Print Edition: October 1, 2014
The world would be a much healthier place if we all craved broccoli and carrots. However, life likes to screw around and bless you with cravings for pizza and triple chocolate cake.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t crave junk food because you’re hungry. The problem lies in your brain. According to BootsWebMD, when you have a craving, you either need a mood-lifter or a shot of energy. It’s easy to get fast energy when you choose foods high in calories, carbohydrates, fat, or sugar. However, this instant gratification only lasts for about an hour.
I was once told that a craving only lasts for about 20 minutes. If you still want it after that time is up, I’d say go for it; it’s better to eat what you’re craving than to eat something in its place. Let’s be honest, if you have something sweet but unsatisfying instead of the ice cream you want, you’ll end up eating the substitute, and then eventually caving and eating the ice cream anyway. It’s better to just eat the ice cream instead of delaying the inevitable.
Most of the time, you’re craving a specific ingredient. While you may think that it’s actually the toxic sludge of a milkshake that you want, it could be something else entirely. For example, if you’re craving sweets, your diet is lacking chromium, carbon phosphorus, sulphur, and tryptophan. These can be found in healthier alternatives such as broccoli, grapes, cheese, and cranberries. If you’re like me and you crave bread, you lack nitrogen. To cure this, stock up on fish, meat, nuts, and beans.
When it comes to fighting off these cravings, I’ve heard numerous opinions. You can drink a tonne of water and eat fruit instead, or you can brush your teeth and then you won’t feel like eating because of the minty fresh taste in your mouth.
Distract your thoughts, too. Don’t keep thinking about how good that ooey-gooey chocolate bar would taste. Instead, think of why you wouldn’t want to give in. Are you trying to lose weight? Think of all the compliments you’ll get once you reach your goal weight. Are you trying to get healthier? Think of how good you’re going to feel after you’ve finished your sugar detox.
After you’ve satisfied that craving, you’re either going to be completely miserable, or you’ll be one happy camper. Are you truly dedicated to your fitness goals, or are you going to crash and burn and end up back at square one? Remember that it’s all mind over matter, and that deep down, you do have the willpower to say “no.”