Do you crave sugar? How about bread? Salty and fatty snacks? Keep reading to find out why you get cravings and how to crush them before they crush you!
Cravings suck. We all get them. I don’t care who you are, how old you are, your gender, pregnant or not, we ALL get cravings. Sure, cravings are “mental,” and your body doesn’t need that Reese’s cup (or 12) but they still come, and often they are tough to control.
Here’s the truth; you can’t overcome your cravings if you don’t understand why you are getting them in the first place. In this post, I will discuss why we get cravings, and I will provide you with tips to crush them.
Before we get started, let me tell you something you may not know. Cravings are your body’s way of telling you it’s lacking in some nutrient or your body functions are out of whack.
Let’s talk about this in more detail.
Why You get Cravings
You are lacking in Nutrients.
The first reason you get cravings is that your body is deficient in nutrients. It’s a desperate cry for one nutrient or another disguised as a desire for cookies and chips.
Here are some examples:
When you are craving chocolate, it means your body is lacking in magnesium. If you are a woman in your menstruating years, you may be familiar with this happening during your period. That is because our magnesium levels drop when we are menstruating. So, it’s not your fault.
However, don’t go reaching for that Twix bar just yet! Instead, try adding in more nuts and fruits during that time, or supplement with a magnesium supplement. If you are following a ketogenic diet, you should already be taking magnesium, so you may want to increase it if you get intense chocolate cravings (I’ll triple my magnesium, why thank you!)
When you crave bread, your body may need some nitrogen. Increase your protein & fish intake. Almonds are also a great source of nitrogen.
When you want something salty, you may be needing more Calcium. Eat more broccoli and Kale babe. Remember, Kale makes the sale.
Your sleep schedule is total crap
Yeah, I know, it was the finale of the Bachelorette last night. You just HAD to stay up and watch that. That’s cool, but at what expense? Now you’re hitting up the vending machine at work and buying ALL the sugary things because you can’t stay awake.
NEWS FLASH: Lack of sleep causes sugar cravings. Why? Because your body is tired and searching for a quick energy source aka sugar baby. Our bodies are smart, they want to survive and function so if you were a jerk and stayed up late last night, it’s going to give you sugar cravings because it needs to make up for the lack of energy it has. Was watching who got that last rose worth it? I think not.
Our culture treats sleep like crap. We glorify “all-nighters” and say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” as if it’s something to be proud of. It’s not. Lack of sleep not only causes sugar cravings, but it also increases cortisol (stress hormone) halts your weight loss (yes girl, yes), and decreases your cognitive function (you aren’t living your best life.) Not to mention, lack of sleep increases the risk of diabetes, depression, and f’s with your hormones.
The point being, prioritize your Zzz’s
You are dehydrated
It’s very common for dehydration to disguise itself as cravings. It makes sense though. Think about when you drink a lot of water, how do you feel? Pretty full, right?
Your body can confuse the feelings of dehydration with hunger. So first, try drinking a lot of water.
You are too stressed out
By now, I think most of us know that stress causes cravings. When you are stressed out, your stress hormone, cortisol goes up. That cortisol increases your appetite, especially for sugary, carb-filled comfort foods.
Stress is a negative response on the body, and when you eat sugar and carbs, your body releases a feel-good hormone (dopamine), which helps “relieve” that stress. However, that relief is temporary and taxing on the body in many ways. There are other ways to deal with stress, which I will get into when I talk about how to crush your cravings. Don’t leave just yet!
Before you indulge in that leftover birthday cake in the break room, drink as much water as you possibly can without vomiting (I’m not joking.) I guarantee you; you won’t want that cake anymore.
How to crush your cravings
Now that you know why you get cravings, how do you crush them before they defeat you and you end up surrounded by empty Krispy Kreme donut boxes?
Here are some tangible tips you can put into action today!
Now that you know why you get cravings, how do you crush them before they crush you and you end up surrounded by empty Krispy Kreme donut boxes?
Here are some tangible tips you can put into action today!
Eat more Protein
The first thing you can try to crush your cravings is to increase your protein intake. The benefits of protein when it comes to crushing cravings is that it keeps you full for longer, takes longer to digest, and boosts your metabolism.
Have you ever noticed that after you eat a giant steak at a restaurant, you can’t even think about dessert? Protein is so dense and filling; it gets you makes too full to even think about anything else.
The digestion of protein takes longer too so that minimizes the chances of more cravings throughout the day.
If you are following a macro-specific Ketogenic diet, you may have to adjust your macros accordingly. Start with increasing protein to 10 grams a day. If that doesn’t help, try 20 grams. It’s hard to overdo it on the protein, especially if you are a woman; you won’t be able to consume that much physically.
Don’t be concerned about “protein turning into sugar.” That won’t happen because your body has better things to do than that. If anything, you’ll pee out that extra protein, but it’s better than eating all of your kid’s emergency gummy bear stash (I’m not talking from experience ????)
Start Prioritizing those Zz’s
Now that you know that lack of sleep causes your body to crave sugar for energy, it’s time to prioritize sleep girlfriend.
