Cravings: Bet You Didn’t Know That…

woman eating a big bar of chocolateWhy do you want chocolate every day? Why exactly can’t you just eat one serving of tortilla chips?

While there aren’t any clear-cut answers, there is some insightful research and tips on how you can better take charge of those cravings.

1. Your cravings may be more mental than physical.

There are many, many theories about the underlying causes of cravings. Some experts say that certain foods trigger the release of endorphins in our brains, while others attribute our food urges to hormonal changes, eating habits and even our genetic makeup. And while there are definitely physiological reasons why we crave food, a lot of it is also mental, says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love. So how do you satisfy the urge to eat if you’re not actually hungry?

When you get a craving, try to think it through, suggests Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Food & Mood. Ask yourself what feeling is triggering the craving, such as boredom, stress or sadness. Or consider the type of food you’re craving, which can often clue you in to your emotional needs, says, Dr. May. For example, if you’ve just had lunch but still want to eat a brownie, think about how the sweet treat typically makes you feel (excited, relieved, comforted, etc.) and address your real needs instead.