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Food Cravings, and How to Manage Them

Chitrangada understands the importance of being fit and healthy. She shares tips on how to enjoy yummy food and yet maintain body weight.

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself."

—Oscar Wilde.

“Craving is a condition, as if we were hungry, while actually we are not. Hunger is a state of body. It’s a physiological need, with a physiological signal.”

—Author unknown.

Now who wouldn't crave for these donuts!

Now who wouldn't crave for these donuts!

Physiological and Psychological Food Cravings

Many people go on a diet at one time or another. Hundreds of suggestions are available by numerous sources, especially on websites.

So, we can hear about the keto diet, the water diet, the fruit juice diet, the salad diet, the detox diet, the eat everything in half quantity diet, the low carbs diet----and many more.

Is dieting a sure way to slim down?

It’s just the opposite, in my opinion. Dieting is a sure way to get fat.

Every time you are on a diet, and then break your diet plan, you condition your body to accumulate more weight.

What is Craving?

In reference to the above, we must also remember the simple fact, that it‘s depressing to feel deprived of the food, we love to eat.

People may suffer from a sense of deprivation, and have terrible, terrible cravings for the foods, they can no longer have. This may result in a general feeling of depression, guilt, and failure.

Food craving is likely to increase, in case one feels deprived.

Cravings can be divided into two different groups:

1. Physiological cravings,

2. Psychological cravings.


Cravings for cakes and chocolates

Cravings for cakes and chocolates

Beer/ liquor craving

Beer/ liquor craving

What is Physiological craving?

  • The absence of a particular element in the body, may lead to a strong desire for certain foods.

For instance:

—dairy produce, if there is lack of calcium,

—or salty foods, if the salt is lacking,

—or cravings for sweets, may be due to lack of sugar, and so on.

This is quite natural and is indeed a healthy sign.

  • A less commonly acknowledged physiological craving may arise, oddly enough, after satisfying your hunger. Many people, may sometimes feel a craving, for a particular food, which is extremely spicy, or sweet, or has a strong individual taste.
  • This is because, a person who habitually overindulges, may seek to again stimulate appetite, because the eating has made it dull.

Thus, your body may trick you, to crave for the food again.

  • Food cravings after eating, usually happens when you are on a diet. The body being deprived, does not get enough calories, for it‘s energy needs. The body wants to get the calories it wants, from eating, rather than have to go to the metabolic process of breaking down the energy, from the stored up fat, within the body.
  • Another kind of physiological craving, is the desire for a certain kind of food, at a specific time of the day. Cravings for a particular kind of food, may be the brain signalling depletion, of an important element in the body.
  • So, it‘s not uncommon to have a morning craving or an evening craving. I have often heard people talking about cravings at four in the evening, or three thirty in the morning. It might be because, there is a long gap in consuming your next food, by that time.
  • Another kind of craving arises after having alcohol, which stimulates blood insulin in the body. It can lead people, to low blood sugar levels, temporarily. Thus, it amounts to have a desire for the food, even if, they are not really hungry.

This biological imbalance, will reverse itself, on its own, within a short time.

Comfort eating is due to stress and anxiety

Comfort eating is due to stress and anxiety

What is Psychological craving?

  • People who consciously monitor their food, typically overeat, when they have their drinks. Cravings held in check consciously, surface in these circumstances.
  • The best option is to stay away from the food, and this can be planned in advance. Promise yourself to stay away from the buffet table, or ask someone else to bring your plate of food. These are useful techniques, to deal with the alcohol induced cravings.
  • Another kind of psychological craving, comes from the feeling of deprivation. The longing for the foods, which you might have denied yourself, due to overweight.
  • Complete cutting out foods you love, may lead to a breakdown of control, due to the intolerable cravings.
  • It will be better to permit small amounts of the foods they love, to control this kind of craving. In this way, the weight can be managed, in a better way.
  • Another type of psychological craving, emerges after eating something low in the calories. There is a psychological feeling of being deprived.
  • Calorie for calorie, people usually do much better eating, a 'little' of something they enjoy, than 'more' of something they do not like.

Keeping a record:

Some people find it useful, to keep a record of their cravings and temptations.

In this process, they note down the time, the place, with whom they were, what they were doing or thinking or feeling, at that particular time, the cravings were felt.

Keeping this kind of record, for at least a week, can detect and identify patterns, what are those situations, that spark off cravings, temptations and the desire to overeat.

