I often have clients who struggle with cravings in my health coaching practice.
Cravings can make or break your wellness and weight loss journey! Clients often feel like they have no control over their cravings and that willpower is the only way to cope.
Well don’t be fooled because it is vital to embrace the fact that relying on willpower alone will most often result in relapse. Willpower is a very finite (limited) resource.
Cravings for foods high in fat, sugar, and/or salt are the most common.
There can be a wide range of reasons why people crave certain foods including dehydration, chemical dependence, not enough calories, skipping meals, stress, depression, triggers and even a potential nutrient deficiency (such as citrus for vitamin C).
I find in my practice that chemical dependency on fat, sugar, and/or salt is very common.
This dependency often begins with stress, depression, or other triggers and these foods are used to increase dopamine in order to feel better short term (similar to drugs and alcohol).
1 – OVERCOMING TRIGGERS
Triggers are stimuli (people, places, or things) which bring on cravings. It is important to work with a coach or in some cases, a counselor, to help identify and overcome triggers.
A great way to overcome triggers is utilizing coping mechanisms such as replacing the undesirable behavior (i.e., eating ice cream while watching TV) with a healthier one (i.e., going for a walk instead).
Additional coping mechanisms include engaging in activities such as exercising, doing something creative, listening to calming or happy music, meditation, joining a support group, having healthy foods available (i.e., fruit instead of refined sugar), etc.
In addition, avoiding the trigger all together can be an important step. This can be difficult which is why it is so important to have support from a professional and a positive community to back you.
Additional coping mechanisms include utilizing affirmations and/or mantras, learning a new skill or musical instrument, going outside in nature, gardening, journal writing, etc.
2 – CALCULATE APPROPRIATE CALORIES
During a time of calorie deficit (i.e., dieting), it is also important to make sure you are eating enough calories by calculating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), plus accounting for your exercise (Total Daily Energy Expenditure – TDEE) and not going too long in between meals.
3 – HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS
If you find yourself still having a hard time with controlling your appetite, I recommend trying an herbal intervention to get you over the hump.
Formulating a plan for triggers and relapse that is tailored specifically to you is the key to long term weight loss and wellness success.
-Kimberly Garrett, CHC, CPT, FNS, BS
Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC https://www.livestrong.com/article/490211-sugar-salt-cravings/