No Wellness Wankery

49: Can't stop craving chocolate? What your food cravings are really telling you.

February 21, 2023
No Wellness Wankery
49: Can't stop craving chocolate? What your food cravings are really telling you.
Show Notes Transcript

Chocolate is the most commonly craved food, and women are more likely to crave chocolate than men. But why?

Cravings are patterns, they are habits that you formed over time, and it’s time to pay attention to them. Once you identified what a craving means for you, you can break the cycle, change the habit and get rid of the craving.

So let's dive into today's episode all about what your food cravings are telling you.

If you've listened to this episode and you know  what your food cravings are telling you, and yet you feel out of control around more often than not, you’ll get a lot of value from Lyndi's FREE 5-day course to end binge and emotional eating. It will be delivered via email straight into your inbox.

Ps. there is a great blog post on Lyndi's website, if you are wanting to know more. 

Want to feel more in control around food? My FREE webinar has my top 4 strategies to help you stop overeating.

Looking for more support to feel in control around food? I'd love to support you in my Binge Free Academy

If you don't already - come follow me on the gram at @nude_nutritionist (no nude pics, sorry).

Want to share some feedback or have an idea for an episode, I'd LOVE to hear from you - hit me up at hello@lyndicohen.com

00:00:00:05 - 00:00:24:09

Lyndi

Okay. I would like to tell you, your your weight is not the problem. It really isn't. I know you've been made to think your weight is a problem your entire life, but honestly, it's just been a red herring making you focus on diets that really suck and your weight is not. The problem is the title of my new book and I would really like you to read it if you've ever been made to feel like you need to worry about your weight that you're fixating on your weight is going to help you lose weight, which is nonsense.


00:00:24:16 - 00:00:43:16

Lyndi

This is the book you need to read. We tackle body image. We help you with practical strategies to feel normal, relaxed, and freedom around food, which are all fabulous things you also deserve. Please go to my website, Lyndi Cohen dot com and check out my new book. It's available from all great retailers. Please check it out.


00:00:44:09 - 00:01:01:08

Jenna

Hello. This is the No Wellness Wank Reid Podcast. My name is Jenna D’Apice. I join Lyndi each week to discuss the wellness world and something you might wondering about. Questions we answered all here. Lyndi, nutritionist, dietician extraordinaire.


00:01:01:08 - 00:01:22:20

Lyndi

Thank you, Jenna. What a nice ginger cravings is the topic for today because it's a biggie. Yes, all the time. Because the general idea is everything I read in these like nutrition health magazines is like, how do I stop cravings? I feel out of control. These cravings are controlling me. What do we do about it?


00:01:22:23 - 00:01:40:24

Jenna

I read a lot of things in the magazines which I have across my years, and I've made them fact in my brain about like certain cravings mindset and nutrient deficiencies do. I can has efficiencies efficiencies and is this wellness swanky?


00:01:41:13 - 00:01:57:08

Lyndi

Okay. There is zero evidence to say that a craving is due to a nutritional deficiency. However, if you go on Pinterest, you wouldn't be convinced of that because you see all these silly infographics that are like, if you're craving chocolate, it means you're deficient in magnesium.


00:01:57:08 - 00:01:59:06

Jenna

I was going to say magnesium. That's a big one.


00:02:00:17 - 00:02:22:24

Lyndi

It's fake news. That is absolute wellness. I wish a chocolate craving could be cured by magnesium. Wouldn't that be great? It means everyone who had ample magnesium wouldn't crave chocolate. Well, actually, I think that maybe that's not a good thing. I love to, but it means that if you came to me and said, I keep craving chocolate, I could give you a supplement and you go, I don't feel like chocolate anymore.


00:02:22:24 - 00:02:24:18

Lyndi

What an incredible thing this is.


00:02:25:08 - 00:02:27:01

Jenna

Yeah, that's never happened. It doesn't.


00:02:27:01 - 00:02:48:17

Lyndi

Happen. It's not a thing. And so I think there's a whole raft of those where they're like, well, if you're craving red meat, it could be iron. And it may be I think there's some sub subsets where it's like you're pregnant, there might be something in it. But, you know, pregnant women also crave soil sometimes and peak, you know, which is definitely not something that is a deficiency that they need.


00:02:49:01 - 00:02:58:02

Lyndi

So just let's let's pass at this. Any time you hear that it's a deficiency that's causing a craving that is absolute wellness, frankly, it's not something we're going to be subscribing to.


00:02:58:08 - 00:03:12:16

Jenna

Is there some truth in terms of if you're not eating enough meat or you're not eating enough chicken or something like that, and then your body's just like, I feel like that. Is there any essence in your body telling you what nutrients you do need?


00:03:12:24 - 00:03:26:23

Lyndi

I don't think there is any evidence to say that is the case. I have looked into this before and I wish I wish it was. That would be really nice because if that was the case, considering that we barely most people barely get as much vegetables and fruit, that they.


00:03:27:03 - 00:03:28:08

Jenna

Then you would crave those.