Did You Know?

Stress triggers food cravings, especially sweet. When a person is worried or anxious, the hormones get activated, which have been discovered in the taste cells, that identify sweet, bitter, salty or spicy flavors.

This itself explains, why some people turn to chocolates, when they are stressed, or under pressure.

—Author unknown.

Try to understand your craving patterns --the time when you crave and the mood you are in when you have cravings

Try to understand your craving patterns --the time when you crave and the mood you are in when you have cravings

Cravings: I would love to eat this, even if I am not hungry.

Cravings: I would love to eat this, even if I am not hungry.

Is there a solution to food or drinks craving?

Understanding the causes and symptoms, will not end the temptations and cravings.

But this is a useful first step.

  • You can choose, not to expose yourself to stimulating foods.
  • You can go to the restaurants less often.
  • Decide not to bring chocolates, biscuits, sweets and other foods to your home, for which you have utmost cravings.
  • Avoid going to the markets, when you are quite hungry.
  • Do not imagine, that it is possible to avoid all the situations, and every food which tempts you.
  • You cannot decide, never again to see food, or never to feel frustrated or depressed. This is where, thinking techniques become crucial tools for self direction.

1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-facts-about-food-cravings

2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318441

3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/craving-meanings

Tips to control food cravings, source: You tube

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan

Do you have food cravings of certain kind? Please share how you control it in the comments section.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 20, 2019:

Thank you Frances Metcalfe, for reading and commenting on this article.

It’s true that some people have cravings, while others don’t have it. Good to know that you and your family have regulated eating habits and maintain good health.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Thanks a lot.

Frances Metcalfe from The Limousin, France on August 18, 2019:

Hi Chitrangada

In our house we live to eat, and practically the first question of the day is, 'What's for dinner tonight?' And while we love our food, and don't stint, indulge even, we try to ensure there is at least 12 hours from evening to morning for the stomach to digest and rest before having to work again. It works for us, don't crave and we aren't overweight!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 03, 2019:

Thanks Marlene, for reading and commenting on this article.

Your observations are quite relatable to me. It’s better to have a bite of your favourite food, rather than feeling deprived of it.

Having everything in lesser quantity, is a good way to manage cravings.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a great weekend.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on August 02, 2019:

This article has some tips that are really quite helpful. I have found, for me, if I go ahead and take a bite of the food I crave I have less of a tendency to overindulge.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on October 06, 2016:

Thanks mariexotoni for reading and commenting on this hub!

Many readers have been able to relate to this hub. It happens--sometimes we eat not because of need but because of want. Difficult to deal with this unless we have self control.

I am so happy that you liked this hub. Thank you for stopping by!

mariexotoni on October 06, 2016:

These tips are fabulous and I LOVE that Oscar Wilde quote!! It really resonates within me.

Thanks for sharing! Will be referencing this hub again. Need to stop tempting myself by purchasing these foods in the first place.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 12, 2015:

Thanks Audrey Howitt, for reading and commenting!

Glad you liked this hub!

Audrey Howitt from California on August 11, 2015:

Such an interesting hub--I don't actually have food cravings I think--I love most everything and tend to eat most everything in moderation---

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on January 16, 2015:

Thank you Mary Hyatt, for your sweet comments and votes! How nice that you don't put on weight!

I am glad you liked this hub. Now I am craving for a candy bar!

Thanks!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on January 15, 2015:

I have a terrible sweet tooth! I love to bake to satisfy those cravings. I want a candy bar every night. Fortunately, I don't put on weight~~

Voted UP, etc.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on August 12, 2014:

Thank you mariexotoni, for your kind visit and appreciation!

Most of us have cravings for a particular food. It becomes easier to control those cravings, once we understand the causes. Diverting the mind at that particular time, when the cravings occur can be helpful.

Many thanks for your votes and share!

mariexotoni on August 11, 2014:

Awesome article- understanding the underlying causes of our cravings can help us learn to be more in control. Honestly, anytime I tell myself (in my head), I can't have a certain food, a few hours later I find myself over-indulging in that food. Instead of doing this, I teach myself to focus on other areas or try some new hobbies instead of being food-focused.

Voted up, useful and interesting. Will share too :)

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 28, 2014:

Hi Pamela Kinnaird W, for your kind visit and positive feedback!

I agree following through is slightly difficult, especially if you do most of the shopping for home necessities. Building up strong won't power is the only solution.

