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BeingGreen: Hunger vs. Cravings.

April 4, 2009

Dang, it’s amazing how a day of formatting your computer can throw off your schedule.  This technically should have gone up yesterday (of course), but it ended up getting delayed.  Don’t even ask where iLOL’d went.  It didn’t tell me.

Anyway, I’mma talk about food some more.  This time: learning the difference between hunger and cravings.

I have this problem a lot.  I’ll have a day or so when I consume more bread than usual (read: any), and it throws me completely off-guard.  For the next couple of days, I have to deal with grain cravings.  And it doesn’t matter what I eat.  I can have two eggs, a sausage patty, and an orange, and I’ll still be getting this message from within: “Hey!  Did you eat your BREAD yet?”  So I get the false impression that I’m still hungry and attempt to stave it off with soy nuts and whatever else.

It just doesn’t work.

No matter what kind of diet you eat, you’ve probably come up against this kind of thing.  Consume something that used to be a staple in your diet – be it bread or soda pop – and your body reacts as though it were welcoming an old friend.  “Hey, welcome back!  You should hang around forever!  Wait, what do you mean you have to leave?  Come baaaaaaaaaaaaack!”  Indulging the cravings doesn’t help.  The only way to get rid of them is to ignore them.

But how do you tell the difference between a craving and hunger?

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious.  You’ve just eaten a full meal, and your body is niggling you to eat more; it’s going to be fairly apparent that you don’t actually need more food.  Other times, not so much.  Suppose the last time you ate was a couple of hours ago.  How can you know for sure?

Finally, I devised a test that seems to cover it.

It’s pretty simple.  Before eating something, I consider consuming different foods.  The thought of omnomnomnominating a piece of bread will often make my body send off pathetic cries of deprivation.  But the thought of eating something richer – like a glass of milk or a dish of vegetables – will elicit the opposite response: “No, don’t!  I couldn’t eat another bite!”

If that’s the case, it’s definitely a craving.

So, what to do if you’re not hungry but craving some kind of food?  Quite simply: ignore it.  Remove yourself from the area of temptation (i.e. the kitchen).  Get busy doing something that is either mentally or physically engaging.

Or just quit buying the food that’s giving you the cravings in the first place.

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