I figured there’s no better way to start off a series of posts on wellness than talking about the name of my blog. You may be wondering what the heck I really mean by “Bite your Cravings”. Especially when I feature recipes to lose weight or make healthy choices. Maybe you didn’t even realize that there was some irony behind this websites name, but I’m a pretty sarcastic person. So, in a nutshell, for me, bite your cravings means outsmart them with something healthier, balance them against each other, basically be in control of them, not the other way around.
I know what you’re thinking now. Don’t cravings imply something terrible? Maybe that’s the problem right there. Why do we automatically think that our cravings are all bad for us? (Well Christine, because I’m salivating over here and it ain’t over a piece of broccoli...)
There are so many aspects that are at play with our cravings: social situations, boredom, drool worthy photos of food on instagram, dopamine, alcohol, feeling sad, those doughnuts in the office kitchen, lacking nutritious foods/highly processed foods, stress, that new restaurant that just opened, sugar, dehydration, working out, celebrations...I could keep going, but you get the point.
All day long we have internal and external triggers on our cravings. Some of these we are in control over, like drinking enough water throughout the day, and some of these we just aren’t, like being addicted to sugar, (it’s a real thing!). These are far too complex to break-down all at once in this one post, but the overarching point is that WE HAVE CRAVINGS. Some are good and some are not so good. However, learning to live with them is vital to our health because I hate to break it to you, but they’re not going anywhere.
If you’ve ever tried to deprive yourself of a specific food (or thing/person), you know that the ONE thing on your mind is that thing. It’s like saying, try not to think of a purple elephant and then getting mad at yourself when you do. This sole reason is why so many diets fail. More specifically fad diets that go to extremes and limit 98% of food options. Remember the grapefruit diet or the cabbage soup diet? Yeah, those were crazy.
But this same idea of limiting all “bad” foods and ignoring every “bad” craving is seen at different scales in every diet approach. This approach of “all” or “nothing” can put you through hell and back mentally several times just in a week. Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s a lifestyle, not a diet”? This is my ultimate chant – because its praising balance.
Limiting foods, especially the ones we love, is a sure-fire way to fail. Scientific research also shows that suppression of cravings is one way to actually intensify them! Replacing them with more nutritious alternatives is a much better approach. Even eating the real deal you love in balanced or controlled quantities is a great approach.
This is why diets like clean eating, macros, and weight watchers work so well & have been around for so long. It’s all about practicing balance or recreating a meal by swapping out unhealthy ingredients for a healthier alternative. This would be like substituting stevia for sugar or avocado for butter.
Personally, I try to stay away from bad vs. good, healthy vs. unhealthy, and if I “deserve” a food. This comparison is a slippery slope for how we talk to ourselves internally. Instead, I try to stay as neutral as possible and simply observe: why I’m craving something and if I can make it more nutritious, if I want to!
Dieting aside, our cravings can also identify something our nutrition is lacking. For instance, many believe that chocolate cravings are your body telling you you’re lacking magnesium. So, assessment could also be key, but in the end, balance is going to help you find that sweet spot in your optimal health - whatever that looks like for you.
So, rewire some cravings, outsmart the rest, but overall embrace your cravings and don’t shun them.
After all, over time you might be surprised to see that your cravings are actually changing. Like maybe that piece of broccoli (sautéed in some garlic and olive oil), actually sounds pretty great right now ????