Quite often, I hear people talk about how they are addicted
to certain foods, and especially carbohydrates and sweets.
Some studies suggest that “consuming highly
processed, refined carbohydrates can cause excess hunger and stimulate brain
regions involved in reward and cravings.” While other studies have shown that
food addiction does not exist.
conflicting research on food addiction it’s hard to make sense of it all.
I recommend start by looking at your diet and identifying your
trigger foods and timing of when you tend to crave these foods. I suggest assessing if you are
physiologically hungry or if you are craving these foods based on feelings and
Physiological hunger is what I call “true” hunger in which
your body needs fuel in the form of calories, from your food, to give your body energy it needs. I tend to
recommend not going more than 3-4 hours at a time without eating something and
staying mindful while you eat your meal or snack and stop eating when you start
feeling full. True hunger tends to start
with a feeling and gets more intense as time goes on.
Craving foods based on how we feel tends to come out of
nowhere and begin as an intense feeling of hunger. We tend to desire foods that have some sort
of meaning to us or it can be related to food preference as well. I recommend sitting for 15 minutes with these
feelings and observe the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing in that
moment. After 15 minutes, if the craving
is still there, go and eat the food that you are craving in a reasonable amount. After finishing the meal or snack, check back
in with how your body is feeling and ask yourself, “am I full, did that satisfy
my craving am I needing something right now and how is my mood right now?” These questions can help you start
identifying if you are craving foods related to a feeling, like anxiety or
boredom, rather than for true hunger.
I also recommend setting up an appointment with me to help
you work through the process of having a healthier relationship with sweets and
other trigger foods.