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Managing Food Cravings : Physiological and Psychological Cravings!

Updated on August 8, 2017
ChitrangadaSharan profile image

Chitrangada understands how important it is to be fit and healthy. She provides tips on how to enjoy yummy food n still maintain body weight

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself."

--Oscar Wilde.

Now who wouldn't crave for these donuts!
Now who wouldn't crave for these donuts! | Source

Diets And Food Cravings!

© Chitrangada Sharan, May 2014,

All Rights Reserved.

  • There may be many persons, who must have gone on a diet at one time or another.
  • Hundreds of suggestions are available by numerous sources.
  • So there is the water diet, the fruit juice diet, the salad diet, the detox diet, the eat everything in half quantity diet, the eat anything you like diet----and many more.
  • Is dieting a sure way to slim down?
  • Quite the opposite!!!
  • Dieting is a sure way to get fat.
  • Every time you diet and then break your diet plan, you condition your body to accumulate more weight.

What is Craving?


In reference to above, we must also remember the simple fact that it is very depressing not to be able to eat, especially for those people who love food.

And who doesn't!

They suffer acutely from a sense of deprivation and have terrible--terrible cravings for foods they can no longer have. There is a general feeling of depression, guilt and failure.

Food cravings increases the more you deprive yourself of food.

Cravings can be divided into two different groups:

1. Physiological cravings;

2. Psychological cravings.


Chocolate craving
Chocolate craving | Source
Beer/ liquor craving
Beer/ liquor craving | Source

Physiological cravings:

1. The absence of a particular element in the body may lead to a strong desire for certain foods.

For instance---dairy produce if there is lack of calcium;

---or salty foods if the salt is lacking'

---sweet cravings may be due to lack of sugar and so on.

This is quite natural and is indeed healthy sign.

2. A less commonly acknowledged physiological craving may arise, oddly enough, after satisfying your hunger. Many people may sometimes feel a craving for a particular food that is extremely spicy or sweet or has a strong individual taste.

This is because a person who habitually overindulges, may seek to again stimulate appetite because the eating has made it dull.

Thus your body may trick you to crave for food again.

3. Food craving after eating usually happens when you are on a diet. The body being deprived is not getting enough calories for its energy needs. The body wants to get the calories it wants from eating, rather than have to go to the metabolic process of breaking down energy from stored up fat within the body.

4. Another kind of physiological craving is the desire for a certain kind of food at a specific time of day. Cravings for a particular kind of food may be the brain signalling depletion of an important element in the body.

So it is not uncommon to have a morning craving or an evening craving.

5. Another kind of craving arises after having alcohol, which stimulates blood insulin. It can lead people to low blood sugar levels, temporarily. Thus it amounts to desire for food, even if they are not really hungry.

This biological imbalance will reverse itself on its own in a short time.

Comfort eating is due to stress and anxiety
Comfort eating is due to stress and anxiety | Source

Psychological cravings:

1. People who consciously monitor their eating typically overeat when they have their drinks. Cravings held in check consciously, surface in these circumstances.

The best option is to stay away from food and this can be planned in advance. Promise yourself to stay away from buffet table or ask someone else to bring your plate of food. These are useful techniques to deal with alcohol induced cravings.

2. Another kind of psychological craving comes from the feeling of deprivation. The longing for the foods which you might have denied yourself, due to overweight.

Complete cutting out foods, you love may lead to a breakdown of control, due to intolerable cravings.

It will be better to permit small amount of the foods they love, to control this kind of craving. This way weight can be managed in a better way.

3. Another type of psychological craving emerges after eating something low in calories. There is a psychological feeling of being deprived.

Calorie for calorie, people usually do much better eating, a 'little' of something they enjoy, than 'more' of something they do not like.

Keeping a record:


Some people find it useful to keep a record of their cravings and temptations.

In this they note down the time, the place, with whom they were, what they were doing or thinking or feeling at the time the cravings were felt.

Keeping this kind of record for at least a week, can detect and identify patterns, what are those situations that spark off cravings, temptations and the desire to over eat.

#Stress triggers food cravings, especially sweet. When a person is worried or anxious, the hormones get activated which have been discovered in taste cells that identify sweet, bitter, salty or spicy flavors.

#This itself explains why some people turn to chocolates when they are stressed or under pressure.

Try to understand your craving patterns --the time when you crave and the mood you are in when you have cravings
Try to understand your craving patterns --the time when you crave and the mood you are in when you have cravings | Source

Do you have cravings? If at all for what kind of food?

See results

Is there a solution?

Understanding the causes and symptoms will not end the temptations and cravings.

But this is a useful first step!

  • You can choose, not to expose yourself to stimulating foods.
  • You can go to restaurants less often,
  • Decide not to bring chocolates, biscuits, sweets and other foods to your home, for which you have utmost cravings.
  • Avoid going to markets, when you are quite hungry.
  • Do not imagine that it is possible to avoid all situations and every food which tempts you.
  • You cannot decide never again to see food, or never to feel frustrated or depressed. This is where thinking techniques become crucial tools for self direction.

© Chitrangada Sharan 29th May, 2014,

All Rights Reserved.

PROTECTED: PLEASE DO NOT COPY!


Tips to control food cravings, source: You tube

Craving: I would eat this even if I am not hungry!!
Craving: I would eat this even if I am not hungry!! | Source

© 2014 Chitrangada Sharan

Do you have food cravings of certain kind? Please share how you control it in the comments section.

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    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 11 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks mariexotoni for reading and commenting on this hub!

