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Managing Food Cravings - Group Talk - Week Commencing 24th June 2024.



We all experience food cravings from time to time, when we are not physically hungry but emotionally, psychologically and even situationally hungry, the desire to eat pulls us towards consuming excessive amounts of calorie dense, nutrient-poor, delectable foods; for example chocolate, cake, ice-cream, pizza, cheese, crisps...


We are not alone its estimated 90% of the Worlds population get food cravings.


Managing food cravings is possible, by making effective changes.


Start by ensuring we fuel our bodies with a healthy balance of nutrients not missing out any of the categories, i.e. Protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre. Establishing that we are eating our deficit calorie amount, not too many and not too few.


Its important that we still include foods that are not nutrient dense, so not to create a deprivation and in turn a craving, remembering all food can be enjoyed in moderation. A study review in 2020 of 8 food deprivation studies, reported 7 of the studies observed increase in food cravings, for foods that where deemed off limits.


Food cravings is more intense in those that don't get enough sleep, as our brain in particular the frontal cortex increases our desire for highly palatable, calorie rich foods often nutrient deficient. If tired get some sleep, I know easier said than done.


Many studies report those that are stressed find themselves reaching for certain high calorie foods due to increased food cravings which are thought to be linked to the hormone system related to appetite control, Ghrelin and Leptin. Try reducing stress by practicing mindfulness techniques or removing yourself from the situation.


If you are struggling with boredom its finding a distraction that easily to hand, rather than reaching for foods, shifting your attention to become occupied, for example, putting laundry away, gardening, colouring, sudoku, crossword, knitting etc... can distract you until the craving has dispersed.


If craving food try distraction techniques for example;


  • waiting 10 minutes

  • finding a task to do

  • being active

  • drinking water

  • mindful eating


Always be kind to yourself we are not alone and its better to have all foods in moderation, so not to crave foods through deprivation.


Promote our mental health as well as our physical health by addressing stress, sleep deprivation, boredom... limiting food cravings to soothe the emotions.


Practice self-compassion by reminding yourself of your nutrition, weight and health goals and that food cravings are just a thought and its how you decide to respond.


Regrettably, repeated food cravings can lead to overeating, affecting our weight loss journey, if this is happening, take time to discover what is leading to your cravings, allowing you to address the situation to getting you back on track to reach your goals.


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