Do you suffer from cravings and feel you have no way of overcoming the urge?
If so, don’t worry, you are just like all of us.
We crave certain foods at certain times for certain reasons. Cravings are just messages from our body that we need to address something.
There is good news about cravings however; if we take time to listen to why we are having them, there are ways to respond without the guilt or health consequences usually experienced when we give in.
If you are a SUGAR craver:
You may crave it mid morning, mid afternoon and especially
at night. We crave sugar as our blood sugar levels drop or when we are tired.
MID MORNING or MID AFTERNOON:
This is known as a “slump”, and is generally a
response of not eating the right foods for your body for breakfast and/or lunch. We tend to
cause a large spike in our blood sugar causing insulin to be dumped into our blood stream so the body can regulate itself to homeostasis. This reaction creates a drastic drop in the blood sugar level causing us to become sluggish, tired and
Causing a reactionary need to increase blood sugar, which in today’s world is satisfied with the abundance of refined sugar. Sugar actually acts like a drug because the body knows that the greatest source of immediate energy comes in the form cookies, cakes, cereals and candy.
EVENING or LATE NIGHT:
The evening craving could be the same as above, but more
likely as a result of getting tired. We turn to sugar for a pick-me-up, so it
is not absurd to think that we are craving sugar just to give us a quick burst
of energy to carry us until we go to bed.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
TO KEEP SUGAR LEVELS BALANCED:
1. Substitute most of your carbohydrates at
breakfast and lunch with healthy fat:
Breakfast- Egg scrambles. Steel cut oats or
chia seed pudding with berries and nuts. Adding MCT oil or flax seeds to smoothies.
Lunch- Eat an open faced sandwich, add avocado and use whole grain or sprouted bread. Have legumes in your stirfry or salad instead of rice or croutons.
After eating, go for a walk or do a mini workout. You can do pushups, squats, lunges and dips as well as a little cardio
such as jumping jacks, high knees or mountain climbers.
3. Skip the coffee and sugar.
Drink water instead. Early stages of dehydration are signaled to the body in the form of sugar cravings.
TO PREVENT LATE NIGHT BINGE
1) Go to bed and wake up at the same time each night- even weekends!
Our cells and hormones are regulated by circadian rhythms and having a regular routine will keep them functioning optimally. This gives us energy as we wake, ability to fall asleep easier and to stay asleep better. Setting us up for success the next day and ability to make healthier choices.
2) Eat your complex carbohydrates at supper.
Popular belief is to eat them in the day time for energy, and prevent weight gain by burning them off. But carbs can cause a crash.
If you suffer from low energy or sugar cravings, it is best to fuel on fat during the day for sustained energy and reduced tendencies to grab coffee or a sweet snack.
Unrefined carbohydrates at night can assist in sleep as your sugar drops after your last meal and sets you up to relax.
Lack of good quality sleep is higher correlated with weight gain than eating complex carbs at any time of the day.
If you are a SALT craver:
If you tend to go for chips, crackers and fast food…..
You are possibly experiencing a mineral deficiency. This could be your body telling you that you are low or off balance with key nutrients.
We have to maintain a unique balance of salts and minerals in order for our body to work optimally. Unfortunately; even though there is an abundance of salts hidden (or in plain sight) in the foods we eat, this salt is actually a refined version, stripped of minerals needed to perform metabolic and nervous system functioning. Instead it provides us with too much sodium and not enough of the naturally occurring magnesium and potassium, leaving us craving more in pursuit of the trace minerals salt should contain.
Here are some tricks to incorporate into your day so you can give your body what it needs without relying on the highly processed and bad fat laden quick fixes:
1) Sprinkle some Himalayan or Celtic sea salt into your water first thing in the morning or after exercise.
2) Add sea weed to your meals as a salt substitute (dulse or nori flakes)
3) Snack on salted nuts
4) Add aged cheeses to your sandwich or salad.
Maybe sweet and salty call to you sometimes, but more regularly you tend to crave things like:
Ice cream? a Home cooked meal? Chocolate? a Slice of watermelon? Bitter or Sour foods?
Perhaps you are tempted by temperature or texture?
These types of cravings are likely related to seasonal effects, hormonal fluctuations or an emotional response.
It is important to take the time to consider why you may be having these cravings.
This could be your mind or body telling you there is something deeper going on.
You may be craving watermelon, cucumbers or ice cream because it is hot outside and you need more water?
You may be craving soup or spice or even apple pie (because the cinnamon has a warming effect) which may be needed in the winter to help with body temperature regulation?
You may crave chocolate as your menstruation cycle causes a decrease in magnesium?
You may be dealing with some sort of emotional conflict that you have yet to face, so you reach for comfort food?
Try to support your cravings by choosing foods that satisfy your craving but have nutritious attributes.
If you determined that your cravings come from an emotional state, follow the steps below to help you overcome these challenges:
1) Take a few minutes to answer the following
questions- What am I actually feeling right now (sad, happy, moody, anxious, mellow, etc)? What foods am I craving in this emotional state? How can I more truly experience my emotion instead of turning to food to cover it up?
2) Journal your experience with the answers above, what action you took and how it made you feel afterwards.
Once you have taken the time to listen to your body, you will have a stronger inclination to making the choices that will lead you to a more balanced and controlled lifestyle.
You will have more confidence in yourself and your body, because you will be feeding it from a place of nourishment, love and care, rather than from a place of survival or guilt.
If you have struggled with overcoming your cravings and cannot quite get to a place of feeling balanced in your life, it doesn’t mean you are set to fail forever. Practice makes permanent and it takes time.
Contact me for a free “discovery” session where I can help you understand your challenges, offer support so you can start to implement small changes to your current lifestyle, and bring you to a place of
appreciation for foods, rather than a slave to them.