Food For Thought – Simple Hacks to Curb Your Cravings
Cravings – this is a topic that has come up in discussion with most of my clients since mid-March…and understandably so! Find yourself rifling through the kitchen lately, looking for something sweet or salty to nibble on while you watch the news (or when binging on Netflix)? Indulging in a glass (or bottle) of wine every night?
It’s likely emotional eating. Our brains are wired to crave certain foods when feeling bored, sad, or anxious. We seek foods that are highly palatable (like ice cream or chips) over healthier foods (like veggies and fruits). These foods activate the reward centres in our brain, making us feel good.
In self-isolation, we’re spending more time at home, and adjusting to this new “normal” filled with daily pandemic news alerts, worrying about family, finances and the future. It comes as no surprise that many of us are turning to food for distraction. Can you relate? I know I can.
Turning to food can easily become a coping mechanism. However, this can lead to unhealthy behaviours, putting us at risk of developing obesity and other chronic diseases. Over the years I’ve discovered my own tips, tricks and tools that I keep in my emotional eating toolbox and I can’t wait to share those with you.
- Practice mindful eating
When we’re more mindful about the what, why, when, where and how of our eating habits, we’re more likely to make healthier choices more often. This can help you reconnect to your experience with food by bringing awareness to your feelings, thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. There are many simple ways to get started, like eliminating all distractions, turning off the TV and putting down your phone, eating slowly, chewing your food thoroughly and focusing on how the food makes you feel, and stopping when you are full.
- Keep a food and feelings journal
Sometimes it helps to take a step back and think about why you’re craving something sweet. Is it hunger, boredom, stress? Keep a food and feelings journal to help you track patterns in your food choices and cravings. Maybe stress is the reason. Find other ways to cope with stress and practice self-care, like talking to a friend, taking a bath, making some tea, doing yoga, exercising, etc.
Follow me on IG @sparknutritionandhealth and on FB @mysparkdietitian for more healthy eating tips and some of my favorite recipes. And stay tuned for part two next month for six more crave-curbing hacks!