I’m dreaming of food again. Bring forth the ice cream, donuts and cupcakes. This is what is called my sugar rush and these are times when I just must start munching something. Or how about that bag of potato chips or that mouth-watering pizza I saw in the advertisement some days back? Sometimes my desire is so intense that it makes me go to great lengths to satisfy my cravings.

Pause and ask yourselves: Do these scenarios sound familiar to you?

Welcome to the world of cravings. Everyone has cravings for food. And that’s normal as we are humans. But it may come as a surprise to learn that we have cravings for food that is always high-sugar or high-fat foods.

While studying my own behavioral patterns on what makes or breaks a craving, I’ve come to the realization that the contributing factors are primarily linked to our emotional and hormonal states.

Coming from a world where we are constantly subjected to various demands from the people around us – think loved ones, bosses, colleagues and ourselves included, it is little wonder many of us do not know how to control our emotions. Add to the fact that we play multiple roles at one time – we are a husband, father, son, brother, boss and colleague; or the female equivalent roles of wife, mother, sister, daughter, boss and colleague. Along with these demands and roles come a multitude of expectations, deadlines, deliverables and much more. If this is the cause of why we feel stressed easily, fret not as you are not the only one.

Stress can really wear one person out, both emotionally and physically. If you are stressed physically, that’s still rather easy to tackle as all you need are a few days of good rest. Then you’ll be able to pick yourself up again. But should you feel stressed emotionally, now that’s a harder issue to tackle.

It is not uncommon for an emotionally stressed person to seek alternate channels of release. The primary means is through food. And most often or not, it’s something in the form or sugar or caffeine. Though many think they simply lack willpower to say no to such cravings, it is not as simple as that. Emotional stress can have a biochemical effect on our bodies. Eating something sweet helps trigger moments of natural high. Because beta-endorphins are released in our brain, it lifts our mood instantly and makes us happy for that fleeting moment. But once the effect wears out and that sense of happiness fades, you come back to earth feeling miserable, and worse, will start berating yourself for giving in to the sugar rush.

Hormonal changes do not apply just to ladies. It applies to guys as well. I should know. Hormonal changes in ladies are normally tied to menstrual cycles and this intricate link is the main trigger to a food craving. When one feels uptight and subject to mood swings because of the arrival of the ‘monthly visitor’, you turn to food for solace.

After experiencing voice changes and the dramatic increase of hair around the various body parts, that’s not the end of hormonal changes for a guy. Some guys I know experience andropause as well. They start feeling unhappy over the slightest things. It could be because of a failed relationship, a demanding boss or showing no results even while working out in the gym. Whatever the reason may be, they too seek solace in food.

We are all humans and we have different ways of coping with the demands in our daily lives. While some take it easy, others find it a tad too difficult to maintain a constant smile through it out.

Whatever your current approach may be, learning how to deal with our own emotional states and hormonal changes is no doubt the best way to cope with food cravings.