogurt handy in the fridge and make it a rule not to eat at least on hour before bedtime. If you are craving carbohydrates and sweets, drink water. Sometimes you may find you are just tired and it’s time to go to sleep. Get a good night’s sleep and have a good healthy breakfast in the morning.
Watch out for the triggers
Keep an eye out for the triggers that spark the cravings for carbs and sweets. What is it that puts that thought into your mind that you need them? What are you doing when that happens? Possibly, the coffee after dinner? Relaxing in front of the TV or checking your emails late at night when you are tired ad bored can trigger the desire for a sweet reward. Are you too stressed or emotionally sensitive and could your desire for those carbs be a way of looking for a ‘sweeter life’? Have you come to look at chocolate and carbs as your friend to make up for those lonely moments when you feel neglected? Also be aware that some medications can stimulate your appetite. Anti-depressants, other prescription drugs, non-prescription medical drugs and recreational drugs can also be triggers to eat more food than you normally would and increase those cravings. If any of these things are happening you need to be aware of it, discuss it with your doctor and take some positive action. Look for natural alternatives perhaps to your medication which may not have the same effect. Remember also to put some ‘de-stress’ activities into your day – have a bubble bath, meditate, go for a walk, chat with an old friend or even read a good book. All these things will fill the craving you have for comfort and nurturing so you can substitute pleasurable experiences for the food and you may find those cravings disappear.
Build self-control perhaps by having just a mouthful or one chocolate square and then stop. Sometimes that is enough to curb your craving and you can deflect from it. Go and do something else. However, if the trigger is emotional it will not go away on its own. You need a good support network of friends or family that can assist you. You need people around that will remind you to not eat that chocolate late at night or to perhaps have less pasta on the plate. However they need to remind you in a gentle nurturing way, not as a judgement. Craving for carbs and sweets has probably been a habit for some time so perhaps some extra help seeing a natural therapist will assist finding a way to change the pattern and resolve the issue.
If you are going to control your cravings for carbs it’s important to never skip a meal. In fact make sure you eat at least 5 times a day to keep your glucose levels balanced. Eat a healthy breakfast to start your day and drink lots of water to flush toxins. If the cravings for carbs and sweets occurs during the day divert yourself some way. I tell people when they come to see me for Hypnotherapy to give up smoking that the craving for a cigarette usually lasts only about three minutes and to divert their attention from it and wait it out. Similarly just deflect from the cravings for carbs and sweets and tell yourself to wait a minute and just wait it out. You will be surprised how easily sometimes the craving will subside. Sometimes you can divert yourself with a drink of water, an interesting hobby, exercise or meditation, Exercise will increase endorphins which will help and meditation will assist in calming your mind and emotions.
Although most of the time craving for sweets and carbs is just a bad habit sometimes it can be due to out of control hormones. Cravings often increase when women have their monthly menstrual cycle and this can be a symptom that your hormones are not working properly. If your cycle is accompanied by stomach pains, sore breasts, bloating, mood swings and clots as well as an intensified craving for carbs and sweets please seek help from a natural therapist. Feeling ill and edgy only increases the cravings. This is not how your monthly cycle should make you feel even though many women do feel this way at least for 10 days before they are due to have their monthly period.
The bottom line is that there can be many reasons for cravings; all of them with negative consequences for your health. Stay away from the sweet corridor of the supermarket, swap your diet for healthy products and change your night-time habits. Be kind to yourself and don’t take on too much at one time. Realise that you can do it better tomorrow if you mess up today and start again. Do whatever you need to in order to get that control back and be on the road to a healthier life.