Cravings – they happen to all of us. As a Health Coach, they can be particularly frustrating because you may feel they challenge your ability to be a good coach. But the truth is everyone gets cravings from time to time. Rather than letting them get you down, approach them with curiosity and, as always, get to the “why.”
Here are four factors that can lead to cravings:
Sleep Deprivation As a busy Health Coach, prioritizing sleep can be tricky, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to reduce the frequency of cravings. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase preference of high-calorie, high-sugar foods. Also, the less sleep you get, the more likely you are to eat, which means not only will the quality of your diet suffer, but the quantity you may eat goes up, too! Aim for about eight hours per night.
Sugar Although some people enjoy including small amounts of sugar in the diet – the more you eat, the more you tend to crave. Research shows that in the United States, added sugars may make up to 17% of total energy intake per day. The American Heart Association recommends that men limit added sugar in the diet to no more than nine teaspoons per day and women limit their sugar intake to no more than six teaspoons per day. To reduce cravings for sugar before they even start, eat a diet based on whole foods and be sure to stay hydrated.
Screen Time Screen time – whether it’s a phone, tablet, or computer – can impact your diet. Frequent food advertisements may influence your cravings; when you see something that looks delicious, it puts the food in your mind and makes you more likely to want to get it. Snacking while watching television or scrolling through social media may also mean you aren’t as focused on what you’re eating, which can result in eating significantly more.
Stress Like sleep, stress has a major effect on your diet. When you’re stressed, it’s natural to turn to diet to offer some relief – this is where the phrase comfort food comes in. In the body’s attempt to find balance, high-sugar, high-energy foods offer a quick boost of energy to help you tackle a stressful situation. But when stress becomes chronic, cravings for simple carbs can be overwhelming. To avoid stress cravings, add a relaxation practice to your day. Consider meditation, deep breathing, praying, or spending time in nature.
No matter what you crave, addressing these factors may help reduce how often you experience them. As a coach, try to approach your diet and cravings with the same patience and understanding as you would with a client.
What tips do you have for managing cravings as a Health Coach? Share your favorites!
Interested in becoming an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach? Learn more here!