Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Not all cravings are the same

Most people get cravings of different kinds during their days or weeks. Some cravings are more intense than others and the idea of the food doesnt go away until you actually eat it, and others are just a short time craving where it goes away after a while or after just eating something, even if it wasnt the actual food you craved.

The different cravings can mean different things and be due to different reasons.
ANATOMY OF YOUR CRAVINGS

Not eating enough is a common cause of cravings and can often cause you to crave high calorie foods and often in the evening when you are more tired. Then the best thing is to eat a proper meal or big snack to refuel yourself and give your body all the energy and nutrients it wants and not just eat a whole chocolate bar that might have the same energy amount you need but not the nutrients you need.

Also lack of sleep and tiredness is a huge factor to cravings... then the body is tired and wants sleep but as you arent sleeping, it will resort to sending out cravings for energy dense food that will give you energy. So high calorie foods are often what you want as well as sugary foods if you havent slept enough.

There is also boredom cravings where your mind just wanders what is in the fridge and pantry... thinking about food and wanting to eat because you have nothing better to do. You may just be watching TV and then you remember that you have chocolate in the pantry or some ice cream lying in the freezer and even if you arent hungry you cant stop thinking about that food. However after a while that thought will go away and all you need is some distractions and to stop thinking about the food.

And then there can be cravings for certain food because there is a vitamin or mineral in it which you need. These types of cravings can be strong and often for certain food or a food you may not even like. For example at times i can get these really strong cravings to drink soy or oat milk right from the packet - something ive never done and would never normally do. But in the past the cravings would be so so strong for some reason and so i would just drink from the carton and i could easily drink half the carton at once.... and then the cravings went away. My theory is that maybe my body needed calcium or iron or some other vitamin that was in the soy/oat milk. Those types of cravings are rare now a days but in the past i got them more often and that was back when i didnt eat as varied or as much. But also i once got extreme cravings for raisins, dark chocolate and oat milk, the cravings were so strong and so all i could do was eat those 3 things and that intense "i need these foods/cant stop thinking about them" went away and my theory is that it might have been iron i needed but i could be completely wrong, maybe i just needed extra energy!!

Not all cravings are the same and not all cravings need to be listened to. Some boredom cravings or mindless thoughts about food can lead you to want certain food. Or maybe you see pictures and recipes of certain food and begin to want it... and thats ok, thats human and normal and its fine to listen to those sometimes and boredom eating happens. But it shouldnt be a daily thing. You should not be boredom eating everyday or getting very strong and intense cravings... if that is the case i would try to figure out 1) ways to distract yourself so you dont eat out of boredom and 2) find out why those strong cravings arise. Is it a certain type of food or just food in general you want. Is it high fat or very sugary foods? Does the craving go away after eating in general or only when you eat the food? Is it a regular craving.... and if its different foods is there something those foods have in common?

Strong cravings can be a sign of something so if they are often or very persistent then maybe try to figure out why.  It can be a symptom that you lack a vitamin or mineral or maybe that you arent eating enough.

Certain cravings can also arise from hormones and what you crave can vary from person to person. Some just crave more food and high calorie food while others might crave specific foods.

Also dont mix up cravings with binging or eating due to emotions. Those arent the same... the tye of food thoughts and cravings when you binge/about to binge arent the same as just boredom or due to needing certain foods. If you binge on food then its best that you seek help from a proffessional, but also try to work on what triggers the binges and how you can prevent them and stop you from binging, ways to distract yourself.

Which cravings to follow and which to not? The ones that stem out of boredom or mindless thoughts about food, i would suggest not following them (of course it does happen that you boredom eat... it happens to most people!!!), and ones that are very intense or last a long time or only go away when you eat that certain food then maybe try to figure out the reason that its just that food or food group you crave.Cravings are all in the head and some go away once you distract yourself but the ones that persist no matter what, they might have more of a reason behind them apart from that "the food tastes good."

You can read more in the links below:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-facts-about-food-cravings#1
https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9531/5-reasons-why-we-have-cravings.html 
http://www.rd.com/health/diet-weight-loss/cravings-meaning/

The chart below might not be fully accurate.... but i'll post it nonetheless.

Related image

16 comments:

  1. Brilliant -- so helpful! Thank you, Izzy!

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  2. What foods would you recommend I include in my diet to help stop hair loss? I already take a daily multi vitamin and a probiotic.
    Many thanks!

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    1. Healthy fats i.e nuts& seeds, avocado, oils, salmon/makrill (If you eat fish) can be good. But otherwise enough calories and patience. Eat varied and enough, but protein and healthy fats can help.