00:03:28:09 - 00:04:02:23

Lyndi

You crave, would crave, crave those things you would crave enough protein and all the things that we that we don't crave those things. Sadly, we do crave things that often we crave things about this idea of what causes the craving. We crave things that we've been told that we shouldn't have. So of course, when we have something like chocolates, which is, by the way, when we look at the research, the food that is most often craved around the world, specifically sweet stuff, apart from in some places in the Middle East, in Egypt, I think it is the only place where savory is a more preferred or more for a frequent craving.


00:04:02:23 - 00:04:20:22

Lyndi

But in all other studies around the world, sweetness is the preferred craving. What we see is like, let's say chocolate creates a really nice response in our brain, helps us feel like, Oh, we like this and we like this. So that's one thing where that's going to, you know, we have a chemical response in our brain that drives a craving.


00:04:20:22 - 00:04:34:01

Lyndi

But what we then go and do is we load on the whole bunch of bunch of emotional baggage to something like chocolate. So we know from the research as well that as soon as we create a list of forbidden foods, chocolate, sugar, carbohydrates.


00:04:34:12 - 00:04:35:13

Jenna

Whatever it is, yeah.


00:04:36:02 - 00:04:57:05

Lyndi

We end up craving those more. And when we do have them, that dopamine response to that food is even greater. So therefore it reinforces the party in our brain, reinforces the fact that this is a great food. We then probably eat more, but then we once we try to compensate by avoiding that food, by quitting sugar, this further aggravates this whole issue.


00:04:57:12 - 00:05:04:09

Lyndi

And next thing we know, our cravings are worse by following the traditional advice to help us reduce our cravings.


00:05:04:11 - 00:05:11:21

Jenna

Because I suppose if you are still in the pattern or you have a list in your head of good and bad foods, you never craving things on the good list.


00:05:12:09 - 00:05:34:17

Lyndi

Exactly. There is a link between the foods you crave and the foods you think you shouldn't have. Yeah, just think about that for a moment. Now, one of the interesting things I found when I started Intuitive Eating, where I give myself permission to eat what I wanted, I thought I would just face plant into chocolate old time and pasta and and there was a degree of that, especially in the beginning as I was learning that these foods were no longer off limits to me.


00:05:35:00 - 00:06:08:07

Lyndi

But I guess the surprising thing I found that many people come to me and say is I started craving a salad, I started craving fresh food, or I so craving home cooked meal or something that I hadn't really craved before. But once I knew that everything was allowed, I didn't. And that this my emotional response to those previously forbidden foods had dulled a little bit, I did start to get cravings that were more varied and more and more balanced and interesting, and I think that does speak to this idea that cravings are certainly an innate part of being human, so we can't eliminate them completely.


00:06:08:07 - 00:06:13:14

Lyndi

And that's an important thing to accept. But also we don't want to be aggravating them and making them into more of a thing than they currently are.


00:06:13:23 - 00:06:16:22

Jenna

So we can't stop cravings we need to.


00:06:17:14 - 00:06:38:13

Lyndi

Work with them, work with us. I mean, more research on this is also says that women experience more cravings than men. I think there's certainly a link between cravings and menstrual cycles, hormonal fluctuations. I know that week before my period. Oh, my goodness. Cravings are intense. Hunger is higher than usual. This is normal. Okay.


00:06:38:15 - 00:06:41:00

Jenna

And allowing yourself to eat because you're hungry. Yeah.


00:06:41:00 - 00:06:59:16

Lyndi

And I think that the more we try and fight these things, you know, you by saying I'm not allowed to have sugar this week, I think that I can aggravate it more. So just becoming mindful of it going, you know what, this week I might have a little bit more sugar than I normally have because there is a natural ebb and flow in my life, in my cycle, and I'm allowed to just go with that.


00:06:59:16 - 00:07:15:13

Lyndi

The more we try to fight against it, the harder it is. I do believe in creating like a healthy environment at home. So for me, you know, I like to have my my options, like where it's front of my mind and then I end up eating those foods. I do feel like if anything, I have my house is is chocolate.


00:07:15:13 - 00:07:31:15

Lyndi

It does tend to be the only thing I eat simply because it's there. So let's talk about this idea of tolerance levels as well, because that's kind of an interesting thing. When people do something like they go and they quit sugar, they often say, I think my cravings have stopped. I don't crave sugar. And this is backed up by the research.


00:07:31:15 - 00:07:48:09

Lyndi

I can confirm if you quit these foods, if you go on a really low salt diet, if you go on a sugar free diet, as long as you stick to that diet, you'll probably notice that you don't have cravings for sugar. The problem is that majority of people cannot stick to that.


00:07:48:17 - 00:07:49:04

Jenna

No.


00:07:49:05 - 00:08:11:06

Lyndi

So there's some psychological thing that happens where you go. I would at some point like to have chocolate at someone's birthday. I do feel like having a piece of cake or I have a piece of fruit which is not allowed when you quit sugar with no. And and then you have this thing and now because you've emotionally loaded on this shame around sugar, that response is so much greater.


