Have you ever experienced a craving for something so powerful that your mouth actually watered with just a thought of it? You may have even been able to imagine the taste, smell, or texture of what you were craving for.
Why We Crave Certain Foods?
Experts explain that we have something called a “bliss point”, that is derived from a level of sugar, fat, or salt that provides us with a maximum pleasure experience. The foods that have all the three ingredients stimulate a “hot spot” in our brains that intensifies our sense of gratification and pleasure with every bite we take; this makes us crave it even more. Some experts compare these cravings to those of addicts with drugs or alcohol.
Many processed foods have all the three ingredients (sugar, fat, and salt) plus caffeine along with other chemically engineered flavor enhancers and sweeteners, all of which increase our brains response to cravings.
Once we experience this “bliss point”, our brains start to release powerful endorphins like dopamine that create pleasurable feelings which keep us motivated to repeat the behavior.
Our biggest endorphin rush comes from really sweet things like donuts, candy, or high salt like French fries.
The processed foods are more intense and when they hit our blood stream, they create the endorphin high, which cannot be sustained, so we have the desire to eat more. If we eat too much of the ingredients, we can have feelings of withdrawal, making us crave more; this – in turn – makes us feel hungrier. It can take two to three days for our bodies to stop craving our bliss point foods.
When we try fighting our urges and cravings, many times, it can make us desire them more because we are so focused on them.
Gene-Jack Wang, MD the senior medical scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY, found that women were more vulnerable to cravings than men, especially, when exposed to the sight or smell of it. They used a PET scan and found 90% of women can experience cravings several times a month whereas, only 50% of men do.
Change Your Cravings To Healthy Choices
It takes a minimum of 21 days to change a habit. If we can refrain from eating a certain food for a three-week time frame, our taste buds change and we can retrain ourselves to like new more healthy foods.
1. Try Hypnotherapy
The one catch is changing our desire through the mental process and how we feel about certain foods.
Hypnotherapy is a great choice for helping us change our emotional behavior and thought process on what we desire:
- Healthy choices: Instead of craving unhealthy choices like processed foods, high sugars, and greasy fatty foods, you can choose to desire fresh fruits, lean meats etc… It works on a deeper level to help you crave more healthy choices.
- Food Association: You can become more aware of the effects bad choices have on our bodies on a deeper level, equating cause and effect benefits.
- Eating Disorders: Many people eat – when they are not hungry – to fulfill other needs; hypnotherapy can be a great tool to help in controlling those behaviors, where food is an emotional crutch.
Doing some exercises when you crave can cut down on the cravings.
3. Drink Water
Water with lemon or apple cider vinegar has been found to help reduce cravings.
4. Change Routines
If you have a certain routine that creates a situation, making you hungry or stimulating cravings, find an alternative that will help you reduce the cravings.
5. Chew On Gum Or Mints
Keeping your mouth busy with sugar-free gum or mints can help with cravings as well.
If you really want to change your eating habits, be motivated, be aware of your eating behavior, and commit to making the change!