If you're one of the many people who find themselves waking up with sudden food cravings in the middle of the night, - then you might think that you have a love of food and weak willpower. Unfortunately, that's not good for your health or your waistline.
For those who are trying to lose weight, and sculpt a slimmer stomach, it's essential to start figuring out what food cravings mean. After all, some evidence suggests that common cravings might have more to them than a big appetite.
Following, we'll address a few of the most common food cravings, and what their hidden messages could be telling you, so you can address the underlying problem, and start making the most of your waist compression belt.
What's the Deal with Cravings?
Though it's tough to pinpoint the precise relationship between our bodies and our cravings - things like anxiety, emotion, and stress can all impact the way we crave certain foods. For instance, carb-heavy foods like biscuits, bread, and sweet items can have a calming effect on people suffering from stress - while boosting levels of the good-mood chemical in the brain: serotonin. That's why many people crave chips or bread when they're stressed out.
Sometimes, your food cravings may be a message from your brain, telling how you're feeling, and what you need to do to rectify issues of anxiety and sadness. On top of that, there are certain physiological conditions like type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders that can leave you craving sugary foods and carbs.
1. Sweet Treats
If you find yourself craving something sugary - like candy or chocolate, you might want to think about how healthy your sleeping patterns have been lately. When we're tired, most of us crave carbohydrates and look to them for a quick energy boost - since carbs are our main source of fuel. Simple carbs - like sugar, and white bread, are easier for your body to digest than complex ones - meaning you get a faster boost of energy.
Unfortunately, the sugar high you'd get from meeting your sugar cravings wouldn't last long enough to have much of a long-term effect. Plus, it would banish some of the good things you've been doing with diet, exercise, and your waist compression belt. That's why it's generally better to grab something that's brimming with slow-release energy instead.
2. Crunchy Foods
A dose of trail mix or handful of nuts can be a delicious and healthy snack - when eaten in moderation - but it can also suggest that you're dealing with some form of inner turmoil or frustration. The act of cracking and chewing crunchy foods can momentarily release pent up aggression, but when you stop chewing, your frustration generally returns - which is why many people can easily polish off a whole packet of chips in no time.
A good way to release some of the excess tension that could be spurring your crunchy cravings, is to work your frustration out on a stress ball, or engage in some extra exercise. Working your body will release endorphins to heighten your mood, while helping to get rid of extra strain in your muscles.
3. Creamy Foods
If your food cravings all revolve around soft, rich items like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and ice cream, then your real desire could be to access some "comfort" food. Craving creamy foods generally suggests that you're experiencing worry or anxiety that needs to be soothed in some way.
Since most creamy foods are brimming with extra fat and carbohydrates, they help to boost the serotonin levels in your system, so that you are more likely to feel happy and at peace. While an entire tub of your favorite ice cream is sure to make you feel better temporarily - the chances are that your worries will return when you begin to realize just how many calories you've consumed, and you have to face the guilt of what you've done. Instead of comforting yourself with calories, turn to a foot massage, warm bath, or cozy clothing instead.
4. Caffeine or Coffee
Anytime you feel the draw of an espresso machine or ice-cold soda setting your cravings on edge, there's a chance that you're feeling more than just thirsty. Sometimes, the presence of a craving for caffeine could indicate that you're feeling dissatisfied or discouraged in your current situation, which pushes you to reach for quick fix solutions during the day.
On the other hand, a craving for caffeine could mean that you're feeling dehydrated, as when you don't drink enough water, you're likely to experience lower levels of energy. Try pouring yourself a glass of water, instead of a mug of coffee, and see what happens.
Finally, while food cravings for bread, pasta, and other common carbohydrates typically come from a number of different physiological sources, including low blood sugar levels or high insulin levels - it's more likely that you're actually craving carbs because you're in the middle of a diet that's declared those foods to be off limits. After all, when we tell ourselves that we're not allowed to have something - we usually increase our chances of wanting those foods so much more.
That's why diets that require you to cut an item out of your menu completely rarely work. Instead, your aim in managing your substance intake should be that all foods are okay - as long as they're consumed in moderation. Little bits of what you feel like are often a good idea - as they prevent you from falling off the wagon and binging on unhealthy foods at a later time.
How to Manage Your Cravings
If the cravings mentioned above sound familiar, then you don't have to resign yourself to a life of bowing to your stomach, or mind's every whim. Remember that there are ways you can manage your cravings if you're willing to show some resilience, such as:
- Making sure that you don't establish a habit by cramming your stomach full of chips or cakes at lunchtime every day. Arm yourself with healthy alternatives instead.
- When you're craving carbs, try to opt for the whole grain solutions - as these will give you plenty of slow-release energy.
- Stick your regular waist compression belt routine - that means plenty of water, exercise, and good nutritious foods.
- If your cravings are particularly bad, you can try to distract yourself with something that you enjoy, such as a song, a relaxing bath, or a conversation with a friend.
- Manage your underlying emotions and stresses, and you'll generally find that you suffer from cravings less often.