It’s 3pm. You’re trying to get work done, but all you can think about is chocolate. At first you try to ignore it, but that only seems to make things worse. After waiting for what seems like an eternity, you inhale a candy bar in three seconds flat and then feel guilty for the rest of the day!
If this sounds familiar, don’t fret. Food cravings, especially for women, are a real phenomenon and are often based on real physical changes. Food cravings are our body’s way of telling us to eat a specific food in order to feel and function better. When we listen and appropriately respond to food cravings, we can actually help lift our spirits when we’re down, boost our energy when we are fatigued, fuel our bodies when we need nutrition and even calm our nerves when we feel stressed. The secret to dealing with such urges is to know the difference between a biological craving and an emotional craving.
Biological food cravings make sure women have enough body fat for fertility, proper nutrition for a healthy body, stable blood sugar levels for sustained energy, and that we have balanced brain chemicals for stable moods. More cases than not, women crave what their bodies need. For example, when you crave chocolate, you body may be in need of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and other essential nutrients found in chocolate.
Emotional cravings, on the other hand, are based upon what your “heart” needs, not your body needs. With an emotional craving, you aren’t truly hungry and the craving can be satisfied by other means. Begin to learn the difference by regularly assessing your body’s signals for hunger and satiety. For example the next time you sense a craving, put it to the “15 minute” test. Instead of eating something right away, drink a full glass of water and wait 15 minutes. If it’s an emotional craving, chances are it will go away. If not, don’t struggle, just try satisfying your craving with a small amount (1-2 bites) of the food your body is asking for.
If female food cravings are an ongoing challenge for you, it’s time to put them in perspective. They are not a sign of weakness or lack of will power; they are part of what makes you the special and unique woman that you are. Happy Valentine’s Day!