Over eating and cravings are often related to feelings of anxiety, boredom, sadness.
We feel with our gut and its easy to confuse hunger with other sensations, such as anxiety. Cravings feel different from true hunger.
Hunger = irritability, light headedness, growling stomach and it comes and goes often gradually.
Cravings = Very particular with very few signs of hunger but more of a strong urge sometimes felt in the back of the throat, coming on suddenly and feels like an immediate compulsion.
Some foods can become drugs of choice, making us feel better temporarily. Unlike true hunger, psychological hunger is MUCH harder to satisfy.
Reduce cravings with smart food choices.
The enteric nervous system (ENS) is one of the main divisions of the autonomic nervous system and consists of a mesh-like system of neurons that governs the function of the GI tract. The ENS is also called the second brain.
Unlike processed foods, whole foods nourish us without the intense hit of processed foods. Serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters in our brain, to some degree depend on protein, fat and micronutrient levels. If we eat plenty of protein and healthy fat along with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from whole foods, our brains are happy.
Some people consider a “craving” to be something their body needs and in come cases this may be true, for instance, many women crave chocolate, which contains magnesium, often something women are deficient in (see blog around menstrual cycle/female physiology) but the thing is, most women you talk to that say they love chocolate, rarely reach for the 85% dark chocolate, or cocoa nibs because what they want is the chocolate full of processed sugars, which in fact isn’t going to provide the magnesium required anyway - so much for that theory!
Tips to help you deal with cravings:
Craving check list:
What do I expect this food to do for me?
What story and I telling myself about this story?
What else is going on for me right now?
Dopamine - Thrill hormone
Serotonin - Relaxed hormone. Lives in the GI tract, Levels increase as carbohydrates are eaten and can give the “butterflies in my stomach” effect when anxious and the feeling of wellbeing when happy.