Here’s how you can really combat your food cravings and keep slim with these tips from a nutritionist Melanie McGrice.
1. Take The Power Back
Gaining control over cravings starts by recognising that you actually have choice about what and when to eat – you don’t have to consume every item that comes to mind!
“A food craving is simply a desire for a particular food and it can be either an emotional desire, psychological desire or physical desire,” Melanie says. “If you can determine what kind of craving it is, you can deal with the root cause of what you’re feeling.”
Yes, learning how to decipher the difference is all it takes to conquer cravings and so improve your relationship with food forever.
“No-one knows your body like you do, so if you’re craving certain foods, consider how often you’re craving those foods and what’s really behind these cravings,” Melanie says.
2. The Energy Connection
“In my practice I see lots of women with emotional cravings for food to help combat stress, as well as those with physical cravings for sweet foods mid-afternoon – the classic time when women typically have an energy slump,” Melanie says.
“In both of these scenarios they’re often turning to energy-boosting foods, such as caffeinated drinks, and sugary foods, like biscuits, chocolate and cake.” Whatever the reason, food cravings are common for most women and far less likely to affect men. “Women tend to have more emotional and psychological cravings because we tend to be more in tune with our emotions,”
Melanie says. “However, I also believe women tend to be more susceptible to physical cravings because we often have higher nutritional requirements than men, coupled with slower metabolisms.
The fact is women actually require less food than men, which means we need more nutrition in a smaller volume of food.” An imbalance can soon lead to weight gain and poor eating habits such as skipping meals.
“Not meeting your nutrition requirements leaves you low in energy, consequently causing you to crave energy-boosting foods,” Melanie adds.
3. Fill Up On The Right Fuel
Planning well-balanced meals to better meet your body’s nutritional needs can quickly help you get back on track.
The simplest way is to make sure every meal includes a mix of lean protein and carbohydrates for lasting energy.
If you’re still battling uncontrollable cravings, try keeping a food diary for a week. By recording everything you eat, how much and when the urges hit, you’ll soon start to see patterns – such as a very light lunch leading to a 3pm trip to the vending machine for a Kit Kat.
4. Speak To A Professional
The next option is talking to a health professional. “If you’re really struggling with cravings, seek out the advice of an accredited practising dietitian who can help you determine what’s causing them and how to best treat them,” Melanie says
5. Find Out What It Is You're Actually Craving
“For example, if you’re craving potato chips it could be the salt you’re really craving, so instead of eating chips – which are high in saturated fat – you could add a little bit of salt to your regular meal or eat some salted nuts, which are far more nutritious.”
Text: Alicia Pyke/The Australian Women’s Weekly