The difference between physical hunger and food cravings
With Christmas rapidly approaching I think 90% (if not more) of the population will start to overeat and indulge in foods they wouldn’t normally touch.
The two biggest reasons for this are:-
- Environment – There are delicious looking foods trying to tempt us everywhere we go. Plus there is a social expectation from friends, family and our peers to join in the celebrations.
- The Weather – For those of us living in the Northern hemisphere, it’s cold, dark and gloomy – and boy, doesn’t a chocolate bar help cheer you up!
What should you do to avoid over indulging?
Firstly, you need to become conscious of whether you have physical hunger or are you just craving food. A brief explanation:-
This usually manifest as a clear physical signal within your body. A grumbling tummy, maybe feeling a bit weak and shaky or for some people it can manifest as an acute headache. These symptoms usually come on slowly but build to a shout from our bodies that we just can’t ignore. When you have physical hunger any food will do.
This feeling is usually associated with our emotions and thereby our brain.
Food cravings come on immediately and are specific to a certain food. If you see a bar of chocolate, you want it, even though 5 minutes ago you weren’t hungry at all.
You might find yourself craving something salty or crunchy and once you start you can’t stop!.
So, how do you actually avoid over indulging?
- Be aware of the physical signs from your body and feed it when it needs feeding.
- Maintain regular meal times
- Ensure you are eating lots of fruit and vegetables to maintain your nutrient levels so you don’t confuse your body into thinking it’s still hungry
- Keep well hydrated. We often think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty.
- When you feel a food craving come on, analyse why. Is it just because you’ve seen a food and now want it, even though you’re not hungry? Is it an emotional craving – are you feeling overly happy or sad? Are you trying to avoid stress or another situation in your life? Are you just bored?
Once you begin to analyse why you want to eat, it becomes easier to think about your food choices. For people wanting to control their weight, this is one of the key strategies for long term success.
This week’s meal plan:
- Chicken breast fillet topped with avocado, prosciutto and cheese with an asparagus salad
- Spanish tortilla pie and salad
- Midweek sausage roast (tray baked sausages with vegetables and potatoes)
- Salmon with green bean and balsamic salad
- Sweet chilli and lime prawn stir fry
- Roast Lamb with pistachio stuffing and all the trimmings
I hope you have a super week. Don’t forget to sign up for the free New Leaf newsletter HERE