Hello. Welcome to Foolish Insights. We are the Foolish Couple, Andrew and Minna, nutrition coaches and success mentors. We created FoCo Academy to guide and mentor people like you to achieve true health and healthy relationships through nutrition, exercise, mindset and lifestyle changes.
To wrap up our series on Brain...
Yesterday we talked about our second brain, our enteric nervous system in our GUT, which is why we really do have ‘gut feelings’. So how can we tell whether we are truly hungry, meaning that we are physically hungry and need to get food into our bodies, or are we just emotionally hungry?
We may be having cravings because we are sad, anxious, upset, angry, or bored.
We’ve all seen it in movies. The guy breaks up with the girl. The girl gets very upset, cries and pulls out a tub of ice cream and starts eating it. Do you think she is really, physically hungry? Or is that just emotional eating?
How do you distinguish hunger from cravings?
First. Hunger is not specific. When you are hungry, you just need to eat. Any food will do to fuel your body.
Cravings, on the other hand, are very specific. You crave for pizza, soda, coffee, potato chips, or ice cream. When you have cravings it is generally a certain kind of food that you want.
Also, when you are physically hungry, you may also see physical signs such as a growling stomach or light-headedness.
If you have cravings that are driven by your emotions, you usually don’t get these signs. It’s usually just an urge to eat certain foods.
Physical hunger also tends to come and go. We feel hungry for a while and then we forgot about it, and then that feeling comes back more intense and the hunger gradually becomes more intense and more hungry telling you to feed your body.
Cravings are very different. Cravings tend to hit us suddenly, like a compulsion.
Where do cravings come from?
You see, our brains are highly effective project managers. They take inputs from various sources such as our body fat, our gastrointestinal tract, our sensory organs, and other body systems. But it also takes the input from our emotions, our physical feelings, our beliefs, and our thoughts. And sometimes, these various signals get jumbled up and we confuse hunger with our emotions.
The best way to reduce cravings is to develop a habit of making smart food choices. The more you learn to love real, whole, unprocessed foods, the less your cravings will come back and visit you.
You should know that having cravings are normal. It doesn’t mean that your brain is not working. It doesn’t mean you are weak in any way. It’s just a part of life.
So if your cravings are not too intense, try to distract yourself by doing something else or drinking some water. If your cravings are very intense and you feel that you must have that pint of ice cream, try limiting yourself by picking up the smallest carton of ice cream you can find, the smallest bag of chips, or something like that. You get the idea.
If you’re having constant, powerful cravings, you may have a hormonal imbalance or nutrient deficiency. So consider working with a nutrition coach like us or someone else that can help you.
We hope you loved our short Brain series; you can learn more about our brains through our BARS system in our Focobody360 program. Check it out here.
Love what you live and live what you love
PS: If you've missed part 1 to 3 of our brain series, here's the links:
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