Say no to cravings


Say no to cravings

Fuelling Your Body

Sunday, October 27, 2019

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CRAVINGS are the scourge of the weight loss dieter — aggressively present, attention-seeking, whether night or day, disrupting your peace of mind, health and weight goals.

What are cravings?

Let's look at what cravings are not. Cravings are not starvation. Starvation is a very specific process, brought about by insufficient nutrients, which, if continued, will end in death.

Cravings are not necessarily true hunger, you can have a complete family holiday dinner and still be craving pie and ice cream, although one minute ago you couldn't manage another bite.

A craving is simply a response to a desire for a food item or particular foods. Cravings are a part of your primitive coding — a craving is seldom your friend. In our society, cravings cripple and kill by the millions.

Recognising types of cravings

There are two main types of craving: Psychological/emotional and physiological.

Psychological cravings are triggered by several reasons, including:

• Stress, anger or disappointment;

• Loneliness, boredom or frustration;

• Perceived denial of gratification;

• Lack of sleep, overwork and tiredness;

• Habituations and old routines;

• Family and peer eating;

• Advertisements and signs.

Physiological cravings may be brought on by:

• An ongoing insufficiency of a nutrient, for example, in the case of chocolate craving, that could mean a magnesium deficiency. All deficiencies can be filled by healthier sources, magnesium for instance can be found in nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, beans, and seeds.

• Imbalances in our gut microbiome, that is poor gut health. Your microbiome is supremely important.

• Habituation/routine. If eating at a specific time or place has become a routine, then your body will release a hormone which triggers feelings of hunger (ghrelin), the resultant craving is a product of your own mind

• Addiction. Food and other addictions are a growing scourge in modern societies. Being aware that your craving may be a part of an addictive cycle can go a long way towards management.

• Poor hydration.

• Illnesses.

• Blood sugar issues.

Identifying your craving type

Identifying the cause of your craving can be important in its management.

Psychological/emotional cravings:

• Are sudden and intense;

• Create a desire for a specific food, or specific type of food;

• Demand instant attention;

• Will often result in feelings of guilt.

Physiological cravings:

• Build over time;

• Can be quelled by available foods;

• Feels like it can be satisfied at a later point;

• May or may not cause guilt.

How to manage cravings

As overwhelming as cravings can feel in the moment, they are manageable. It is true that they are difficult to manage, as is evidenced by the current levels of overweight in many developing and developed countries, but you do not have to fall victim to them.

Planning your regular meals or having them planned for you can help reduce the regularity of cravings. Knowing what and when your next meal will be, and exactly where it is coming from are invaluable in curbing how frequent and extreme your cravings are.

• Ensure that you have a balanced diet filled with clean proteins; vegetables; berries nuts, seeds, lentils and peas; fibre and probiotics; and prebiotics.

• Have regular meals.

• Be careful of extreme low-carb diets.

• Season with spices, especially hot and sweet spices, including cinnamon, cayenne, garlic, and cumin.

• Generally, reduce processed foods. Refined foods and refined carbs boost cravings and damage your healthy gut bacteria.

• Be conscious of what you have eaten, and plan to eat — understand that it is all the nutrition you need.

• Don't keep unhealthy, empty calorie foods in your environment.

• Learn to enjoy relaxing, safe options like teas.

• Control night-time eating. Focus on your first meal of the next day. Remember, people do not usually wake up hungry, if sleeping is the real issue, speak with your physician.

Planned indulgences

Delayed or denied gratification can magnify a craving to extreme heights. If you have accepted eliminating unhealthy foods or over portioning from your new lifestyle in the way that a committed vegan accepts only eating plant-based foods, then there is no unfulfilled gratification. But if you are having cravings counter to your goals and wellness, this is a major problem.

The InteKai Eating System, for example, encourages members to discuss and take part in some planned, special occasion eating, and “indulgences” in their meal blueprints.

Cheating sends the worst messages to us, and if you do have cravings, total denial has been shown to result in numerous problems.

So enjoy these allowed meals thoroughly and mindfully — look forward to them, and make the most of them.

Eventually you will experience less temptations from emotional changes, triggers, passing fast food joints and ads, and the random foods people around you are eating.

Avoid placeholders

If you are having an indulgence, go for the real thing. Placeholders, that is, something like the real food but modified in some way, ultimately do not help. The non-fat, artificial sweetener versions of foods are known to be as unhealthy, and ultimately as fat-inducing as their regular counterparts. Have the best one, and enjoy it — but only as planned and when planned.


Most issues spring from our minds. See if you can manage your moods without fulfilling your cravings, find alternatives that are enhancing instead. Consider:

• Even very mild exercise or activity is highly beneficial in hormone, mood, pressure, and pain management;

• Bubble bath;

• Listen to music;

• A hobby;

• Light reading;

• Going for a walk;

• Treating yourself to an outing;

• Visit or speak with a friend/family;

• Volunteer;

• Church/group activities;

• Plan and prepare your environment for conscious deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, and sleep.

Taking care of your body and mind is as important as taking care of your nutrition.


Contact your wellness coach freely and readily for advice and support or let friends, family members, and even trusted co-workers know your goals. Support and answerability are key.


Make a practical sustainable decision and stick with it. Once you mindlessly bend to your cravings, it will easily snowball into a lifetime of suffering.

Think about why and when you are feeling a craving, ask yourself: what am I feeling? What triggered this? Then decide if the food item will fix the underlying issue. Spoiler, it will not.

If depression, stress or anxiety is triggering your comfort-eating cravings, you should readily investigate and accept counselling.

You can't truly control your future until you control your thoughts. Your thoughts direct your life. Decide, in advance, to classify that feeling as a craving, and as you go through your day, say no to cravings.

Now you know why, don't let it rule you. Focus on your next planned meal. It's not about a diet, it's not about weight loss, it's about taking and keeping control of yourself, your wellness and your future.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863- 5923, or visit their website at

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