Now, if you have a newborn, I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to wait it out. However, if your baby is over 6 months, you should be able to achieve a bedtime schedule that allows you to get adequate amount of sleep.
The term “adequate” is relative, however, 8 hours is ideal. I understand you might function ok on 6 hours but you should still try to aim for 8 hours if you don’t want to experience sleep deprivation-based cravings.
Here are some tips I discovered that help me prioritize my sleep schedule:
Set a bedtime alarm
Before you laugh, hear me out, it’s so easy to find reasons to stay up later than you should. “One more episode of Game of Thrones,” “One more load of laundry.”
Setting a bedtime alarm tells you (and the rest of your family for that matter) that it’s time to go to bed. Until you get into the habit of going to sleep at the proper time, you need an alarm. (don’t snooze it either, I see you)
Put your phone in another room
Aside from setting a bedtime alarm, it will be pointless if you are going to be sitting in your bed aimlessly scrolling through Instagram instead of going to sleep. (guilty as charged)
To avoid that, put your phone in another room. This prevents you from falling into the black hole of social media for 30 minutes and will also reduce the amount of light that is in your face, which interferes with your body’s sleep signals.
Lastly, this tip helps me wake up early as well because I physically have to get up to shut off the alarm, and then, well, I’m up!
Drink a night time, relaxing tea
Drinking nighttime tea before bed helps me relax and allows me to fall asleep faster. There are many teas out there that you can drink just before bed, and they work if you are consistent with drinking them.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Tulsi Rose Tea – this one smells heavenly
Drink water like it’s your job.
So, you know those food cravings sometimes really mean you’re just thirsty. So drink, a lot of water throughout the day.
Drinking water may sound so typical and straightforward, but most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day. It’s one of those things that everyone knows they should do, but they don’t do it.
Here are some tips to help you stay hydrated during the day.
- Drink a large glass of water upon rising (the colder, the better for revving up your metabolism).
- Drink a large glass before each meal (this will also keep you from overeating)
- Take a water bottle with you wherever you go. I don’t go anywhere without my Hydro Flask water bottle (best water bottle on the planet). Having on near me reminds me to drink water throughout the day.
Try Managing Stress by doing something for yourself (for once)
This message is especially true if you are a mom. We, moms, do everything for everyone else but ourselves. Although that is very noble of you, you need to stop if you don’t want those sugar cravings.
I am speaking to myself right now as I am typing this because I recently realized that my body is holding on to stress weight. Yes, that is a thing.
After assessing my diet (clean keto), workout regimen (lift 4x a week, Peloton 3x a week) I realized something is missing. I’m too stressed out, and my body is in flight or fight mode and holding on to weight.
You may be thinking that sounds like you, and if it does, you need to start finding ways to manage your stress levels, or you will never get rid of those cravings and reach your ideal weight.
Here are some things you can do to reduce stress:
Make time for meditation and or prayer. Notice I didn’t write “find” the time, I said “make” time. You will never “have” the time; you need to start making it for essential things.
Start journaling your thoughts and start a gratitude journal. This may sound too fluffy for you, but trust me, it works. I started a gratitude journal a few months ago, and it’s helped me appreciate the little things in life I take for granted and helps me relax a bit.
Take a bath (with headphones on if you have kids).
Taking a bubble bath is one of the most relaxing things you can do. However, it won’t work if you still hear your kids screaming in the bathtub, hence the headphones.
Ask your hubby to watch the kids once a week so you can take a 30-minute bath. I think he can handle his offspring for 30 minutes, don’t you? Don’t feel guilty about it; you’re the only one who birthed them for crying out loud.
Meet a friend out for lunch
Spending time with other adults you enjoy is a considerable stress reliever, especially when there is laughter involved.
Schedule time with your funniest friend and laugh your ass off. You’ll strengthen those ab muscles while you’re at it!
Drink a glass of wine, or two
Wine is great for relieving stress, and it’s healthy for you! If you are following a Ketogenic diet, stick with a dry red or white.
If you want more information on the best options for Alcohol while on Keto, you can read THIS post.
Hit the gym, girlfriend
This is a bonus tip that I discovered that helps me crush my cravings. When you work out, your body releases hormones that keep you from overeating.
Now, before you think to yourself, “I’m always hungry after a workout,” that is not what I am referring to. It’s normal to be hungry after a workout, but you shouldn’t be working out so hard that you are empty after.
Studies show that compared to those who don’t exercise, people that do tend to overeat LESS during the day.
Also, I think there is some psychology involved here as well. Think about it; when you bust your butt working out, are you going to want to ruin it for one slimy donut?
Not worth it. Working out helps you think twice about what you eat later because we all know how long it takes to burn off one single cookie. (like 2 hours of cardio, LOL)
In conclusion, I want you to know that it’s ok to get cravings. We all get them. Don’t believe people when they say they don’t because they are lying to you. It’s in our biology to crave sugar. However, it doesn’t mean that you should let them take over and control your life and ruin your progress.
Now that you know why you get them and ways to crush them, you can make some changes when it comes to your daily routine and habits. Small changes lead to significant results. It won’t be easy at first, but it will be worth it. Promise.