4 Surprising Causes of Food Cravings


If you had a penny for every single time you had to deal with food cravings… wouldn’t that be great? And not just any food. You know what I’m talking about: chocolate cake, a slice of pizza, that bowl of mac’n’cheese… And I should stop here because these cravings might kick in again.

But how many times have you actually took a step back and tried to see what’s behind these cravings?

Many might come with a scientific explanation, for instance the lack of a certain nutrient in our body.

But let’s get real for a minute

You crave for chocolate and you read that your body actually needs magnesium, which can be found in nuts, seeds or cereal.

Will you honestly say that after eating these healthy foods, your desire for chocolate will simply disappear? Sure, it can happen on long term, but on short term, your mind wants chocolate. And it wants it now.

So let’s take a closer look into you body — and more exactly into your mind — to see those deeper causes of your cravings.

Listen To Your Body. It Talks More Than You Might Think

Cravings are a more delicate and subtle situation than you might think. But learning how to listen to your body, and actually to yourself, will surely help in overcoming those needs and making healthier choices.

So here are 4 surprising reasons for which you can’t stop thinking about some chocolate or some pastry.

1. The pleasure caused by the taste of certain foods. Sure, you might be tempted to say that taste has everything to do with our cravings for certain foods. But actually it’s the pleasure that is responsible with our desire to eat something. And why not train your brain to become more attached to something healthy, rather than empty calories?

2. The need for immediate pleasure caused by food. Strongly related with the previous cause, the need that we have can be simply annoying until…well, satisfied. Your thoughts won’t go that easy unless you go for that piece of chocolate right now. And tell me if it’s true: these needs miraculously tend to grow when faced with the decision of “starting tomorrow, I’ll eat only healthy food”. What if, instead, you would try setting some days or hours when you allow yourself to eat a small portion of your favourite not-so-healthy food? And whenever a craving might kick in, try to delay it by promising yourself that you have a special day set for that.

3. Emotions. Whenever you head for that sweet glazed donut or for that cheese grilled sandwich, ask yourself what are you really seeking into those foods? There is a reason why they’re called “comfort food”. Because it gives us the comfort we need when dealing with sadness, poor self-esteem, boredom. So next time you head for that ice cream box, try to analyze yourself for a few minutes and discover what is it that you actually need.

4. Stress. And not necessarily because you might be more likely to eat more when stressed. When you feel stressed for various reasons (work, relationships, difficulties), your body actually releases glucose in your blood, getting ready for a potential threat. But as the threat is mostly in our minds, and there is no actual danger, the sugar released in our blood will quickly transform into fat. So you might want to think twice the next time you find yourself lost in thoughts about how hard is your job, how many things you need to get done, and so on. Simply take a deep breath and try to acknowledge that feeling instead of grabbing some biscuits.

Overcoming food cravings is just a small piece in getting to know yourself better — both your body and your mind. And it’s a long journey, filled with hard work but also with a lot of satisfactions.

And it’s worth it.

Because when you manage to know yourself and listen to your body and mind, and how they react in different situations, you will be amazed on the results that you can achieve.

It’s a matter of one simple thing: listening. And then you’ll know what to do.

Originally published at Urban Active Sports.