00:08:11:06 - 00:08:27:14

Lyndi

So when you look at the research is going to say cutting out these foods reduces cravings. And this is true. However, I don't think it's a sustainable long term approach. If you say I can quit sugar for the rest of my life, I say, good, good for you, wonderful. You don't have to deal with sugar cravings. But if you're like most of us, what I would say to use accepting that sugar cravings can be a normal part of it.


00:08:28:01 - 00:08:53:01

Lyndi

We and and just kind of working with that and not eliminating and making it more of a problem I think there's kind of also the traditional diet advice says when you crave something sweet, can you go for a piece of fruit and unpack that? Because I think sometimes it's diet culture and sometimes it's not. Yeah, because I think what makes something wellness angry or what makes a diet culture or what makes it a healthy habit is very much up to your internal response to that.


00:08:53:10 - 00:09:07:17

Lyndi

So I'm now at a point where if I do feel like something sweet, I genuinely very excited by fruit. I really I really especially now of like stop forcing myself to have low sugar fruits and I let myself like if I were to have an entire mango, eat an entire mango, like it's no big deal to me. Yeah.


00:09:07:17 - 00:09:18:06

Lyndi

The idea of eating in time mango is very exciting to me. So it doesn't feel like you saying to me if you feel like some sweet have mango is a restriction. It doesn't feel like diet culture, it feels like yum.


00:09:18:06 - 00:09:24:18

Jenna

But if you're really stops early on the path, then that could really feel like a role.


00:09:24:18 - 00:09:41:12

Lyndi

Exactly. So so I can I can say if it doesn't and you feel like, you know, there are sweet options that are you know, they're also loaded with nutrients. And I also think that's a nice thing to have. And I have I have chocolate in my house. I have mangoes in my house. I have the full spectrum of options there for me.


00:09:41:18 - 00:09:50:02

Lyndi

And I know that both are available to me and now this many years on from dieting, genuinely that mango is deeply appealing to me.


00:09:50:21 - 00:09:58:23

Jenna

So I think at the end of the day we get into this craving spiral if we don't fulfill the craving and just let it be and move on.


00:09:58:23 - 00:10:14:21

Lyndi

Exactly. So let's not get into the craving spiral of can't have it, then you end up having it that you want more of it. Let's stop that from happening. Let's acknowledge when we have a craving. Sometimes what you really need is to just eat the thing. So this is my last thing to tell you is sometimes what you really crave is chocolate.


00:10:14:21 - 00:10:18:11

Lyndi

And then you're like, Well, I'm going to go for a healthy option. I'm going to have a handful of nuts.


00:10:18:22 - 00:10:19:14

Jenna

You don't want, not.


00:10:19:19 - 00:10:41:03

Lyndi

Handfuls of nuts later. You're going, Well, maybe I just need fruit. So you have a piece of fruit now, not quite hitting the spot that you get the peanut butter out. You do all these things. Eventually you eat the damn chocolate and you should have just even less chocolate in the first place because one of the best ways to satisfy a craving is to eat that food, eat with enjoyment, not feel guilty about it, and then move on with your life.


00:10:41:17 - 00:10:53:12

Lyndi

That way it doesn't control you. We don't allow that craving spiral to take over in our lives. The maybe why does it take me 572 snacks to realize I should have just had the thing I felt like in the first place.


00:10:53:12 - 00:11:18:12

Jenna

So if you have been wondering about cravings, I hope that it's answered some of your questions for you. This has been no illness. Wankery As always, if you'd like to leave a review, Ratings and Lyndi message on Instagram Nude_nutritionist tell your friends. Yes, please do. And we'll catch you next time.


00:11:18:12 - 00:11:37:02

Lyndi

Hey, everyone. And before we get started in the podcast episode, I just want to tell you a little bit about how I might be able to help you if you want to get a healthy relationship with food because oh my goodness, there's a whole lot of stuff that's working against us all the time. Hello, diet culture. So if you ever wanted a little bit more personalized support, check out my program.


00:11:37:02 - 00:11:52:16

Lyndi

Keep it real. Especially if you're struggling with binge eating. If you feel like every Monday you're starting from scratch, if you feel like you know what you should be eating, but you just can't stick to it. If you feel like you want to eat healthier. But honestly, it just feels like you're out of control through your face planting into the fragile pantry.


00:11:52:24 - 00:12:10:00

Lyndi

I can help you. So you binge either? I really do. I do get it. So check out keep it. Really use the code podcast to get 20% off if you if you get it via the the website. And also I've also got my app called Back to basics. Back to basics is an app to help you be healthy without dieting and will help you work on your body.


00:12:10:00 - 00:12:31:08

Lyndi

Image gives you a whole bunch of hundreds of recipes that are super quick and easy to make, so you can just be healthy without having to get obsessed with that at all, without it taking over your life, because that's the way it should be. Plus, you get mindset support from me inside the app. You also get a whole bunch of workouts that you can do at home while you can still just do your normal workouts.


00:12:31:18 - 00:12:42:06

Lyndi

But check out back to basics. You can get it for free for seven days. Check out back to Basics on my website, use the code again podcast, get 20% off and I'd love to see in there. I'd love to.