We all get food cravings as we grow up. You know the signs very well. The bag of potato chips calling you from the kitchen counter. The tube of strawberry ice-cream whispering at you from the freezer. Your willpower seems impossible to resist these intense cravings. The more you resist, the worst the cravings get. Cravings for certain food don’t mean your body is deficient on a particular nutrient. Food cravings are mostly associated with emotional eating. Your body produces a type of hormone, serotonin that makes you feel happy when we consume comfort food namely cookies, cakes and other junk food.
I experienced intense food cravings especially when I go on a diet in high school. I was dieting for my prom. I didn’t know how the proper way to diet as I had never done it before. Since prom was only two weeks away, I went overboard with dieting. I cut my calories down drastically and eat only one meal a day. I wanted to reach my ideal weight fast and used extreme measures to achieve it. Besides skipping meals, I exercised harder and eliminated carbohydrates from my diet.
The result was a disaster. I managed to reach my ideal weight but I developed an urge to binge eating. I remembered the day I had my first intense food craving. I had deprived myself of carbohydrates for several weeks. It was during prom that I decided to treat myself after a long period of dieting. I munched on a small piece of chocolate lava cake and the reaction was horrible. I couldn’t stop thinking of desserts the whole night. I went on piling plates of desserts throughout the party. When I reached home, I felt guilty and ashamed of myself.
I kept on telling myself that I would stop binge eating the next day. However, tomorrow never comes. I continued to binge on junk food until it formed a bad habit. My binge eating habit continued for about two years. I was desperate to break from this condition and sought help from a therapist. I’m still on the road to recovery and is slowly progressing every day. I’m always trying to overcome my food cravings from time to time. These are 8 steps that I follow to deal with my food cravings:
1. Focus your thoughts on something else when you start to have cravings. Try to think of the list of errands or the upcoming episode of your favourite drama series.
2. Consider the negative health side effects of consuming junk food on the long-term. Eating too much junk food will cause you to suffer health problems namely diabetes and high blood pressure.
3. Switch to healthy snack alternatives that are low in sugar content to avoid the occurrence of a sugar crash.
4. Go for a brisk walk in the early mornings or evenings. Exercising helps to boost serotonin level in your body which helps to fight food cravings.
5. Avoid the food that triggers you to start binging for 21 days. Avoiding these foods for certain duration allow your taste buds to change as you switch to a healthier diet.
6. Don’t deprive yourself of going on extreme diets. Depriving yourself of certain foods will cause you to give in to your food cravings eventually. Come up with a smart eating plan that includes eating more greens in your diet or having your meals in smaller portions.
7. Make sure your diet is balanced and nutritious. Shortage of nutrients in the body is one of the causes of food cravings.
8. Reduce stress in your life. Get plenty of rest and sleep to ensure your body stays energized all the time. This is because a drop in energy level may cause you to grab something sweet as a fix.
Controlling your food cravings is easier when you are able to identify its triggers. Go easy on yourself and trust that your cravings will fade over time.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.