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What Causes Food Cravings

With my wedding day quickly approaching, I was determined to lose 40 pounds; I had given myself 9 months to accomplish this goal. Time passed without any changes showing on the bathroom scale. I did not know why, but my cravings for fast food had overpowered my desire to be fit and trim on my wedding day! That was the moment I realized the seriousness of my food cravings and their ever-growing intensity.

Talking about food addiction can be touchy. There are some people who believe food addiction and emotional eating are one-in-the-same; they are not. Although they aren’t too far off. The issue can be found in those compelling food cravings that always seem to sabotage weight loss efforts. Discovering what food cravings mean will give us a clue about how to stop them.

When talking about a food craving, we are talking about a purely physical phenomenon. Think about this for a moment: Do you ever crave crisp, raw vegetables during a moment of emotional or mental distress? I didn’t think so; neither do I. There is a reason why food cravings generally are for foods that are concentrated in fat and sugar, and that reason is opioids.

An opioid is simply a chemical that is released into the bloodstream once those sugary and fatty foods have been broken down. These chemicals cause a mild euphoria when they bind to the receptors in the brain that cause feelings of pleasure.

Having been introduced foods that cause the release of these opioids at a very young age (as many of us have), the brain and body get used (in other words, addicted) to them, often signaling for those foods in times of “need”.

Triggers of food cravings are the same things as identified needs. As soon as you sense a food craving coming on, take a few moments to discern the true reason behind that food craving. Could it be that you are angry, sad, lacking physical intimacy, or thirsty? Remember that pacifying a food craving by giving into it is not an answer to the problem. Giving the food craving will actually make the problem worse.

 

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