What is behind those cravings to eat?

· March 11, 2016
Today we want to speak about a topic that is not always easy. Sometimes we go through periods in our lives where we eat more than is necessary. And not only this. We are urged to eat by an inexplicable anxiety that makes us munch on those snacks, go to the fridge in the middle of the night when we should be sleeping, or visit that snack bar that has those cakes which are so tempting…

Why do we do this? What is behind these cravings to eat? Does this food provide us with happiness that we are not finding in our daily life?

We delved into this issue to find some answers.

Anxious to eat or eating because of anxiety?


“When I’m worried or anxious, I tend to eat more.” Surely you have heard this more than once, and it’s even possible that you have experienced this yourself. These are processes that, on occasion, can become vicious cycles. When we feel more anxiety we eat more but, at the same time, when we gain weight and see how our body has changed, we feel even worse.

This is a very common problem that sometimes makes us ask ourselves the classic questions: “But am I really hungry? Am I going to eat this because my body needs it or only because it makes me happy? Or in order to fill a void that I don’t know how to explain very well?”

Well, in the first place we must tell ourselves that the simple fact that you are asking yourself these questions is something positive, this is a clear indication of wanting to find out what causes this behavior. However, some people do not even ask themselves these questions and keep on eating excessively.

Let us see now what factors are behind the cravings to eat:

  • It could be said that behind the craving to eat there is always an emotional factor, where the food becomes a way of achieving instant satisfaction, of enjoying for a moment something sweet, or a salty whim, something tasty and rich in fat that fills us and delights us for a brief moment. Sweet things help release endorphins which provide us with a small pleasure that sometimes covers these emotional problems.
  • Sometimes, relationship problems have a clear effect on these processes that we have mentioned, where the cravings to eat that causes weight gain. There are some things we would like to tell our partner but we dare not, we are clearly unhappy but we do not really know how to resolve it … And rather than deal with it, sometimes, we take refuge in food.
  • It can also be that we do not feel good about ourselves; we look in the mirror and do not like what we see. This creates anxiety, dissatisfaction and, almost without realizing it, we begin to snack. Because that bag of chips helps us to not think, because the candy in our pocket comes in handy from time to time, because, sometimes, when we cannot sleep at night we get up and get something from the fridge.
  • There are also days when we come home with a lot of stress, with many concerns and worries. We take a bath and immediately we are assailed by an empty stomach that is only eased by that piece of pie, this jelly sandwich, that snack … The anxiety comes into our lives sometimes without us noticing and eating becomes the everyday way for us to relax. It’s that easy. When we offer something to our stomach we find some satisfaction and a certain calm.

How to control the cravings to eat


1. In the first place, logically, we must try to find out the cause of this anxiety or craving. Is it due to work? Do you have problems in your relationship at home? Is there something about yourself that you don’t like? Perhaps this is the moment to take charge, to be courageous and take risks in order to be happier, in order to feel better about you. It’s worth the effort to try.

2. Listen to your body. Do you feel true hunger? Ask yourself this each time that you start to snack between meals, because what your body is really asking for is not food. What it really wants is for you to solve the problems and worries and to stop fooling yourself with sweets and continuous snacks. Your hunger is not real.

3. Breathe. Each time you feel the emptiness of hunger, do a few relaxation exercises. Breathe slowly, place your hand on your stomach and exhale deeply. Do this 5 times in a row and try to relax yourself.

4. Eat things that will adequately curb your hunger. There are some foods that are very appropriate to remove the anxiousness and cravings for food and that can be really useful and even healthy for your body. Take note of some of them below:

  • Oats
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Turkey breast
  • Greek yoghurt without sugar
  • Spinach
  • Infusion of dandelion
  • Infusion of passionflower
  • Almonds

5. Go for a walk. Few things can be as therapeutic as going for a long walk outside. This will help you to put your problems into perspective, to alleviate anxiety, to jump start your heart and to free your mind. After this walk, you will begin to see things from a different perspective. It’s worth the effort to give it a try.