Thanks for voting up!

Pamela Dapples from From Canada to Hawaii and now In Arizona. on June 27, 2014:

I enjoyed this hub. Good points. But the important one for me is 'decide not to bring chocolates....to your home...for which you have utmost cravings.' I can decide this. I decide it almost every day. But it's the following through I have to learn.

Voting up, useful and interesting.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 20, 2014:

Thank you teaches12345, for reading and commenting!

Its good to know that you have control over your cravings. Most women do tend to eat unnecessarily due to stress and anxiety and end up gaining those extra pounds.

Thanks again for appreciating!

Dianna Mendez on June 19, 2014:

I discovered early in life that stress makes you overindulge in food. I love chocolates, but have learned to eat them in moderation. Your advice is well written.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 10, 2014:

You are right aviannovice! The attractive advertisements on TV and elsewhere, to lure consumers is also responsible for the unreasonable food cravings. Significantly they are aimed at attracting children and women.

I would be interested to read about your study in this regard.

Thank you for your insightful comments!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on June 09, 2014:

There is a way to break those cravings in many cases. Due to marketing propaganda, we have been taught to crave sweets and fried foods. I will go into this in depth later in a study that I have done.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 05, 2014:

Thank you Lady Guinevere, for your visit and comments!

You are right that sometimes the cravings are a result of increased stress levels. How it happens, I really don't know but it has happened with me too.

Thanks again!

Debra Allen from West By God on June 04, 2014:

Depending on the stress level that I am dealing with I usually want chocolate. Sometimes I crave for sweet and salty foods, but not too often. It's mostly the chocolate.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 04, 2014:

Thanks Devika, for your kind visit and support. I think each one of us have cravings for some particular food. Chocolates is almost universal.

Glad you liked this hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 04, 2014:

Thanks Vellur, for your kind visit and positive comments!

This really works, that is avoiding going for shopping, when we are hungry.

Or keeping snacks or chocolates at home.

Thanks again for your support!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 04, 2014:

I sometimes crave good food and chocolates. A great insight to food cravings.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 03, 2014:

It is chocolate for me always! Interesting hub. Avoiding going shopping when we are hungry is very important!! When I go out and am hungry I end up eating a pastry or a cake or anything that is sweet!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on June 03, 2014:

Thanks midget38, for visiting and commenting!

Yes, Human beings eat more than they should, due to cravings.

Have we seen the animals or the birds overeating! No, I don't think so.

They eat as much as their body requires. And that's why they do not have weight issues.

Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on June 03, 2014:

Ah, this is why we eat as much as we do!!!Useful and sharing!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 31, 2014:

Thank you DaveOnline, for your kind visit and comments!

I appreciate your views and glad that you found the hub interesting. You are fortunate that you don't have weight issues.

Have a good day!

David Edward Lynch from Port Elizabeth, South Africa on May 31, 2014:

What you have written is interesting because it's true that we can't always be denying ourselves the food we like but at the same time I try to maintain a balance in eating. I don't have a weight problem because of my thin body type but sometimes I see my stomach sticking out if I eat too much.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 30, 2014:

Thanks divacratus, for your kind visit and comments!

I think, we Indians can not resist the many mouth watering options we have of hot and spicy food. Even passing through those streets offering such foods can make you hungry.

Thanks for voting up!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 30, 2014:

Hi Ericdierker!

Thanks for your kind visit and comments. I am also guilty of cravings for chocolates. I avoid keeping them at home.

Thanks and have a good day!

Kalpana Iyer from India on May 30, 2014:

I don't crave for sweets too much so I guess my body is not deprived of sugar. But I can never get enough of hot, spicy food. Love them! I wonder if this craving is physiological or psychological. Whatever form it is, I always end up indulging :) Great hub! Voted up.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 30, 2014:

Great hub. I have serious cravings so my home is filled with fruits and vegetables -- not a choice here.

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 30, 2014:

Thanks manatita44, for your kind visit and comments!

Yes, women love chocolate, including me.

Glad you liked this hub!

Chitrangada Sharan (author) from New Delhi, India on May 30, 2014:

Thanks billybuc, for your kind visit and support!

manatita44 from london on May 29, 2014:

Very hard area to control for some. Speaking of which I am now slightly over myself.

Lots written on the subject, and yes, chocolate is a common one for women, I believe.

Great useful steps.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 29, 2014:

An interesting discussion. For me it is chocolate. :)

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