By Vanessa Evans a recent ASU Student
Imagine you finish a long hard day of work and all you want is tacos, or cake, or maybe a juicy burger. You’ve been good all day though and you don’t want to ruin your efforts. It happens to everyone, right? It is so hard to fight that little craving, but you are determined. You just can’t stop thinking about it. Well I have good news, more and more registered dieticians are suggesting that you should honor those cravings instead of ignoring them and there is a psychological reason why.
Dietitians say that the more you suppress the craving the more you think about it. Christine Byrnes compares it to “when you were a kid and your parents told you not to do something—making you even more desperate to do that very thing?” That is exactly what you are doing when you try to ignore a craving from of a “bad” food. And further still, you are more likely to eat too much of it once you do get your hands on it, with the mentality of getting it “out of your system.”
Honoring your cravings actually may help you to lead a more balanced lifestyle. Instead of craving cake and saying no to yourself all week until you break down and eat a whole package of Little Debbie snack cakes, you could have honored that craving on the first day you had it, eaten a reasonable serving of cake and moved on with your life. More than likely you wouldn’t have thought about the cake every day like you did when you were ignoring the craving.
Studies have found that people who honor their cravings actually end up eating fewer calories. This falls right in with the intuitive eating trend that is so popular right now. The idea is that people who honor their cravings, enjoy their food more, feel more satisfied, and then pursue healthier foods for the rest of their meals. They don’t look to other foods to curb the cravings that fall short, leading you to eat more and more calories than if you just gave in to your craving in the first place.
Unfortunately, eating has become so disordered for so many of us. Learning to listen to our bodies, honor our cravings, and learning to forgive ourselves when we eat something we didn’t plan to, might just be the key to not letting food run our lives and control all of our thoughts.
Ultimately, learn to not make a craving a habit.
Byrne, C., & Byrne, C. (2019, April 08). The psychological reason to say “yes” to the unhealthy foods you’re craving. Retrieved from https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/why-food-cravings-ok/
Silver, K. (n.d.). Why You Should Just Cave And Satisfy Your Food Cravings, According to Science. Retrieved from https://www.sciencealert.com/why-you-should-just-cave-and-satisfy-your-food-cravings-according-to-science