      Many readers have been able to relate to this hub. It happens--sometimes we eat not because of need but because of want. Difficult to deal with this unless we have self control.

      I am so happy that you liked this hub. Thank you for stopping by!

    • mariexotoni profile image

      mariexotoni 11 months ago

      These tips are fabulous and I LOVE that Oscar Wilde quote!! It really resonates within me.

      Thanks for sharing! Will be referencing this hub again. Need to stop tempting myself by purchasing these foods in the first place.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Audrey Howitt, for reading and commenting!

      Glad you liked this hub!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Such an interesting hub--I don't actually have food cravings I think--I love most everything and tend to eat most everything in moderation---

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Mary Hyatt, for your sweet comments and votes! How nice that you don't put on weight!

      I am glad you liked this hub. Now I am craving for a candy bar!

      Thanks!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I have a terrible sweet tooth! I love to bake to satisfy those cravings. I want a candy bar every night. Fortunately, I don't put on weight~~

      Voted UP, etc.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you mariexotoni, for your kind visit and appreciation!

      Most of us have cravings for a particular food. It becomes easier to control those cravings, once we understand the causes. Diverting the mind at that particular time, when the cravings occur can be helpful.

      Many thanks for your votes and share!

    • mariexotoni profile image

      mariexotoni 3 years ago

      Awesome article- understanding the underlying causes of our cravings can help us learn to be more in control. Honestly, anytime I tell myself (in my head), I can't have a certain food, a few hours later I find myself over-indulging in that food. Instead of doing this, I teach myself to focus on other areas or try some new hobbies instead of being food-focused.

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Will share too :)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Pamela Kinnaird W, for your kind visit and positive feedback!

      I agree following through is slightly difficult, especially if you do most of the shopping for home necessities. Building up strong won't power is the only solution.

      Thanks for voting up!

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      I enjoyed this hub. Good points. But the important one for me is 'decide not to bring chocolates....to your home...for which you have utmost cravings.' I can decide this. I decide it almost every day. But it's the following through I have to learn.

      Voting up, useful and interesting.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you teaches12345, for reading and commenting!

      Its good to know that you have control over your cravings. Most women do tend to eat unnecessarily due to stress and anxiety and end up gaining those extra pounds.

      Thanks again for appreciating!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I discovered early in life that stress makes you overindulge in food. I love chocolates, but have learned to eat them in moderation. Your advice is well written.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      You are right aviannovice! The attractive advertisements on TV and elsewhere, to lure consumers is also responsible for the unreasonable food cravings. Significantly they are aimed at attracting children and women.

      I would be interested to read about your study in this regard.

      Thank you for your insightful comments!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There is a way to break those cravings in many cases. Due to marketing propaganda, we have been taught to crave sweets and fried foods. I will go into this in depth later in a study that I have done.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you Lady Guinevere, for your visit and comments!

      You are right that sometimes the cravings are a result of increased stress levels. How it happens, I really don't know but it has happened with me too.

      Thanks again!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Depending on the stress level that I am dealing with I usually want chocolate. Sometimes I crave for sweet and salty foods, but not too often. It's mostly the chocolate.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Devika, for your kind visit and support. I think each one of us have cravings for some particular food. Chocolates is almost universal.

      Glad you liked this hub!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks Vellur, for your kind visit and positive comments!

      This really works, that is avoiding going for shopping, when we are hungry.

      Or keeping snacks or chocolates at home.

      Thanks again for your support!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I sometimes crave good food and chocolates. A great insight to food cravings.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      It is chocolate for me always! Interesting hub. Avoiding going shopping when we are hungry is very important!! When I go out and am hungry I end up eating a pastry or a cake or anything that is sweet!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks midget38, for visiting and commenting!

      Yes, Human beings eat more than they should, due to cravings.

      Have we seen the animals or the birds overeating! No, I don't think so.

      They eat as much as their body requires. And that's why they do not have weight issues.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Ah, this is why we eat as much as we do!!!Useful and sharing!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thank you DaveOnline, for your kind visit and comments!

      I appreciate your views and glad that you found the hub interesting. You are fortunate that you don't have weight issues.

      Have a good day!

    • DaveOnline profile image

      David Edward Lynch 3 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      What you have written is interesting because it's true that we can't always be denying ourselves the food we like but at the same time I try to maintain a balance in eating. I don't have a weight problem because of my thin body type but sometimes I see my stomach sticking out if I eat too much.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks divacratus, for your kind visit and comments!

      I think, we Indians can not resist the many mouth watering options we have of hot and spicy food. Even passing through those streets offering such foods can make you hungry.

      Thanks for voting up!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Hi Ericdierker!

      Thanks for your kind visit and comments. I am also guilty of cravings for chocolates. I avoid keeping them at home.

      Thanks and have a good day!

    • divacratus profile image

      Kalpana Iyer 3 years ago from India

      I don't crave for sweets too much so I guess my body is not deprived of sugar. But I can never get enough of hot, spicy food. Love them! I wonder if this craving is physiological or psychological. Whatever form it is, I always end up indulging :) Great hub! Voted up.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Great hub. I have serious cravings so my home is filled with fruits and vegetables -- not a choice here.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks manatita44, for your kind visit and comments!

      Yes, women love chocolate, including me.

      Glad you liked this hub!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image
      Author

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks billybuc, for your kind visit and support!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Very hard area to control for some. Speaking of which I am now slightly over myself.

      Lots written on the subject, and yes, chocolate is a common one for women, I believe.

      Great useful steps.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      An interesting discussion. For me it is chocolate. :)