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  3. Just to comment on that picture you posted at the bottom of this post about replacing cravings from an outside source so obviously it's not your fault, but like sometimes when you crave carbs it's because you need carbs not more nuts or whatever. Like yesterday I had a nutty salad thing for lunch and then by afternoon snack I really kind of needed some more filling style of food so I had some bread. Carbs can also be high protein if you have wholemeal pasta and bread so it can be quite good to have them and not replace them.

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    Replies
    1. Yes of course. Like i wrote above the picture that it's not 100% accurate. Carbs are important. :) i.e if you really want bread or pasta, frying an egg or eating zoodles with avocado most likely won't make that craving go away!

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  4. This post was brilliant - thanks for writing it Izzy

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  5. I find it really interesting to read about cravings because I rarely experience them....even before I had an eating disorder! I do get them on occasion, but they're usually for things like broccoli or salt.
    My dietician talked to me about the differences between feeling "full" and feeling "satisfied", and that distinction has made a major impact on my ability to listen to my body.
    For instance, I just finished breakfast, which was a slice of bread, a vegan protein smoothie, and 1/2 a carrot. I feel full, but I still have this gnawing sensation in my stomach that just wants something else. But I'm not sure what! And I hate the feeling of having over-eaten.
    I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but maybe you could write something about full vs. satisfied?

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  6. I think this is so interesting. People need to learn to listen to what their body wants! In today's society we are surrounded by a "dieting" culture that teaches us to eat fat-free sugar laden products, less calories, and more artifical sweeteners...no wonder people get cravings for high fat/high calorie foods (i.e pizza, ice cream, chinese food etc.) when we deprive the body of essential nutrients we will crave the "unessential" to fulfill those requirements.

    For about a month I ate fruit and yogurt for breakfast because that was what I wanted and it was quick and easy...after I got tired of that I started eating something else for breakfast for a little over a week and no yogurt during that time. Long story short, after having yogurt two days ago I have been having a yogurt kick and can't get enough of it!
    So in reality, listen to your body. If it is telling you to eat ice cream or pizza check it out. Maybe you need more calcium or fat foods in your diet (looking at you avocado) or maybe you just need to have that slice of pizza. Everything in moderation.

    "Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it."
    ~Anonymous~

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    1. This is so so true. I mean we eat for energy and for nutrients. I dont really understand all the kcal free foods because i mean what is the point of it really... or i understand them, but i dont think that they should be the majority of a persons diet like they are for some. I do eat sweetners and in the past i did use kcal free sauces and such, but i think that they can be a small part of your diet but shouldnt replace actual food. Because if you replace real food with a bunch of chemicals and low kcal/kcal free food it will just lead to cravings. Instead eating whole foods or just eating that pizza when you want it can stop you from then eating two whole pizzas at once because you have deprived yourself of it for so long. I wish more people would realize this though... Listening to your body - if signals and hormones etc are in tune, then your body will tell you what you need!

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    2. Exactly. I find it is much easier to binge on food (regardless on whether it is a healthy food or not i.e. bananas, peanut butter, pizza, watermelon, broccoli etc.) when you deprive yourself of it vs. allowing your body to let you know how much you need and being aware of when you have had enough.

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  7. Thank you izzy! I realised that my cravings/binges arise from eating small meals. My stomach is kind of small so I get full easily most of the days. I realised that even after I eat lunch, I find myself wanting to eat more even though I'm full so I keep eating breadsticks or cheese mindlessly and it doesn't make me feel good. Perhaps i need to add more nutrients like proteins.. I eat loads of veggies already! Thank you again!

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  8. I don't claim to be a dietitian or even a nutritionist, but would you be able to give me an example of what you eat (normally) for lunch, or even a full day. Sometimes our diet looks perfectly normal and healthy to us and it may be helpful for an outsider to look at it and give suggestions on improvements or even what nutrients/minerals/macros could be missing!

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    1. Haha what? You mean that *you* or others comment about my intake? I rarely post what I eat in a day because everyone needs different amounts and I don't think it's necessary to post either.

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    2. No! Sorry Izzy, I should have made that more clear...I was responding to Inscrutable Phrased when they stated they may need more nutrients.
      Sorry for the confusion lol.
      Also, I love all the cool food combos that you (Izzy) come up with...it has inspired me to try more vegan dishes even if I don't adhere to a vegan diet.

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  9. This post was really interesting. Its amazing what the body can tell you if you take the time to listen. This weekend, my partner, who is still following a weight loss diet had real cravings for chocolate. He hasn't touched chocolate since he began his diet in January so he has done really well not to. We were given some eggs at Easter and his has remained untouched so he finally gave into the chocolate craving and ended up eating a whole egg - including the chocolates inside! How he could eat a whole egg in go I don`t know - but he said he felt so guilty afterwards! So maybe its better to give in to your cravings rather than brush them aside - if he had done so sooner he probably wouldn't have eaten so much chocolate as he did :)

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