Since I was talking about happy hormones last week I thought I may as well continue on this band wagon and have a closer look at our cravings. You know the ones you get that make you shove that chocolate cake into your mouth when you didn’t ‘mean to’.
So where do you get them from? Well they have both biological (here go those hormones again) and psychological components. The latter means that once we are aware we can at least stop them!
What are we normally craving? Sugar, carbohydrates, chocolate, and salt. Big question is, why are we craving them? On some levels it is because we are missing some very important mineral from our body. I am not a chocolate fan, but I went through a phase where I was constantly searching for those delicious little chocolate bars, as it turns out my magnesium levels were way too low. It is worth looking into these with a help of a naturopath.
On another hand however our trusty little hormones are at it again! For example serotonin, one of our happy hormones, loves sugar and carbohydrates. When we eat carbs and sugars we release serotonin, making us feel fabulous, temporarily. So when our serotonin levels are low, our brains kick in and want us to reach for that packet of snakes. Low serotonin levels can be caused by many things, depression, anxiety or even your gut health can affect it.
We mentioned endorphins last week too. I am sure you heard about having chocolate to boost that happy hormone! Endorphins also love sugar, salt and carbs. Having these will increase your endorphin levels, they are like human produced opiates. To balance that chocolate intake you could try running as endorphins are also produced during exercise.
On an emotional note we have sadness, boredom, stress, poor self-esteem, negative body image and the likes that will get you going through the pantry. I would suggest that you become aware of these triggers and learn to enter the gap. By that I mean that when you notice that you are craving some sort of food and are not hungry, stop for a moment. Discover your feelings, what is it that is bringing this craving to you? You cannot open that mars bar till you have the answer, and you fully discovered the feeling taking over you, allow it to be present and experience it to its fullest.
If you still have that craving after your discovery session, chose for the healthy option, go for a walk or a run, that will get your hormones going. Even better meditate.
Now I am not saying that you have to cut out some of those favourites like chips, chocolate cake and the like. But if you find that you find that you keep on reaching for them, then learn to understand what is creating that habit.
In fact while we are on habit, I dare you to ban those items you constantly crave for 28 days. If you stick to it, it will help you break that habit and hopefully create new, better ones at the same time.