How to combat cravings
Gaining control over cravings starts by recognising that you actually have choice about what and when to eat – you don’t have to consume every item that comes to mind! “A food craving is simply a desire for a particular food and it can be either an emotional desire, psychological desire or physical desire,” Melanie says. “If you can determine what kind of craving it is, you can deal with the root cause of what you’re feeling.” Yes, learning how to decipher the difference is all it takes to conquer cravings and so improve your relationship with food forever. “No-one knows your body like you do, so if you’re craving certain foods, consider how often you’re craving those foods and what’s really behind these cravings,” Melanie says.
“In my practice I see lots of women with emotional cravings for food to help combat stress, as well as those with physical cravings for sweet foods mid-afternoon – the classic time when women typically have an energy slump,” Melanie says. “In both of these scenarios they’re often turning to energy-boosting foods, such as caffeinated drinks, and sugary foods, like biscuits, chocolate and cake.” Whatever the reason, food cravings are common for most women and far less likely to affect men. “Women tend to have more emotional and psychological cravings because we tend to be more in tune with our emotions,” Melanie says. “However, I also believe women tend to be more susceptible to physical cravings because we often have higher nutritional requirements than men, coupled with slower metabolisms.
Planning well-balanced meals to better meet your body’s nutritional needs can quickly help you get back on track. The simplest way is to make sure every meal includes a mix of lean protein and carbohydrates for lasting energy. It can also help to follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which advise eating daily from a wide variety of the five food groups: vegetables; fruit; grains, “mostly wholegrain and/or high-fibre varieties”; protein from lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds; plus dairy foods. For more information, see eatforhealth.gov.au